Restorative yoga is a style of yoga characterized by gentle poses. Each session includes only a few poses, held much longer allowing the body to restore parasympathetic nervous system function and achieve a more relaxed state. Benefits include: relaxing the mind and body, reducing stress and anxiety, enhancing mood, reducing chronic pain, improving sleep, reducing fatigue, and soothing the nervous system which will positively impact other areas such as digestion.
Restorative yoga is often recommended for people with physical limitations but is generally suitable for anyone and is even safe during pregnancy. The use of props (blocks, bolsters, blankets, straps) allows each pose to be held longer but the use of props is not required.
Restorative yoga often includes specific poses, each to be held for a minimum of 5 minutes: fish pose (Matsyasana), child’s pose (Balasana), corpse pose (Savasana), and legs-up-the-wall pose (Viparita Karani). As each pose is held, focus is on the breath. Deep, relaxed breaths help to relax the body and release tension. These deep breaths also provide much needed oxygen to the cells, activating mitochondria which is probably one of the reasons why this form of yoga provides so many health benefits.