Everyone has those off days. Whether it’s a day when you’re feeling sore, under the weather, or just generally unmotivated.
They’re the kind of days that make doing anything feel like a Herculean feat of will and strength, much less doing something as seemingly labor-intensive as yoga
For some reason, yoga has picked up a reputation as being an all-or-nothing kind of activity, in the realm of something like CrossFit or Zumba, or something that you need to be in the right headspace for.
We’re not sure where this perception came from, because that couldn’t be further from the truth. Yoga isn’t an activity that should require you to be mindful of yourself and high in energy.
If anything, it’s a routine and journey that can help you get to those right states of mind and body, so that you’re ready to do all those other things!
One of the key ways that yoga does this is through its restorative yoga poses. And the best part about them?
Anyone can do them, whether they’re a newbie to yoga, or have been doing it for a decade
Don’t believe us? Then check out some of our favorite restorative yoga poses, and see what we mean!
Signs That You Need Restorative Yoga Poses
When it comes to yoga routines and poses, there are a ton of different reasons that someone may pick up or want to learn new yoga techniques.
Generally speaking, we would recommend learning more about restorative yoga poses, as we mentioned in the intro, if you feel like your body is uncomfortable to use or work.
This can include a wide range of situations and felt experiences, from general stiffness, to sudden dull aches or pains that you may feel when suddenly moving, to feeling restless at night, and tired during the day.
Even being unable to focus on a single task for more than a few minutes.
If something about your body or mind has felt off, and you know it’s not an underlying medical condition, these are the times when people should consider trying to learn more about restorative yoga.
From experience, we know that some of these symptoms or feelings come from a lack of proper care for our bodies or even the underlying conditions that we mentioned before.
(Heck, even if there is an underlying condition that is causing the discomfort, restorative yoga is still a great way of alleviating some of that discomfort!)
Core Essentials To Restorative Yoga Poses
The most important thing that should be understood about restorative yoga is the asanas, the poses that you will be holding.
In restorative yoga, rather than holding them for a few seconds or around a minute, you’re expected to hold the poses for much longer, often several minutes at a time per pose.
This is often why you will see props being used in restorative yoga poses, such as pillows, arches, chairs, and even walls (Also check out The Ultimate Guide To The 26 Bikram Yoga Poses) (Also check out The Ultimate Guide To The 26 Bikram Yoga Poses) (Also check out The Ultimate Guide To The 26 Bikram Yoga Poses).
This allows practitioners to hold these poses with little to no extra effort, once they have reached the correct position or angle that they need, holding the pose for longer, and feeling those benefits much more clearly.
Of course, these props are not necessary to achieve these poses. Many experienced practitioners can hold these poses without any support.
However, the props do not detract from the benefits of the asanas and mean that more people can learn these poses for themselves, whether they are young, elderly, or unwell.
Plus, these props mean that you can hold these poses for significantly longer, up to 5 and even 10 minutes for a single pose.
So, even if you are an experienced practitioner of yoga, don’t discount a good prop if you’re offered one!
Restorative Yoga Poses
With those explanations out of the way, we can now start to digest these different restorative yoga poses, how to o them, and the benefits that they can bring you!
Bālāsana (Supported Child’s Pose)
Starting with perhaps one of the easiest and most comfortable poses to practice, we have what is colloquially unknown as the supported child’s pose.
This is the perfect position to try out after you’ve had a tough day at work, and want to try and release some of that tension that has built up in your body.
For this pose, the props that you’ll want to be looking out for are either a bolster and some type of rolled or folded-up blanket.
To get into this pose, start by sitting down on your heels and resting on them with your buttocks, before then placing the blanket under your feet. (Make sure that the blanket is three-folded, and isn’t too high up.
Once you have the last part finished, grab your bolster, and place it between your knees, so you are ready for the pose.
As you breathe in deeply, gently relax and unfold onto and around the bolster, and keep breathing as you find the most comfortable position while doing this.
Hold this pose for 3 to 5 minutes, then slowly rise from the position in time with your breathing, pushing up from the floor with your hands.
This pose looks like a toddler or young child resting, hence the name.
Upavistha Bitilasana Marjaryasana (Cat Cow Pose)
A pose that is commonly taught in many different kinds of yoga classes, the cat-cow pose is one that anyone with a passing knowledge of yoga will probably be familiar with.
This one doesn’t require any props to be done correctly, so it can be practiced and tried by pretty much anyone who can sit upright.
This pose is all about gently moving and massaging your spine, and making your back feel a lot looser once it has been performed.
Start the pose by sitting cross-legged, resting your hands on your knees, and sitting as tall as you can.
As you start to inhale, arch the upper part of your back and lean forwards slightly while your head tilts upwards a little. As you exhale, round your back, and allow your head to drop forward slightly, like you are a deflating balloon.
Repeat these motions a few times as you continue to breathe in and out. If sitting cross-legged is too uncomfortable for you, then try this pose with your knees bent upwards a little more.
Ananda Balasana (Happy Baby Pose)
This pose, the happy baby pose, may look a little funny at a first glance. But trust us when we say that this pose is one of the best ways to stretch many muscles that you otherwise may not even be aware have built up tension in them!
Once again, you will not need any extra equipment or tools to try out this pose for yourself, just a nice comfortable, flat surface, making this a very accessible pose to try out.
Stretch the inner groin and lower back muscles by spreading your knees out as you lay on your back and bend your legs inwards.
As you breathe in, you can grab the outer parts of your feet to bring them closer to your stomach and chest.
You can also bring your knees more inward as you hold them up, placing them just underneath your armpits, and allowing them to move with every inhale and exhale.
Hold this position for a few minutes (or as long as you are comfortable) to feel the benefits.
It may feel a little awkward at first, but you’ll be feeling that loosening sensation in your legs and lower body before you know it!
Setu Bandha Sarvangasana (Supported Bridge Pose)
The bridge pose is another very popular asana, being used for strengthening the core and back muscles across your torso.
This restorative version of the bridge pose can be held for a much longer period, thanks to the block or blocks that you’ll be using to support your back.
To start, lie down on your back with your knees raised upwards, then place your feet about a hips-width apart from each other, right underneath your buttocks.
From there, you can lift your lower back, and place your block just above your sacrum (the triangular bone at the base of your spine.
Make sure that the block is at a low height so that it won’t become uncomfortable to hold the positions for long periods.
With your back and arms now in position, you can place your arms along your body, and just slowly allow yourself to inhale and exhale at your own pace.
This is a perfect low-effort version of the classic bridge pose that you should be able to hold for a couple of minutes, between 3 and 5.
As you can see, the prop makes a world of difference when it comes to the times you can hold these asanas!
This is the perfect way to help give your diaphragm and torso the space it needs to just breathe. So it’s worth a try!
Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclining Bound Angle Pose)
Another pose that is made much better and easier by using a prop, is the reclining bound angle pose uses two blocks for each knee if you’re looking to hold this position for as long as possible.
Resting on your back, all you need to do for this pose is to raise your knees, then allow them to fall to the sides of your body. You can place the blocks at these points, to give your legs something to rest on.
From here, it’s a simple process of allowing your back to fully connect with the floor and inhaling and exhaling. And that’s it! That’s all you need to do for this pose!
This is a great asana to use if you’re trying to release tension from your lower torso and groin, an often under-worked part of the body.
Plus, it allows for great breathing when fully relaxed into.
Viparita Karani (Legs-Up-The-Wall Pose)
This is a pose that can be performed either with or without a prop, depending on your overall experience or confidence level.
This pose is exactly what it sounds like. On your back, you’ll be raising your legs vertically, as if they are raised against a wall.
You can either have your lower body laying flat against the wall or have the left side of your body facing against the wall if you’re looking to try and support your legs yourself.
If you’re looking for a little extra support, we would recommend placing a pillow, blanket, or bolster along the side of your body facing the wall for a more comfortable contact surface.
And don’t worry if you need to bend your legs slightly to get comfortable. Remember, these don’t just stretch – they’re ways for your body to be comfortable and to fully relax.
Parsva Balasana (Thread The Needle Pose)
This pose is a twist position that allows for a great way to relieve tension in your upper shoulders and can even help boost digestion, as it allows for the muscles around your diaphragm and lower body to stretch and relax better.
Plus, you don’t need a prop for this one, just a nice flat surface that you can stretch on.
First, you’ll want to start in the tabletop position, where you are holding yourself up facing the floor on your hands and knees.
Then, you can slide your right arm forward, while also threading your left arm underneath your body.
By this point, your left ear and shoulder should be making contact with your mat/floor, and you’ll be looking out to your right side underneath your right arm.
Continue breathing and hold this position for around 3 minutes, before then planting your left hand in front of your face, bringing yourself back up to the tabletop positions, and doing the opposite side for the same amount of time.
When you’re finishing this pose, remember to let your body relax again, by going into a child pose for a couple of minutes.
Paschimottanasana (Supported Forward Fold Pose)
Thai particular pose is perfect for those people that like to keep themselves limber, while also relaxing into the pose for an extensive period.
To do this one for yourself, we recommend using a large folded blanket or pillow to rest on as you stretch with this asana. You can use a bolster for a little more support for your stretched legs too.
Start with your legs stretched forward, your toes pointed upwards, and your body stretched upwards.
Your pillow/blanket should be in your lap, so you can gently fold into it, fingers touching your feet.
Hold for 5 to 10 minutes, then slowly come out of the stretch.
So, what do you think? Are you going to give any of these stretches a try? Let us know below!