Posted by on 4/1/2021 to Let's Talk Yoga!
Restorative Yoga at Home for Beginners!
Modern life is fast and exhausting, and for many this has become the new norm. Many of us look for things in our own lives that will may help give us some relief from time to time.
Restorative yoga poses, even for complete beginners, can be a gentle way of introducing this practice into your daily life. One of the great aspects of restorative yoga, is this form of yoga practice can be easily practiced at home.
What is Restorative Yoga?
Simply put, restorative yoga is a regenerative anti-stress program that can be geared to virtually anyone, aiming for relaxation and passive-stretching. This yoga style is truly geared toward and based on relaxing and surrendering to each pose and/or sequence.
Restorative yoga for beginners is one of the best ways to get acquainted and start practicing yoga. This form of yoga can be geared towards people of all ages and fitness skill levels, including seniors, people with injuries (recovery phase) or illnesses, as long as the practice is tailored to their needs and limitations.
What distinguishes restorative yoga from other types, is the use of yoga props to support the body, such as blankets, yoga mats, pillows, straps, blocks, chairs, and even walls. These yoga props reduce the amount of work that the muscles do in the pose. The best part of these props is that many of us already have them available to us in our homes.
Can You Practice Restorative Yoga at Home?
Even during a pandemic, one can very easily bring the practice of restorative yoga to their home. There are, however, some important things to keep in mind.
It's important to choose a quiet place, preferably one in which that has enough space that when getting into the specific positions, you don't find yourself running into obstacles or rearranging a room, haha!
While it's not necessary to have a yoga mat to practice restorative yoga at home, it may be more comfortable then a towel or laying on your carpet. As we've discussed in a recent post on "The Best Way To Meditate at Home", we emphasize again making your space feel welcoming and calming, as this helps get into a more relaxed state of mind. Placing objects, images, things that bring us a sense of comfort, is a way to create the right preconditions for achieving harmony and peace.
Practicing restorative yoga at home has a lot of advantages. Some of the more obvious being; we have the freedom to practice whenever we want, we can make our schedule, we can do the poses/sequences that we want, and our practice can last as long as we decide.
Practicing restorative yoga at home gives us the advantage to practice any time of the day. We've found for ourselves practicing restorative yoga at night has been beneficial to help calm our mind and prepare our body for a more peaceful sleep.
So yes, we can very easily practice restorative yoga at home. All we need is some intrinsic desire and some free time!
Restorative Yoga Poses For Beginners
Another great aspect about restorative yoga, in regards to beginner yogis, is that it does not require many variations of poses, and doesn't have to follow a difficult set of yoga sequences. A few poses can go a long way in providing you many of the benefits you seek.
Restorative yoga is about remaining in your poses for extended periods of time, not necessarily seeing how many poses we can fit into a particular session. You'll want to maximize each pose.
Like many poses within the practice of yoga, at first, things may seem challenging, but as you progress and practice restorative yoga more frequently, you'll find yourself more easily maximizing the benefits of each pose, both from a body and mind perspective. You may even find yourself wanting to increase the times at which you stay in each asana.
Many yoga poses, particularly ones seen more in restorative yoga, can be simplified and tailored for age, and abilities. As you progress you'll find your strength, and flexibility levels increase. You'll intimately learn your bodies capabilities, imperfections and what areas may need more work then others. You'll learn to embrace those small imperfections and tensions that you feel in specific areas, like your pelvis, hips, neck, and shoulders.
Related Article: All About Restorative Yoga: Postures & Sequences
Simple Poses For Beginners to Restorative Yoga, include;
- Supported Fish Pose (Matsyasana);
- Child's Pose (Balasana);
- Legs Up the Wall (Viparita Karani);
- Reclining Bound Angle Pose (Supta Baddha Konasana);
- Supported Bridge Pose (Setu Bandha Sarvangasana);
- Supine Spinal Twist (Jathara Parivartanasana).
The Benefits of Restorative Yoga and Such Poses
Many of these poses may seem simple and straight-forward. Heck, some may think these will do little for the body. The focus here is to relax and fully engage the body and mind. It's not about forcing your body into pain, or increasing a stretch beyond it's limitations. It's about listening to your body and stretching as deep as it allows. You'll hopefully find a sense of relaxation, that eventually allows for deeper stretching, but also stretching in comfort, as time passes.
Restorative yoga deeply loosens the body, creating a feeling of complete relaxation and peace.
Let’s take a look at some of the potential physical and mental benefits that, when practice regularly, restorative yoga may provide!
- Strengthens the body;
- Increases flexibility;
- Stretches the muscles;
- Stimulates blood circulation;
- Increases oxygen in the body through better breathing;
- Accelerates recovery after injury;
- Relieves stress;
- Strengthens the immune system.
In fact, did you know that stress influences the immune response, which can therefore cause alterations to immune cells. Activities such as yoga, meditation, hypnosis and muscle relaxation, has been linked to a reduction in the psychological and physiological effect of stress in diseases such as cancers and HIV infections, according to the International Journal of Yoga, 2008.
A study in 2018, specific to the role of yoga and stress in women, showed that yoga has an effective role in reducing stress, anxiety and depression and can be used as a form of complementary medicine.
Yoga itself has many potential benefits for the body. One such meta-analysis completed on 42 different studies in 2017, found that yoga asanas were associated with reduced systolic blood pressure, lower evening cortisol levels, lower resting heart rate, fasting blood glucose, and even lower cholesterol levels.
- Promotes peaceful and comfortable sleep;
- Helps heal emotional wounds;
- Reduces the symptoms of anxiety;
- Calms the mind;
- Develops awareness of the present moment;
- Improves concentration.
Several studies have linked yoga and helping to reduce depression, stress and anxiety symptoms. A 2005 published article suggested potential beneficial effects of yoga on depressive disorders.
A 2013 study out of the Journal of Ayurveda and Integrative Medicine, showed the potential for improvement in overall sleep quality in elderly people as well as improve quality of life with regularly practiced yoga routines.
On top of these benefits there are multiple studies linking yoga to helping with pain control, like this 2013 meta analysis suggesting yoga is a helpful additional therapy for both short term and chronic lower back pain! Studies also suggest more broad improvements in many musculoskeletal conditions as they relate to pain and functionality.
So you can see the potential here, right?!
The fun in restorative yoga is that you can do one or two restorative yoga poses, and use this time to learn your body and create mental awareness of different parts of your body. It helps create a mind-body connection. It's a time to focus on breathing, and truthfully, is a supportive and therapeutic way of introducing you to the practice of yoga for beginners, or a way in which advanced yogis can take there practice to another level!
Restorative yoga may not be for everyone, but it is great for beginners to the yoga practice and can be practiced easily from the comfort of your home. Restorative yoga stands out for its power to relax us, and at the same time, fill us with energy. It can help teach us how to listen to our bodies and take care of our needs, but also will restore the sense of security, courage, and control.
Remember to be open and curious, to play and experiment, and to enjoy the countless benefits that restorative yoga will bring you.