What is Restorative Yoga and How Does it Differ from Other Yoga Practices

What is Restorative Yoga and How Does it Differ from Other Yoga Practices

In truth, there are several types of yoga practices and remembering them all may be a bit of a challenge. If you are just starting your yoga practice, then you might be asking the same question many before you have asked: what is restorative yoga?

Initially, you may be a bit confused about what your style you want to practice as each one has its own blend of poses, philosophies, and benefits. Restorative yoga, as its name implies, is intended to help the yogi towards an experience that encompasses both healing and recuperation. If this is something that you aim for, then restorative yoga is definitely your game.

If you wish to learn more about it, such as what makes it different from other types of yoga practices and why you should adopt it, then you are in good company with this article. Below, you will find its many benefits, some basic poses, and the things you can expect in your restorative yoga class.

What is Restorative Yoga?

Restorative yoga can be described simply as a type of yoga that allows the student to relax using deep breathing exercises and meditative stretches. It does not require too much activity and movement in between poses, making it the ideal yoga practice for beginners.

Restorative yoga is based on the teachings of B.K.S. Iyengar. When done properly, it helps relieve chronic muscle tensions. Additionally, it also helps complement your active exercise in that it promotes better muscle healing. Restorative yoga is also considered the perfect antidote for stress.

The Benefits of Practicing Restorative Yoga

Yoga is not just an exercise to help you burn calories. Rather, you should treat it as your ultimate goal to guide you in building a strong connection with the divine. Restorative yoga is often described as a tool for self-transformation—a way to awaken your divine nature. But what else can practicing restorative yoga can do to our mind, body, and spirit?

  • Encourages body awareness

Restorative yoga is known to cause heightened body awareness. It would help you understand your body and allow you to build a more intimate connection with it. As a result, you will have a better understanding of your own strengths and weaknesses.

  • Promotes a sense of self-love

If you are aware of your strengths and weaknesses, then you will have a better chance of accepting your true self. Once you truly, absolutely accept your strengths as well as your flaws, then you will learn to love your entire being.

  • Promotes self-awareness

Restorative yoga helps you become more self-aware in that it forces you to focus inward and block all external distractions. Your mind and spirit become your sanctuary, allowing you to contemplate who you really are and examine your wants and needs.

  • Soothes the nervous system

Yet another important benefit of practicing restorative yoga can be seen in its effect on the nervous system. More specifically, restorative yoga triggers the parasympathetic nervous system and mitigates the effects of your adrenal system. Deep breathing also helps a lot in creating a relaxing tone that comforts both the mind and the body.

What You Should Expect in a Restorative Yoga Class

Most yoga classes encourage movement, which results in the students learning how to improve their bodies’ strength and flexibility. However, the practice of restorative yoga encourages practitioners to slow down and use a combination of passive stretches.

In a restorative yoga class, you may hardly move as your muscles will get the opportunity to relax deeply. Some classes only have about five to six poses in an hour’s time. These poses are heavily supported by props, though, and you are expected to hold each for about five minutes.

The props, as you would learn, are intended to support your body, allowing you to hold out poses for longer periods. As a result, you will have an improved posture. These props come in variety too, which often include blocks, blankets, walls, and bolsters. Ideally, these props will help you hold a pose for about 10 to 20 minutes.

Since you are expected to hold those poses for longer periods, then, naturally, an hour-long class only has a few poses. When the session is finished, your body should feel refreshed, but you may also feel a bit overstretched the following day.

Soon, once you have attended a few classes, then you will be able to do your own restorative yoga practice at home. However, this would require you to invest in the appropriate props to help support your body.

General Tips in Practicing Restorative Yoga

When taking on whatever life throws at you, you should always make it a point to get the most out of the experience. This same mantra applies to practicing yoga. There are techniques that you can use to have a rewarding yoga session.

  • Timing

In restorative yoga, timing is very important as your body has to feel safe enough for your brain to switch from stress-response to relax-response. Now, we all know that this can take a couple of minutes, which is why these yoga poses are long and can be up to 20 minutes.

  • Preparation

To speed up your relaxation when doing restorative yoga poses, you should prepare your meditation area beforehand. If your area appears stress-free, net, softly lit, and with light music, then your relaxation is enhanced.

Additionally, you should always have your props ready and easily accessible. In that way, you won’t have to break your concentration to find it.

  • Simplicity

When it comes to restorative yoga, less means more. Keeping it simple and having well-constructed poses is better than doing several poses in a rush. We also recommend that you warm up before you start your session.


Despite the popularity of yoga, many people still wonder what is restorative yoga and how it differs from other yoga practices. If you were among those persons, then, hopefully, we have explained it to you well.

There are many internal benefits to practicing restorative yoga. If you haven’t tried it before, then you should use this opportunity to switch up your routine and give it a try—rather than going with the testimony of others.

Restorative yoga is known to yield many physical, mental, and spiritual benefits. So, it is truly something that is worth spending your time, money, and effort on. You can enroll in a restorative yoga class in your area, or you can search tutorial videos online. Either way, you will surely help your mind, body, and spirit be more healthy and at peace.

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