Best Restorative Yoga Poses to Reduce Stress
The 10 Best Restorative Yoga Poses for Stress Relief
Yoga is a great way to reduce stress and find relaxation. Restorative yoga can be incredibly beneficial for enhancing your physical and mental well-being, and it's so easy to get started. There are many resources out there for additional support, including our favorite book Restorative Yoga for Life to help you deepen your inquiry with this type of yoga. Here are 10 restorative yoga poses to add to your practice if you're looking to reduce stress and set an intention for more mindful movement in the new year.
Yoga Props for Restorative Yoga
Here are some of our favorite yoga props to help set you up for restorative yoga success:
Yoga props help you deepen into a pose as they support your body. This encourages more relaxation, less tension, and can help you reduce stress! Plus, you can improve your flexibility and build mental strength with the support of props like yoga blocks and yoga straps.
Supported Child’s Pose (Balasana)
This pose is simple but oh-so effective for releasing tension from your shoulders, chest, and back. All you need to do is come onto your hands and knees, then lower your torso onto a bolster (think yoga pillow). Then, stretch your arms out in front of you or let them rest against the sides of your body. You can also place a blanket over yourself for extra love.
Legs Up the Wall (Viparita Karani)
This gentle inversion works wonders on reducing stress levels by taking pressure off your legs and feet. To get started, lie down on your back close to a wall or other flat surface with your knees bent towards your chest. Next, slide one leg up along one side of the wall followed by the other, so both your legs are being supported against the wall. You can place your palms next to your sides or rest one on your chest and one on your belly to soothe yourself.
Supported Bridge Pose (Setu Bandhasana)
This pose helps strengthen your spine while also bringing peace to your mind. Start by lying face up with a bolster placed lengthwise underneath your back. With your feet hip-width apart and your palms face down, lift your hips off the floor until they meet the support of your bolster. Rest on the bolster and take deep breaths.
Reclining Hand-to-Big-Toe Pose (Supta Padangusthasana)
This pose will help gently stretch out tight muscles in your legs while also providing deep relaxation. Start on you your back with a strap securely looped around one foot, then slowly extend that leg straight up towards the ceiling. Keep a slight bend in your knee if you need to and avoid locking out your knee.
Knees-to-Chest Pose (Apanasana)
This gentle twist helps provide a grounding sensation for your body while also calming your nervous system. It's great for reducing tension in your lower back as well as relieving stress. To get into this pose, lie down or sit on your back and hug both of your knees close to your chest wrapping your arms around them. Keep your back pressed into your yoga mat/floor and breath in and out deeply.
Banana Pose (Bananasana)
This gentle pose is perfect for releasing tension in your neck, shoulders, and back. Lie down on your back with your legs out and your arms overhead. Shift both of your legs to the right and cross your ankles. Bring your upper body over to the right clasping your left wrist with your right hand. Hold and breathe deeply. Switch to the other side when you’re ready.
Forward Fold (Uttanasana)
A forward fold encourages self-reflection and relaxation. Start standing up with your feet parallel to one another and then slowly roll your upper body down. Shift the weight into the ball mounds of your feet and relax into the fold. You can place your hands behind your neck and sway side to side or grab for opposite elbows and fold deeper. Release any tension in your face, neck, and shoulders.
Reclined Bound Angle Pose (Supta Baddha Konasana)
Reclined bound angle pose is perfect for relieving stress and neck pain and encouraging an openness in your hips and groin area. Begin seated with your knees wide apart and draw the soles of your feet together. You can use blocks and place them underneath your thighs for additional support. Lie back and breathe in and out slowly encouraging your body to be present and deepen into relaxation.
Frog pose (Mandukasana)
This pose helps open your hips and groin. To make it restorative, you will two pillows or bolsters. Come into a tabletop position and then start to draw your knees out placing the pillows/bolsters underneath them (you might need to play with props to find the right height for your body). Pause when you feel a stretch in your groin area/inner thigh area. Rest into the support of the props and breath deeply. Make sure your feet are flexed with your toes pointing out towards the sides of the room.
Corpse pose (Savasana)
Savasana is an essential part of every restorative practice —it helps reset energy levels while helping to calm the mind. Lie down on your back to get into this pose and place a bolster under your knees. You have the option of placing a blanket over yourself as well. Allow every muscle in your body to relax and feel the support of the ground beneath you. Let go of any tension and relax completely.
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