Discovering Restorative Yoga

I’ve recently discovered Restorative Yoga and it has been the perfect Sunday morning ritual… if by perfect you count the kid and the big dog laying on mat with me. Now, I do not practice yoga regularly. While it would help my back and restore some of the flexibility I’ve lost over the last decade–and it certainly helps release the kinks of stress–the movements through positions are way too quick and causes dizziness. I have low blood pressure, so yoga has never really been my go to exercise or mode of relaxation.

Then I discovered Restorative Yoga. It’s like a workout, deep stretch, and meditation rolled into one! It’s amazing!

For most of my life I have longed to have a lifestyle that included regular (at least weekly) meditation and yoga. I’m a high drive, high anxiety personality. It takes me forever to calm and settle my mind, and my stress lives in my back and tummy. In theory, yoga and meditation are perfect for me and have been recommended by more than one doctor. But yoga makes me dizzy and meditation puts me to sleep–after I’ve mentally run through the last 90 days of my life, of course.

backlit beach dawn dusk

Photo by Cedric Lim on

Restorative Yoga is the perfect solution to both! It’s meditation with slow, relaxing stretches. My body is moving so I’m working out–at least I count it as a workout on my FitBit–and the deep breathing forces my mind to heel. Restorative Yoga is a practice of yoga that seeks to achieve total relaxation; physical, mental and emotional. “For Restorative yoga, the intention is to relax as far as possible into the postures, using as little physical effort as possible. The mind focuses on the breath in order to cultivate mindfulness and release tension from the body” (Yogapedia).

Incorporating restorative yoga into my week allows me to slow down, take stock of what’s going on within, and realign my energy. I can feel the difference when I do not practice. It’s hard to wrangle my thoughts and my energy is off. There are other benefits besides stress relief. It is believed that restorative yoga helps with anxiety, headaches, and weight-loss, heals emotional pain, and can boost the immune system. And, okay, let’s be honest, it’s a great way to sneak in a power nap.

I invite you to try it for yourself! Given the controlled chaos in my house, I usually strive for a fifteen minute session, but every now and then I can achieve a full thirty or forty-five minute video. That’s usually when I do this deep stretch video. Or visit the Yoga Journal and check out these Restorative poses. Try these and tell me what you think!