What Is Restorative Yoga and How Is It Useful for Sleep?
Episode #1 of the course Restorative yoga for restful sleep by Elaine Oyang
One great way to unwind at night and allow our nervous system to transition to rest and sleep mode is restorative yoga. Unlike Hatha Yoga, Hot/Bikram Yoga, Vinyasa Yoga, and Iyengar Yoga—which all have elements of “doing”—restorative yoga is more about not doing. As the name implies, restorative yoga is about restoring your body to a place of equilibrium, quietude, and tranquility.
Before we officially begin, here are some action items and materials you may need to better set yourself up for an effective experience.
Since the purpose of a restorative yoga practice is for you to connect to your body and free up some mental clutter, be sure to communicate to your housemate(s), partner, or family members the importance of this time for yourself. Find a quiet place in your home where you won’t be disturbed. Give yourself ample time in each pose—anywhere from three to five minutes to up to 15 minutes so that your body can get the full benefit of the pose.
Props such as yoga blocks, bolsters, pillows, and blankets are used extensively in restorative yoga to help support the body in deep relaxation. You definitely do not need fancy yoga blocks and equipment to practice restorative yoga at home, though. Any sturdy support (such as books or shoe boxes) and a quiet place will do. If you do plan to invest in some yoga props, here is a list of recommendations that you can easily find in stores or online:
● yoga blocks
● yoga bolster
● sand bag
● eye bag
In addition to the yoga props above, here are a few props that you can find within your home:
For the purpose of this email course, I’d recommend one bolster, one pillow, two blocks, and two blankets as your essentials. The sand bag and eye bag are nice touches to further ground your body but are not necessary. Each day, you will learn about one pose with pictures and directions to guide you. You’re bound to have your favorites and your not-so-favorites. I recommend experiencing each pose and its effects on your sleep. At the end of the course, you can combine two or three poses per night as your bedtime routine. Now, get ready to learn how to relax!
Disclaimer: This course is designed for the general, healthy body. If you have chronic pain or illnesses, some of the poses may not be appropriate. Please consult with your doctor before proceeding with this course.
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