Restorative Yoga Poses: Essential Practices for Stress Relief

Restorative Yoga Poses: Essential Practices for Stress Relief

In today's fast-paced world, many people struggle with stress, which can lead to physical discomfort and illness. Engaging in less intensive activities, like restorative yoga, can benefit both body and mind, providing a necessary balance to our hectic schedules.

Restorative yoga offers a series of gentle poses designed to release tension and improve flexibility, particularly in areas like the hips and pelvic floor. This soothing form of yoga prepares the body for more advanced poses. 

Restorative yoga poses can be practiced using props like yoga bolsters, blankets, and yoga blocks to support the body in each pose fully. This support allows you to hold restorative yoga poses for longer, giving you all the benefits of deep, passive stretching without any strain. The key is gentle relaxation into each pose, encouraging the release of muscle tension through minimal effort.

Benefits Of Restorative Yoga

Restorative yoga offers profound benefits:

  • Enhances Flexibility: Gently stretching and holding yoga poses for long periods helps improve overall flexibility.
  • Deepens Relaxation: Restorative yoga helps lower stress levels and promotes relaxation by encouraging relaxation and focusing on breathing.
  • Improves Capacity for Healing and Balancing: It has a therapeutic effect on the body, helping to alleviate symptoms of many stress-related conditions.
  • Boosts Immune System: Regular meditation boosts the immune system and improves overall good health.
  • Cultivates Heightened Body Awareness: Slow movements and deep breathing increase body awareness and mindfulness.

9 Restorative Yoga Poses You Must Try

Practice these restorative yoga poses to relax after a long, hectic day. Here's how to perform each pose:

Child's Pose (Bālāsana)

  • Begin the child's pose by sitting on your heels with your knees together or spread apart.
  • Extend your arms or relax them alongside your body while leaning forward.
  • Rest your forehead on the ground or a bolster for added comfort.
  • Hold for 5-10 minutes, focusing on deep breathing.

Supported Bridge Pose (Setu Bandha Sarvangasana)

  • Lie on your back with knees bent and feet flat on the yoga mat, hip-width apart.
  • Place a yoga block under your sacrum for support.
  • Keep your arms flat on the mat with palms facing down, or rest them on your belly.
  • Stay in bridge pose for up to 10 minutes while practicing deep breathing.

Legs Up The Wall (Viparita Karani)

  • Sit close to a wall and gently lie back, extending your legs up the wall.
  • Keep your back flat on the floor and arms relaxed by your sides or on your belly.
  • Hold the wall position for 10-15 minutes, allowing gravity to aid the circulation back towards your heart.

Reclining Bound Angle Pose 

  • Lie on your back and bring the soles of your feet together, letting your knees fall open to each side.
  • Place bolsters or folded blankets under each knee for support.
  • Extend your arms along your sides or place one hand on your heart and one on your belly.
  • Relax into the pose for up to 10 minutes.

Cat-Cow Pose (Marjaryasana-Bitilasana)

  • Start on all fours by placing your knees under your hips and your wrists, elbows, and shoulders perpendicular to the floor.
  • Start with your spine in a neutral position and your gaze downwards.
  • As you inhale, arch your back, tilt your tailbone upward, drop your belly towards the mat (Cow Pose), and lift your head to look forward or slightly upward.
  • Round your spine towards the ceiling, tuck your tailbone in, and draw your pubic bone forward while exhaling (Cat Pose).
  • Continue to move slowly between these two positions for 1-2 minutes, focusing on synchronizing your breath with the movement to warm up the spine and relieve tension.

Supported Forward Fold (Paschimottanasana)

  • Sit up tall on a bolster with your legs extended before you.
  • Place a bolster or several folded blankets on your lap. Gently fold forward from your hips, resting your head on the props.
  • Hold for 10-15 minutes, allowing your back to round naturally and your body to relax.

Supported Fish Pose (Matsyasana)

  • To start, sit on the floor with your legs extended straight before you.
  • Place a yoga bolster or a rolled-up blanket horizontally behind you so that it is underneath your mid- to lower back when you lay down.
  • Lean back onto the prop, ensuring it supports your back comfortably from the lower to the mid-back.
  • Let your neck extend back comfortably, with your head resting on the floor if possible. Place a small meditation cushion or folded blanket under your neck if this strains your neck.
  • Extend your legs along the ground, and relax your arms by your sides with the palms facing up.
  • Close your eyes and focus on deep breathing, allowing your chest to expand and your body to relax. Stay in fish pose for 3-5 minutes to open up the chest and relieve tension in the upper body.

Supine Spinal Twist (Jathara Parivartanasana)

  • Lie on your back on the mat and bring your knees to your chest.
  • Extend your arms out to form a T-shape for balance.
  • Slowly lower your knees to one side, keeping both shoulders on the ground, and turn your head in the opposite direction.
  • Use a bolster or pillow under your knees for support. Hold for 5-10 minutes on each side.

Supported Pigeon Pose (Eka Pada Rajakapotasana)

  • Start pigeon pose in a tabletop position and bring one knee forward, placing it behind your wrist while extending the opposite leg back.
  • Use a bolster under your hip to keep your hips level and comfortable.
  • Lean forward and lay your torso over another bolster for deeper relaxation.
  • Hold for 5-10 minutes, then switch sides.


Restorative yoga is a powerful tool for maintaining mental and physical health. It allows you to pause, reset, and nurture yourself. Incorporating these poses into your life gives you the gift of restored energy, reduced stress, and a calmer mind. Remember, in the practice of restorative yoga, less is more. The goal is not to stretch the furthest but to feel the most relaxed and supported. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is The Difference Between Restorative Yoga And Other Forms Of Yoga?

Restorative yoga prioritizes relaxation and recovery over physical exertion. The poses are less about physical exertion and more about unwinding and healing. Other yoga styles often involve dynamic movements and require more physical effort.

Can I Practice Restorative Yoga If I'm Pregnant?

Restorative yoga can be an excellent choice for pregnant women, as it is gentle and can be easily adapted with props for comfort. However, as with any exercise during pregnancy, it's advisable to consult with an experienced yoga instructor to ensure safety.