The FIVE BEST Restorative Yoga Poses: Reduce Stress & Relieve Tension (+ a Free Yoga Prop Guide)
Welcome to a simple, easy to follow, will reduce stress, relieve tension yoga sequence.
But this isn’t just any yoga sequence, it’s a sequence inspired by one of my favorite styles of yoga.
If it’s not obvious already, the style we’re jamming about today is….
I discovered restorative yoga during my yoga teacher training and then again after injuring myself. Initially I thought restorative yoga wasn’t for my power flow, want to get upside down, do all the fanciest tricks yoga personality.
But after one experience, I was hooked.
I slowly began to weave a pose or two into my personal practices and teachings, until it became apparent that restorative yoga was here to stay.
So if you’re new to this practice, welcome and thanks for giving restorative yoga a chance. And if you’re a seasoned follower of this style, welcome back and thanks for joining me on the mat.
Below are five postures to help reduce stress, relieve tension, and feel good. These postures can be done daily, at the beginning or end of a yoga practice, before bed, in the morning, all together, or independently. Theres truly no right or wrong way to experience them, except to not experience them.
And if you’re new to using yoga props for both restorative or yoga in general, keep scrolling yogis, your free yoga prop guide awaits!
1. Child’s Pose
This pose is total reset for your entire being, like legit hit the reset button, release the negative, and welcome in the positive. It’s simple, beautiful, and one of my favorites.
Restorative child’s pose is best used with a bolster, like in the picture below, but it can also be practiced bare bones. Regardless of what you choose, here’s what I intend for you to experience:
- Support – just let go, the ground is there to catch you.
- Surrender – release the shoulders, melt the chest, surrender the hips, relax the belly.
- Stillness – invite the mind into the body, quiet the constant chatter, relax into the moment.
Props I suggest:
Not sure how to use props in your practice? Grab your free yoga prop guide below and use it to further your yoga journey. Click the picture, enter your information, and the guide is coming your way!
2. Sphinx Pose
Sphinx pose isn’t “technically” a restorative yoga posture, but it is a mild backbend posture that offers beautiful benefits. If this pose is too much – due to low back pain, injury or just because – take crocodile pose (stack hands atop one another, rest forehead on tops of hands).
For this pose, I hope for you to experience:
- Extension and expansion along the front and back side body – abdominals and spine.
- Release of tension + creation of space in the chest, lungs and shoulders.
- An invigorating experience to help reset and reconnect.
- A calming sensation to quiet the craziness.
3. Supported Heart Opener
Oh baby, this restorative pose is the peanut butter to my jam.
When it’s set up properly & given the proper amount of time to experience – you will be in heaven, fluffly clouds of goodness, with a side of shooting stars.
Here’s how you get to heaven:
- Allow the bolster to support the entire back, encouraging the heart & shoulders to be vulnerable & open.
- Invite the hips to soften & expand outwards with support for the knees.
- Create length in the neck by propping a folded blanket under the head.
- Take three rounds of cleansing breaths & then settle in for 10 minutes + some.
- If wanting a more heavenly experience, place an eye pillow over the eyes to remove distractions & draw inward.
Props I suggest:
4. Supine Spinal Twist
So simple, yet so satisfying.
Supine twist is a wonderful posture to help restore the body + the mind. Below is what I experience in the pose & what I hope for you to feel too:
- Gentle stretch in the lower back, gentle being the key word here.
- An opening across the chest and shoulder (of the opposing side) which releases built up tension, stress and emotions.
- Space being created along your side body channels to welcome the new and release the old.
- Improved digestion – something we all need during busy times.
- A quieiting of the mind, a moment to relax the constant, and sink into the present.
5. Legs Up
And lastly, but absolutely not least – legs up in the air or up a wall, whatever works best and is accessible to you.
This pose might look pointless, but oh baby it’s so not.
Here’s what to experience:
- A neutral sensation in the pelvis, meaning no compression in the low back, meaning you can let that shit go. Many of us grip into our low back area, especially from misaligned/misused muscle patterns, making legs up the perfect restorative posture for relief.
- A surrender into the physical moment – let the knees gently buckle, the blood to reverse it’s flow, the legs to tingle, the back to spread, the heart to melt down, and the mind to be at ease. Just be here.
Props I suggest: