Restorative yoga is a practice all about slowing down and opening your body through passive stretching.
Taking a restorative yoga class often means hardly moving at all, and doing just a few postures during an hour or so of practice. It is a completely different experience than most contemporary yoga.
During the long holds of restorative yoga, your muscles are allowed to relax deeply. It's a unique feeling provided through the props that are used, rather than using your muscles, to support your body. Restorative classes are very calm, making them a good complement to more active practices as well as an excellent way to destress.
The props used in restorative yoga are exclusively designed to support your body so you can relax into poses for longer periods of time. Less strenuous postures are the focus, such as supine or seated yoga poses, with the addition of blocks, bolsters, and blankets to eliminate unnecessary straining. While restorative yoga sounds totally “Zen”, restorative yoga can be a challenging practice for your mind and body if you are not used to being still. Most yoga classes are an active practice where you move from pose to pose, building heat and increasing your strength and flexibility in equal measure.
When you attend a restorative yoga class, prepare yourself for deep relaxation. The teacher will provide the necessary props for you, and the lights are typically dimmed with soft music playing. In some poses, the teacher may even cocoon you in blankets for extra warmth and coziness.