Restorative yoga is an incredible way to help the mind and body relax and heal. Unlike more active yoga styles, restorative yoga allows us to sink into our body’s natural rhythm, promoting deep relaxation, balance, and a sense of wellbeing.
This guide will provide you with an essential restorative yoga sequence, including a downloadable PDF file for your convenience.
- Reduces stress and anxiety
- Improves sleep quality
- Enhances flexibility
- Promotes body’s natural healing process
- Child’s Pose (Balasana): Start in a kneeling position, sit on your heels, then bend forward and stretch your arms in front of you. Rest your forehead on the mat. Hold for 5 minutes.
- Legs-Up-The-Wall Pose (Viparita Karani): Lie on your back and rest your legs up against a wall. Your body should form a 90-degree angle. Relax and breathe deeply. Hold for 5-10 minutes.
- Reclining Bound Angle Pose (Supta Baddha Konasana): Lie on your back, bend your knees, and bring your feet together. Let your knees fall out to the sides. Rest your arms comfortably by your sides. Hold for 5 minutes.
- Corpse Pose (Savasana): Lie flat on your back, legs slightly apart and arms resting by your side, palms facing upwards. Close your eyes and take deep breaths. Hold for 5-10 minutes.
Restorative Yoga Sequence [PDF Included]
This sequence is designed to guide you through several restorative yoga poses intended to bring relaxation to your body and mind. This sequence can be practiced at any time, but it’s particularly beneficial at the end of a challenging day to aid in stress relief and promote good sleep.
- Balasana (Child’s Pose): This pose helps to stretch the hips, thighs, and ankles while reducing stress and fatigue.
- Viparita Karani (Legs-Up-The-Wall Pose): This pose helps to relieve tired leg muscles and gives you all the benefits of inversion, without the effort.
- Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclining Bound Angle Pose): This pose helps to open up the hips and chest, promoting relaxation and deep breathing.
- Savasana (Corpse Pose): This pose brings deep, meditative relaxation and improves mental wellbeing.
Please ensure that each pose is held for at least 5 minutes, allowing your body to sink into each pose and your mind to focus on your breath.
To help you on your restorative yoga journey, we have created a downloadable PDF that includes the detailed steps, modifications, and benefits for each pose in this sequence.
Download Restorative Yoga Sequence pdf
Download the Restorative Yoga Sequence PDF Here
Top 10 Restorative Yoga Poses
Gentle stretching of the connective tissue through a restorative yoga sequence can be a delightful way to relieve tension and loosen the hips and pelvic area, making challenging poses more achievable.
For Restorative Yoga instructors, this sequence is an excellent way to introduce students to the practice. Want to discover the best restorative yoga poses for you? Check out our top picks to start your journey:
1. Child’s Pose (Bālāsana)
The Child’s Pose is a fundamental and frequently performed posture in yoga. To execute this pose, begin by positioning yourself sitting on your heels while your knees are spread wide. Next, bend your body forward until your forehead touches the mat and your abdomen fits comfortably between your thighs. Stretch your arms forward or let them lie relaxed by your sides.
The Child’s Pose can be adapted in numerous ways, but my preferred variation includes setting a bolster between your legs and gently lowering onto it, which replicates a soothing, womb-like feeling.
Pro tip: To make the Child’s Pose even more comfortable, fold your yoga mat in half or place a folded blanket under your knees and feet.
2. Seated Cat Cow (Upavistha Bitilasana Marjaryasana)
The Cat and Cow pose is a fundamental posture frequently featured in yoga classes. This gentle motion helps to mobilize the spinal vertebrae in various directions, greatly benefiting spinal health. The seated rendition of this pose can foster a sense of spaciousness within the body, leaving you feeling rejuvenated.
To execute the seated Cat and Cow pose, begin by sitting in a cross-legged position with your hands resting on your knees. Maintain an upright posture, firmly grounded on your sitting bones. While inhaling, slightly arch your back, lean your chest forward, and look upward for a mild backbend. As you exhale, round your back, stretch your arms to grip your knees, and direct your gaze toward your navel. Repeat this movement several times, synchronizing your breath with the motion.
If a cross-legged position is uncomfortable for you, consider sitting with your knees bent and your feet placed six to eight inches away from your pelvis, keeping them hip-width apart. Regardless of your sitting position, the movement remains the same – inhale to arch your back, exhale to round it.
Supported Bridge Pose (Setu Bandha Sarvangasana)
To perform this restorative yoga pose, lie down on your back with your knees bent and your feet positioned near your hips. Position a yoga block under your sacrum at the lowest level, ensuring its broadest surface is in contact with the floor. You can either rest your hands on your stomach or stretch your arms out like a cactus. Inhale and exhale deeply, maintaining this position for 3-5 minutes.
If you feel comfortable, consider a variation by elevating the block to a higher level, supporting your sacrum with its long, thin edge. Retain this posture for another 3-5 minutes while taking profound breaths.
To intensify the relaxation, you may spread your feet apart and allow your knees to gently drop inward toward each other. This adjustment can be beneficial if you struggle to fully relax your legs when your knees are pointing upward. This restorative yoga pose aids in releasing tension and fostering relaxation, making it a valuable part of any yoga routine.
4. Reclining Bound Angle Pose (Supta Baddha Konasana)
To execute this pose, begin by lying on your back, drawing your feet towards your pelvis and bending your knees. Open your knees outward and press the soles of your feet together. You can place bolsters under each knee to reduce tension in your inner thighs. You have the option of spreading your arms to the sides or resting your hands on your belly. Take calm, consistent breaths and maintain this position for at least five minutes.
For an intensified stretch, consider looping a strap around your waist and feet. This modification can be beneficial if you’re looking to push yourself further in your practice and augment the stretch.
5. Thread the Needle Pose (Parsva Balasana)
To execute the Thread the Needle Pose, also known as Parsva Balasana, begin on all fours ensuring your wrists, elbows, and shoulders align, and your knees are positioned directly beneath your hips. Maintain a straight back and activate your core muscles. For added comfort, you can place a folded mat under your knees.
Inhale and elevate your right arm towards the sky, slightly twisting your torso. On the exhale, bend your right elbow and thread your arm beneath your left arm until your right shoulder and temple touch the mat. Spend a few moments in this position taking deep breaths before repeating the movement with your opposite side.
For an intensified shoulder stretch, raise your left arm and extend it towards your back until it reaches your right inner thigh. Alternatively, if that’s too challenging, you can simply leave your arm behind you.
6. Supported Forward Fold (Paschimottanasana)
To begin this pose, assume the staff pose by sitting on the edge of a bolster with a straight back and extending your legs out in front of you. Slightly bend your knees and place a bolster or rolled blanket underneath them. Place another bolster on your thighs and gently fold your upper body onto the bolsters. Hinge at your hips, ensuring your spine remains straight until your tummy is touching the bolster. Stay in this position for 5-10 minutes, taking deep breaths into your diaphragm.
If it feels more comfortable for you, you can use two or three bolsters on your thighs to fold onto. This modification can help you achieve a deeper stretch and relaxation in this pose.
7. Sleeping Pigeon Pose (Eka Pada Rajakapotasana)
To practice the sleeping pigeon pose, start on all fours. Lift your right leg and bring your shin to the front of the mat with your knee slightly to the right and your foot close to your pelvis. Straighten your back leg directly behind you. To help even out your hips, place a block under your right sitting bone. Then, place one or two bolsters on the inside of your right leg and gently fold forward onto them. Maintain equal-length inhales and exhales and hold the pose for at least 5 minutes before repeating on the other side.
See also Iyengar Yoga: A Comprehensive Guide to a Mindful Practice
For added comfort, you can place a folded blanket under the foot close to your pelvis if you experience any discomfort.
8. Supine Spinal Twist (Jathara Parivartanasana)
Lie down on your back and bring your right knee up towards your chest. Use your left hand to pull the right knee towards the left side of your body for a gentle twist. Place a bolster or two under the right knee for support. Keep both shoulders on the ground, extend your arms out to the sides, and take deep breaths. Repeat on the other side, holding the pose for the same amount of time.
Tip: To deepen the stretch, turn your gaze in the opposite direction of your bent knee.
9. Supported Fish Pose (Matsyasana)
To enhance your relaxation practice, take a bolster or a long pillow and place it horizontally behind your lower back, ensuring that the short edge is touching your lower back. Then, gently lay down on the bolster with your legs stretched out in front and your arms resting by your sides with palms facing upwards. Stay in this pose for as long as you desire while taking deep breaths to calm your mind and body.
Tip: You can use this pose instead of Shavasana at the end of your yoga practice for a unique and refreshing experience.
10. Legs Up The Wall (Viparita Karani)
To practice the ultimate restorative posture, start by sitting as close as possible to a wall. Then, lie down on your back and lift your legs up against the wall. Scoot your hips away from the wall until your legs are comfortably straight up the wall. Release all tension in your legs and body, and focus on taking deep breaths. Stay in this pose for 5-10 minutes.
Tip: You can experiment with different leg variations, such as tree pose legs, bound angle legs, or straddle splits, to find the most comfortable position for you.
Restorative yoga is not about the perfect pose; it’s about tuning into your body and giving it what it needs. We hope this guide, along with the PDF, will assist you in exploring the world of restorative yoga and all the benefits it has to offer. Remember, it’s your practice, so feel free to adjust anything that doesn’t serve you. Enjoy the journey to relaxation and rejuvenation!