Restorative Yoga – Overview
In this Asana Digest, we explore Restorative Yoga as a category, including its intention, effects, philosophy and cautions. Next, we provide specific teaching considerations for Restorative Yoga.
- Features: Restorative Yoga as a category, plus the individual poses listed below.
- Objective: Become knowledgeable about Restorative Yoga as a category, and apply knowledge of Restorative Yoga to explore specific teaching considerations.
- Description: Explain the Sanskrit naming of Restorative Yoga poses and explore the purpose and intention; philosophy and principles; benefits and effects; and teaching cautions for Restorative Yoga. Provide verbal cues and other teaching support, plus sequencing considerations, teaching poses and variations, and hands-on support.
Poses Included Here
Savasana (Corpse Pose)
Viparita Karani (Inverted Action / Legs up the Wall)
Balasana (Child’s Pose)
Adho Mukha Virasana (Downward Facing Hero Pose / Wide Legged Child’s Pose)
Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose)
Makarasana (Crocodile Pose)
Restorative Setu Bandhasana
Restorative Forward Bend
“sava” = corpse
“viparita” = inverted or reversed
“karani” = doing or making
Also known as: Legs Up the Wall
“bala” = child
Adho Mukha Virasana
“adho” = down
“mukha” = face
“vira” = hero
Downward Facing Hero Pose
Also known as: Wide Legged Child’s Pose and Utthita Balasana (Extended Child’s Pose)
In Bikram Hot Yoga, called Half Tortoise Pose: Ardha Kurmasana
Supta Baddha Konasana
“supta” = reclining or sleeping
“baddha” = bound
“kona” = angle
Reclined Bound Angle Pose
“makara” = a mythological sea creature
“The vehicle of Varuna, the god of the ocean… denizen of the deep, the makara is the vehicle for the ruling energy of the second chakra.” (Sandra Anderson)
Known as Crocodile Pose
Heart of Poses
Purpose / Intention
- The focus of Restorative Yoga can be described as “alert relaxation.”
- Restorative Yoga is designed to support an increasing ability to experience “Beingness,” — a quality of awareness not related to external circumstances or “doing.”
- While “yin” in nature, Restorative Yoga is different from the style called Yin Yoga (which is designed to stress ligaments, fascia and bones).
- Restoratives poses are not intended to stretch or strengthen, but rather to release ever-deeper layers of tension.
How Poses Are Categorized
Restorative Yoga is often considered to encompass these supported postures:
- Supported Inversions: Legs Up the Wall, Legs on a Chair
- Mountain Brook / Supported Backbend Variation
- Supported Bridge Pose
- Other Supported Backbend Variations such as a propped chest opener and variations of Fish Pose
- Supported Basic Relaxation / Supported Savasana (Corpse Pose)
- Supported Child’s Pose
- Supported Reclined Bound Angle
- Supported Reclined Hero
- Supported Reclining Twist
- Supported Seated Wide Angle
- Supported Seated Forward Bend
- Supported Side Lying Stretch
Much More in this Digest
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