Restorative Yoga – Overview

Asana Digest Overview

In this Asana Digest, we explore Restorative Yoga as a category (including its intention, effects, philosophy and cautions), plus specific teaching considerations for teaching Restorative Yoga poses.


Restorative Yoga as a category, plus Savasana (Corpse Pose), Constructive Rest, Balasana (Child’s Pose), Adho Mukha Virasana (Downward Facing Hero Pose / Wide Legged Child’s Pose), Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose), Viparita Karani (Inverted Action / Legs Up the Wall), Makarasana (Crocodile Pose), Restorative Bridge Pose & Other Backbends, and more restorative poses.


1) Be grounded in the theoretical underpinning of Restorative Yoga including nervous system physiology and conscious relaxation, plus the effects and benefits of Restorative Yoga practice. 2) Be prepared to optimize conscious relaxation among students in Restorative Yoga, and to identify and address issues.


Explain the Sanskrit naming of Restorative Yoga poses and explore the philosophical underpinnings, principles and intention; 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 Overview


“sava” = corpse
Corpse Pose

For more detail on the Sanskrit and roots of Savasana, see this 3-min video by Richard Rosen.

Viparita Karani

“viparita” = inverted or reversed
“karani” = doing or making
Inverted Action
Also known as: Legs Up the Wall


“bala” = young, child or childish, not fully-grown or developed (source)
Child’s Pose

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
Crocodile Pose

“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)

Heart of Poses

  • Restorative
  • “Alert Relaxation”

In an ideal world, every asana would feel restorative. But those that fall into the special category of restorative poses have a particular ability to leave us nourished and well-rested. – Claudia Cummins link

Much More in this Digest

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