Whether it’s in your hips, glutes, or all in your head, tension has a way of accumulating as we hustle through the day-to-day. But there are ways to reclaim some very necessary “me” time with just a few simple steps.
Restorative yoga prioritizes stillness, relaxation, and a calmer state of mind, even more so than more traditional forms of yoga Restorative yoga for women with ovarian or breast cancer: findings from a pilot study. Danhauer SC, Tooze JA, Farmer DF, et al. Wake Forest University School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, NC. Journal of the Society for Integrative Oncology, 2008 Spring;6(2):47-58.. By incorporating props like yoga blocks, bolsters, blankets, and straps to support and align the body, restorative poses allow the body to fully relax in each posture (so no straining to lift and hold that tricky full wheel pose). Practicing “active relaxation” or gentle yoga (as it’s also known) can also help yogis hold poses longer than they normally would, giving weary muscles and connective tissues and little extra TLC.
The silver lining: There’s room for restorative poses in even the tightest of places. Just remember to take the time to get in and out of each pose safely — especially when the spine is involved. And for those with injuries, be sure to move through each posture with a pro before trying them on your own.
Greatist Expert and yoga instructor Rebecca Pacheco suggests starting off with these six postures, from the hip-opening half-pigeon pose to the oh-so-restorative legs-up-the-wall pose. So find a quiet spot — and a few uninterrupted minutes — and get ready to restore.
Disclaimer: While we're big fans of yoga to ease tension and improve mobility, it's not a replacement for medical care. If you're experiencing chronic pain or injury, please consult a qualified professional.
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