Updated: Mar 28
With most of our time spent moving directly from one activity to the next we rarely give ourself time to simply relax. Even when we finish work and wind down by socializing with friends or watching our favorite Netflix show we are still actively focused on doing something. Giving ourselves little time to rest and relax while we’re awake.
An easy and effective routine to unwind is to practice a restorative yoga practice focused on gently opening and relaxing your body.
To take rest without sleeping you can practice along to my YouTube relaxation yoga practice. You’ll be guided through three yoga poses with a bolster focused on relaxing your body, breath, and mind.
3 Yoga Poses with a Yoga Bolster for Relaxation
In the following three yoga poses we’ll explore how to use a yoga bolster for a restorative yoga practice focused on relaxation.
Don’t have a yoga bolster?
You can experiment instead with using pillows and rolled up blankets to support your body in a similar way. You could also instead experiment with variations of Savasana (Corpse Pose) that can be done without a bolster.
(1) Yoga Bolster for Upper Body
Place the bolster lengthways along your yoga mat and come to sit close to the bolster. Make your way to lie down on your back so that your hips are on the ground and your back and head are supported by the bolster.
You can allow your arms to reach out to the sides with your palms facing upwards. Letting the front of your shoulders and chest gently open through the support of the bolster.
Once you’ve found a comfortable position close your eyes and sink the weight of your body down towards the bolster.
Focus your attention on your breath and stay here for around 2 – 5 minutes.
(2) Yoga Bolster Chest Opener
Turn the bolster horizontal to your mat and come back to lie over the bolster. This time you want to allow your shoulders and head to sink down to the ground and chest to open through the support of the bolster.
This time you could choose to reach your arms up and overhead or keep them closer to your body.
Softly close your eyes and relax into the posture for 2 – 5 minutes while breathing slowly.
(3) Yoga Bolster for Lower Back
Bring the bolster now under your knees so that your hips, back and head are resting on the floor.
Allow your feet to drop outwards so that your legs can relax completely. Arms can come alongside your body.
Again let the weight of your body be heavy and close your eyes. Bringing your attention once more back to your breath again.
Stay here for anywhere from 2 – 10 minutes.
Tips for Practicing Yoga to Relax the Mind
Below you can find a few suggestions to help guide you when practicing a restorative gentle yoga practice with a bolster for relaxation.
What is a Yoga Bolster Used for in Restorative Yoga Poses
In restorative yoga postures we often use the support of props like bolsters to find a position that feels comfortable for your body.
Our first priority is to ensure the body will be able to relax and let go of tension. This allows us to remain comfortably in one yoga pose for a period of time with an easy breath. So that we can turn our attention to relaxing and observing our thoughts and feelings.
Which Yoga is Best for Relaxation
Staying for a longer time in gentle yoga poses like you do in restorative yoga makes it one of the best yoga styles for relaxation. It is also a great way to transition from a more physical yoga practice to a more meditative practice.
Restorative yoga poses are relatively easy to do from a physical standpoint than other more complex yoga postures in a dynamic vinyasa yoga practice.
This means that your mind will be less occupied on the technique of the posture and your breath will be naturally slower and deeper. Allowing you to focus more on relaxing your body and observing thoughts and feelings.
When to Practice a Relaxation Yoga Routine
A relaxation yoga routine can be practiced at any time of day.
Often I find yoga before bedtime the most beneficial to help unwind after a busy, stressful or tiring day. However, the downside of doing a restorative yoga before bed is you might find you start to fall asleep.
Therefore, you might also like to experiment doing this relaxing yoga routine first thing in the morning or as a break in the middle of your day.
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