Simple Restorative Yoga Sequence (No Props Needed)

Restorative yoga is a beautiful way to bring your body and nervous system back to a state of absolute rest.

Less about stretching and movement, restorative yoga is ideal if you’re looking for a way to relax, destress, and come back to your body.

And although it looks extremely straightforward, restorative yoga can be mentally challenging, especially if you’re not used to resting.

So, let’s look at what restorative yoga is, the difference between restorative yoga and yin yoga, and what props you need for a restorative yoga practice.

We’ll also guide you through a simple restorative yoga sequence that doesn’t require props.

What Is Restorative Yoga?

Restorative yoga is the practice for your nervous system.

Think of restorative yoga as a way to bring your body away from a stress response (fight or flight) and into a calmer state of rest and digest.

Yoga poses in this practice are held for an extended period – anywhere from 5-20 minutes – using several props placed carefully around your body so that you can relax into complete bliss.

Although restorative yoga generally requires props, the sequence we take you through today will be an introduction to restorative yoga without using props.

Restorative yoga is perfect if you suffer from anxiety, are looking for a way to destress, or just want to feel as though you’ve spent an hour giving yourself a big hug.

See What is Restorative Yoga for a full breakdown of this popular and relaxing style.

What Makes Restorative Yoga Challenging?

Although restorative yoga is very straightforward for your physical body, it’s normal to feel a bit challenged mentally.

In a modern world where we’re so used to rushing around and living with a sense of urgency, it can be incredibly hard to stop and do absolutely nothing. Although it may feel as though you’re not doing anything during a restorative yoga practice, you’ll likely come away feeling more peaceful, grounded, and rested.

What’s the Difference Between Restorative Yoga and Yin Yoga?

Although the terms’ yin yoga’ and ‘restorative yoga’ are often used interchangeably, they are two completely different practices.

While restorative yoga is a style designed to support you in complete comfort with little to no stretching, yin yoga is the practice of deep stretches held for long periods.

So, although both practices involve holding poses for an extended time, the purpose of each practice is very different.

What Props Do I Need for Restorative Yoga?

When it comes to restorative yoga, the more props, the better! But it is possible to practice restorative yoga without props, as we’ll show you today.

As a starting point, it’s a good idea to have:

  • two blocks
  • couple of cushions/pillows
  • bolster pillow
  • blanket

You can also use items from around your house such as books, bed pillows, and extra yoga mats to create props to support your body in restorative yoga poses.

A Simple Restorative Yoga Sequence (No Props)

In this sequence, we’ll guide you through five restorative yoga poses you can practice without props. We’ve also included how to use props if you have some.

Depending on your time, we recommend holding each pose for 2-10 minutes.

When practicing restorative yoga, the point is to be comfortable enough to allow your entire body to relax. If you’re feeling uncomfortable, try adding a pillow or two or simply move on to the next pose.

Observe your thoughts without judging them or becoming too attached to them, and give yourself this time to reset your nervous system.

Restorative Yoga Sequence Follow-Along Video

Follow along with our simple restorative yoga sequence video! Feel free to pause the video to hold each pose for your desired length.

Continue below for a full breakdown of how to properly perform each pose and how to use props for assistance if desired.

Reclining Bound Angle Pose

Lay on your back with your knees bent and the soles of your feet on the mat.

From here, bring the soles of your feet together and let your knees fall out to either side, coming into reclining bound angle pose, aka, butterfly pose.

Allow your arms to relax on either side of your body, or bring one hand to your chest and one to your belly. Let your breath be natural, close your eyes and focus on getting heavy throughout your entire body as the ground supports you.

To move out of the pose, bring your knees together and into your chest for a hug.

Optional props: Add a block beneath each knee and a folded blanket beneath your head.

Supine twist

Stay on your back with your knees together.

Let your knees fall over to the right and stack them on top of one another. If the stretching sensation is too much, slide your right knee back towards your left hip.

Open your arms out to either side and gaze over your right or left fingertips, depending on which side you find the most comfortable.

After spending several minutes here, repeat on the other side.

Optional props: Place a pillow, cushion, or block between your knees.

Legs up the wall

Come up to a seated position and shift your body so that your right hip is touching the wall.

From here, lay on your back as you bring your legs to rest up the wall with your arms on either side of your body.

Add a gentle bend in the knees if it feels good, and close your eyes before resting here for several minutes.

Optional props: Place a rolled-up blanket or pillow beneath your lower back to elevate your hips.

Child’s pose

Slowly make your way onto all fours with your wrists beneath your shoulders and knees beneath your hips.

Bring your knees to touch and let your big toes come together.

Sit back to bring your sit bones to your heels and lay your torso along your thighs. Allow your head to rest on the floor and bring your arms to relax alongside your calves or straight out in front of you.

Optional props: Place a block or pillow beneath the forehead and a block between your heels as a place to rest your glutes. Alternatively, you could also place a bolster pillow between your knees and let your entire torso and head rest on it.

Savasana (Corpse Pose)

Savasana is the final resting pose of every yoga class and is just as important during a restorative yoga class.

To practice, lay on your back with your legs long and arms out to either side.

Take the time to bring attention to and relax each part of your body individually before bringing our attention to your breath.

Let the ground beneath you support your body and rest here for as long as you can.

Optional props: Place a folded blanket beneath your head and a bolster pillow or rolled-up yoga mat under your knees.

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