restorative yoga

Restorative Yoga, Dirk de Waal

Restorative Yoga focuses on soothing the nervous system through the release of deeply held physical tension and stiffness. It also supports the immune system and promotes emotional well-being.

Restorative Yoga focuses on undoing stress and changing the relationship we have with our bodies, minds and the world we live in. Muscular tension activates the sympathetic nervous system (the “fight and flight” system), where Restorative Yoga uses props (such as bolsters and blankets) to minimise tension and maximise physical comfort and relaxation during each pose. Slowing down the body and mind helps to activate and nurture the parasympathetic nervous system (the body’s “rest and digest” system); releasing physical and emotional tension. One’s head is kept in line with or below the heart in order to reduce blood pressure, to lower heart rate variability and to quieten the nervous system. Slow deep breathing also lowers the heart rate and reduces the production of the body’s stress hormones.


This form of yoga is recommended for bodies impacted by the demands of modern day-to-day life, chronic pain, vigorous routines and other forms of physical exercise, high stress levels, burnout, and insomnia.

What you will need

You will need a smooth soft surface to practice on (such as a yoga mat, carpet or a big towel) in a room that is quiet and not too bright, and access to an open wall. Supporting the body is essential in Restorative Yoga. For this, you will need 4 bed pillows, 2 scatter pillows or 2 small blankets, 2 towels and a face towel.