As yoga moves increasingly online, it provides us an amazing opportunity to practise and relax in our own home. Restorative yoga is a wonderful style to practice at the end of the day to help unwind before bed. Being able to do it at home brings an added benefit – at the end of a class, you do not need to travel home in the cold, but simply get up from your yoga mat, change into your pyjamas and head straight to bed. To make the most of this relaxing practice it is worth taking a little bit of time to set up your home space, so that you can truly let go and experience the benefits. In this article I share our top tips for setting up your home space to practice restorative yoga at home. Restorative yoga is known for it’s use of props – bolsters, blankets and more – so I also give you some ideas of what to use from around your home, without the need to buy lots of equipment.
What is restorative yoga?
Restorative yoga is a quiet introspective practice perfect for relaxing after a busy day. It is all mat based (no standing asanas). Poses may be held for up to 20 minutes as you breath and deeply relax all your muscles. Read more about this wonderful yoga style in our earlier article: what is restorative yoga.
Prepare your space to practice restorative yoga at home
To really enjoy your restorative class, and to truly relax, I suggest spending a few minutes to make sure you have a lovely space in which to practice.
- Find a quiet space free from clutter and distractions. If you share a house with others, make sure you can close the door to minimise noise and disruptions (or invite them to join you!).
- Check that you have good WiFi or internet connection in your space.
- Set the lighting onto soft. It´s lovely to have some lit candles about your space – make sure they are placed somewhere that you cannot knock over.
- Consider whether you would like to burn one of your favourite essential oils or incense. Something that you love, soothes or that helps you to relax is ideal.
- Check the temperature of the room – its needs to be pleasantly warm, particularly during the cooler months of the year.
- You could play some soft music of your choice. We recommend something that is instrumental, as words can be distracting. Remember, to keep the volume low, to make sure that you can hear the teachers instructions!
- Get your yoga equipment and other items ready (see more below). Roll out your mat – we suggest that you are near a wall, in case one (or more) of the poses require this.
- Just before the class make sure that your camera is set up so that the teacher can see the full length of your mat. If you are watching on your phone, turn the mobile ringing thing off, so that you are not disturbed.
What equipment do I need for restorative yoga at home?
Restorative yoga requires a quite a few props but if you don’t have them all, you can improvise with things from around your home. Our suggestions for things to have to hand for a restorative class include:
- 1 yoga mat (If you do not have a mat, you can still join in a restorative class, we suggest having a rug to sit on).
- 2-4 yoga blocks and 1-2 yoga bricks (if you have them). If you don’t have yoga blocks or bricks then some large, thick books might work. I´ve got some really thick yoga books at home which make fabulous blocks, as does a stack of hard-back cookery books. Blankets can also be used instead of blocks.
- 4 blankets (the firmer the better) – one as a minimum (to cover you up in savasana and to help provide support)
- Eye mask (very relaxing! Particularly with a few drops of essential oil, like lavender). A small towel can make a good alternative.
- A chair with a backrest (something similar to that shown in the photo). A dining room chair is usually ideal. It needs to be not too high or low in height and fairly solid (no wobbles).
- A yoga bolster. If you don´t have a yoga bolster, you have 2 options (i) use 2-4 yoga blocks and blankets OR (ii) use some cushions/pillows (as shown in the main photo) – you can wrap them in a blanket or sheet to create a bolster-like shape. Firm cushions or pillows are best. You could also use the sofa seat!
In a restorative class online, the teacher will explain how to position the props to get comfortable for each position.
What to wear for restorative yoga?
Soft comfortable clothes are ideal for restorative yoga. Avoid tight waist bands, elasticated is best! Make sure you are warm, think about wearing a few layers; there is little movement in restorative yoga so your body will not build up much heat. I suggest wearing a pair of warm thick socks – no need to go barefoot here.
Who can practice restorative yoga?
Restorative yoga can be practiced by most people however as always please advise the teacher before the class if you have any injuries or conditions. Note: As with all yoga, you should not feel pain or discomfort in any of the poses. If you do please advise the teacher so that the pose can be modified.
Yoga retreats at La Crisalida
Come and experience restorative yoga and other styles with our experienced teachers, here at La Crisalida. Read more about our yoga retreats in Spain here and if you want to learn more about the yoga styles on offer, read our yoga page here. Our online yoga classes can be found on our online retreats page.
I hope you enjoy, and find deep relaxation, in your restorative yoga class at home!
About the author
- Lisa is one of the founders of La Crisalida Retreats. She is an Epidemiologist, therapeutic hatha and yin yoga teacher and also teaches mindfulness meditation. Lisa has studied NLP and hypnosis, as well as nutrition (she designs the menus).