6 Classic Restorative Yoga Poses for Home Practice

Props are required, allowing you to fully relax in each pose

Restorative yoga is a time to relax and stretch, allowing your mind and body to be at ease. While you can enjoy a slow-moving restorative yoga class, it's also very easy to do at home. You'll find that a few simple poses offer great relief from any stress in your day and can calm your mind while stretching your body.

Before You Begin

If you're planning to do restorative yoga at home, you're going to need some props. You can do a lot with blankets and blocks, using them both separately and together, though nothing beats a yoga bolster.

Because you will hold these poses for a long time—10 minutes or so—it's also a good idea to have a timer available. Even the timer on your phone's clock will work if you set it to a gentle tone that will not startle you when time's up.

When you're practicing alone, it can be easy for your mind to be preoccupied with how much time has passed. By knowing that something is tracking time for you, these thoughts can be pushed aside and you can fall deeper into a soothing meditative state.


Restorative Child's Pose

Restorative Child's Pose With a Bolster
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This restorative child's pose (balasana) is the yoga equivalent of a big hug. A long hold of 10 or more minutes here gives your hips time to release on a very deep level.

How to Set It Up

  1. Place a bolster long ways on your mat. If you don't have a bolster, use at least three yoga blankets, neatly folded and stacked into a bolster shape. 
  2. Position your legs at the end of the bolster. Your legs are on the mat, not the bolster. 
  3. Fold forward slowly, draping your torso over the bolster. 
  4. Let your arms come out in front of you, resting gently on the floor.
  5. Turn your head to one side with your cheek resting on the bolster. Periodically, change the direction of your head so that you don't get a stiff neck. 

Restorative Paschimottanasana

Restorative Paschimottanasana
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Supporting yourself in a forward fold like paschimottanasana gives you the best of both worlds. The idea is to come as far forward as you can with a flat back and then pile up folded blankets (and blocks if necessary) to fill the gap between your torso and your legs.

This allows you to stay at your full extension for longer without getting tired while gravity does its work. You can do this in any seated forward bend. 

How to Set It Up

  1. Begin by sitting in staff pose (dandasana). Have your props handy just to one side of you.
  2. Inhale the spine long. Exhale to forward bend over your legs.
  3. Stop your bend where your back wants to round. 
  4. Place your blankets or blocks on your legs until they are high enough that you can rest your torso on them. It's okay to let your spine round at this point.

If you're using blocks, you can place your forehead on one so your head is relaxed too. When using blankets, it may work better to turn your head to one side.

Remember to change the direction that your head is facing every so often during the 10 or more minutes that you stay in this pose.


Restorative Legs-Up-The-Wall

Restorative Legs Up the Wall - Viparita Karani
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Legs-up-the-wall (viparita karani) is pretty restorative any way you slice it. The wall is the major prop as it offers support to keep your legs vertical.

During class, you may not get the chance to hold this pose for a long time or break out the full range of extra props, but you can do as much as you like on your own. It's pretty easy to set this one up and it is especially rejuvenating for tired legs after a long day.

How to Set It Up

You can do this with no props at all. Or, if you are familiar with the pose, add a bolster or two to three folded blankets.

  1. Place the blankets or bolster parallel to and right on the wall along its long side. 
  2. Sit on the floor, blankets, or bolster with your side touching the wall. 
  3. Let your hands drop back to support you as you swing your legs up the wall.
  4. Come down to your elbows and eventually all the way onto your back. Let your arms relax by your sides. 
  5. Focus on melting the low back into the floor. If you are using a prop, your butt stays up on the blankets or bolster the whole time, giving you the effects of a mild inversion.
  6. Bend your knees toward your chest after 10 or more minutes and roll to one side to come out of the pose. 

Restorative Bridge Pose

Supported Bridge Pose with a Block
Ann Pizer

Active backbends are a lot of work. Passive backbends can be relaxing. Letting the body open slowly over a longer hold time is a novel experience when you first try it. For a supported bridge, you just need one block. 

How to Set It Up

  1. Set yourself up for a bridge pose with your block within reach.
  2. Lift your hips and slide the block under your sacrum. Let the weight of your lower body rest on the block.
  3. Start with the block at its lowest height. If that feels ok after a few minutes, you can try turning it so it's higher. For long hold times, avoid the highest position of the block.
  4. Push your feet into the floor after 10 or more minutes to lift your hips and remove the block.

Restorative Heart Opener

Restorative Heart Opener
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This type of supported heart opener is sometimes done with a block, but a bolster or an ergonomic block makes it much more comfortable so you can hold it for longer. The corners of a regular block start to dig into your back pretty quickly, making this pose feel more like torture and less like bliss. 

How to Set It Up

  1. Position a bolster lying across your mat.
  2. Lower yourself onto the bolster so that it hits you under your shoulder blades (also known as the bra strap line).
  3. Allow your head to hang off the side of the bolster. If it doesn't come to the floor, set up a blanket or block to support it. 
  4. Bring your arms overhead as shown here as long as that's not too intense. If that doesn't work for you, try extending them out to either side in a T shape (touching the ground just above the bolster) or in a cactus shape (bent at the elbow).
  5. Extend the legs or bring them to a supta baddha konasana position. 
  6. Relax and let your heart melt open.

Restorative Savasana

Restorative Savasana With Props
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Corpse pose (savasana) is all about deep relaxation, so why not take it to its logical conclusion with a bunch of props? 

How to Set It Up

  1. Add a bolster or rolled blanket under your knees to your savasana. This helps release your back and feels great. 
  2. Place a blanket under your head for a pillow with a little tuck in it to fill the space behind your neck makes this pose even more comfortable.
  3. Cover yourself with a blanket it it's chilly. Your body temperature will drop as you relax, so be prepared before you begin.
  4. Use extra blankets to fold and pile on top of your thighs or belly/chest area. That extra weight is grounding and feels wonderful. 

A Word From Verywell

The nice thing about doing restorative yoga at home is that you can use any of these poses alone or in combinations whenever you like. After a long day, few things are as relaxing as a deep, long stretch and mind-relaxing time to yourself. If you'd like to get a feel for this style of yoga, drop into a class. It will help your home practice tremendously.

1 Source
Verywell Fit uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Corey SM, Epel E, Schembri M, et al. Effect of restorative yoga vs. stretching on diurnal cortisol dynamics and psychosocial outcomes in individuals with the metabolic syndrome: the PRYSMS randomized controlled trialPsychoneuroendocrinology. 2014;49:260-271. doi:10.1016/j.psyneuen.2014.07.012

By Ann Pizer, RYT
Ann Pizer is a writer and registered yoga instructor who teaches vinyasa/flow and prenatal yoga classes.