There are a lot of resources on YouTube. You can learn about pretty much anything from the eradication of smallpox to the basic care of a new cat. Search for yoga, however, and you’ll get millions of hits. That kind of result can be a bit overwhelming and can get your practice off to the wrong foot.
Restorative yoga, also called yin yoga, is pretty much what it sounds like. It should help you feel restored, or better about yourself and your body. This isn’t a yoga routine you’ll want to do for building cardio or strength, and you probably won’t break a sweat unless you’re in a hot room. Most restorative yoga sequences only have a few asanas, around five or six. The idea is to hold each pose for a long time, much longer than you would for a power yoga routine or vinyasa.
You might hold some of these poses for as long as five minutes or so. Having props to lean on and working with easy, light poses you can breathe and relax into are key aspects of this type of practice. It might not be an everyday type of thing, but it is something you should work into your routine.
Under 30 Minute Restorative Yoga
Sometimes we don’t have a lot of time to dedicate to getting ourselves straightened out. That doesn’t mean it’s not helpful, or downright necessary. These shorter practices can help you center and find your focus.
This routine is effortless — and, most importantly, it’s quick. The whole video is about 10 minutes, and it only goes through a few poses, holding each one for about two minutes. Keeping it this short means you can fit it in during your lunch break if you need to, and if you don’t have a bolster, you should be able to use a pillow. Honestly, you can do most of the poses here with no support at all, but if you don’t have a yoga mat, it might be difficult on your knees.
This video is a bit longer than the first, coming in at around 20 minutes. While it does say it’s for anxiety in the title, you can use it anytime you feel like you need to refocus on your current situation and work on your mindfulness. A big part of this video focuses on breathing techniques, followed by a good 10 minutes of slow, measured movements designed to bring your focus back to you. The instructor also gives a lot of options for modifications, making this a great video for beginners.
This routine has no preamble. It just gets right into the yoga. Since it only lasts 30 minutes, you can get it in and still have time to eat lunch afterward if you start right away. This routine also uses no props, so you could do it right on the floor if you wanted. A mat would still make it easier on your knees, and comfortable enough to get the full benefits of the routine.
For those busy mornings when you only have a few minutes, this workout provides a full-body stretch. Instructor Kassandra Reinhardt leads her followers in a stretch that helps with tired and aching muscles. The class is friendly for beginners, so you don’t have to be a yogi to follow along. She starts on the floor in a seated position and works on neck releases before moving through other major muscle groups.
Do you have a hard time finding energy in the mornings? This eight-minute video gives you the moves to get your blood pumping. Although the video specifically mentions mornings, it would also work to provide a boost of energy for that mid-afternoon slump or to push through the last few hours of the day. Instructor Adriene Mishler takes viewers through full-body stretches at a slow, steady pace. She lives in Texas and has nearly 5 million subscribers to her YouTube channel.
Adriene Mishler also offers a bedtime yoga routine to help you wind down after a long day of running here and there. In the video, she talks about mindfulness to calm your central nervous system. Practicing this video before bed should help you get better rest and let go of the tensions of the day. Get in the habit of using this routine every night before bed and see what a difference it makes in how well you sleep.
Dedicated to a Longer Practice Restorative Yoga
If you have more time, doing a long practice can let you get in a deep relaxation. That’s ideal for times when you know you have a stressful time coming up, like the night before a presentation at work or if you’ve just had a long bout of travel.
For slightly over half an hour, Yogi Nora explains not only what yin yoga is, but also how it can benefit other aspects of your practice. This is a great video to watch if you’re interested in ways to make these moves more advanced than the beginner classes. In the video, Yogi Nora doesn’t use many props, but if some of the poses are too advanced, you certainly can.
This video feels more like an actual class instead of a private, one-on-one session. However, even if it’s not what you’re used to, this can still be incredibly beneficial. The teacher moves through the class, pointing out tips on other students that could enhance your poses without having a teacher correct you. Sometimes, just seeing what others are doing can make you more aware of your own movements.
The only issue you could run into is that this routine does have more props, including a bolster, blocks and a strap. If you don’t have those, you may have a harder time with some of the poses.
This video is perfect if you have about an hour to dedicate to your practice for the day. Since it takes place on the beach, there is a relaxing background of water sounds to help enhance your experience. Props are minimal as well, including a mat and a bolster. If you don’t have a bolster, some pillows or another rolled-up yoga mat will work.
Yin yoga, or restorative yoga, is just as good for your mind as it is for your body. It can be incredibly healing and can help you restore your focus on what you need to get done. Take the time to work it into your routine, whether you’re a beginner or an advanced practitioner, and you certainly won’t regret it.
If you have a bit more time for practicing yoga, this one-hour class offers a deep stretch for your entire muscle system. Erin Sampson of Five Parks Yoga takes you along with her on a retreat to Nosara, Costa Rica. Throughout the class, she focuses on deep, intentional breathing to help reduce anxiety and get to a true state of relaxation. This video offers a whole-body routine you can do daily or occasionally.
Turn to this video when you’re looking for a full 50 minutes of yoga to tone your body and help stretch every inch. The focus of this video is on getting in tune with your body and learning to love yourself. When the spirit and the body are one, you’re more attuned to any changes and know what your body needs to feel its best. Adriene Mishler leads users in thoughts about learning to fall in love — with you. The slow and gentle movements in this workout help you focus on how your body works.
After practicing yoga for a while, you’ll want to up your game and focus on building strength and flexibility in specific areas of your body, depending upon your physical needs. In this one-hour video, Kassandra Reinhardt, an Ottawa-based yoga teacher and expert in yin yoga, shares tips for adding strength and flexibility to your hips and hamstrings. She shares the transitions she used in dance classes alongside more traditional yoga positions. While the video isn’t a traditional yoga video in every sense, its target audience is yoga practitioners, and it incorporates moves any yogi should be able to master easily.