For Restorative yoga, the intention is to relax as far as possible into the postures, using as little physical effort as possible. The mind focuses on the breath in order to cultivate mindfulness and release tension from the body.
Restorative yoga classes tend to be relaxing and slow paced, with a whole sequence using as few as five or six postures which are held for long periods of time. Props are also used often in order to allow the body to be in the most comfortable, supported position possible. This may include bolsters, blankets, blocks and belts. Gentle music may be played, and the practice may be combined with guided meditation.
Restorative yoga stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system, which slows the heart rate, regulates the blood pressure and relaxes the body. As such, Restorative yoga is considered particularly beneficial for those suffering from anxiety, insomnia or headaches, as well as other stress-related conditions.
Restorative yoga is believed to boost the immune system and accelerate the body's natural healing process.