Ahhh…restorative yoga. That soft, yummy, and delicious practice of relaxing poses supported by props while gentle kirtan plays in the background. Or, as one of my students likes to call it “supervised nap time”. In our modern hectic world, the physical and mental health benefits of a restorative practice are hard to overstate. Why then is restorative yoga such a hard sell?! It’s downright tough to get people into a yoga class where the purpose is NOT to effort.

I have many theories on this, but at least one reason is we’ve had it drilled into our heads that the one thing we all need more of is movement, effort, activity. And…it true that most of us need to move more!

But there are a few times in life, when the very best thing we can do is stop…slow down…and relax.


The 5 Times When Restorative Yoga Beats A Workout

1.  You’ve just had a baby.

Oh BABY! Do I know about this! I know we all want to get that baby out and jump up running to “get your body back!” But really, those first couple of months postpartum, you need time to heal, rest, recover, and balance out your post delivery hormones. If you are…ahem…”blessed” like I was with a child who shuns sleeping, you may want to cut yourself slack for a little longer.


2.  You are dealing with adrenal fatigue or adrenal burn-out.

This condition, caused by lack of sleep and living in a constant state of heighten stress, is being diagnosed with ever greater frequency. Especially in women. Essentially, your body has produced so much cortisol {and other stress hormones} that it just doesn’t can’t do it anymore. Unfortunately, hard workouts can actually make this condition much worse when you’re trying to heal.


3.  You live a busy stressful life.

Which, let’s face it, is most of us. In this case, restorative yoga should be an adjunct to your other, more strenuous activity. Since you’re NOT suffering from adrenal fatigue yet…let’s keep it that way!


4.  You’re following the plans given to you by your trainer and nutritionist to the letter {and have given it time to work} but the weight is just not coming off.

Especially if the troublesome pounds are around your mid-section. Weight-loss is largely hormonal and that pesky high cortisol {see #2} can cause your body to store belly fat no matter what else you do. It might be worth a visit to a Functional Medicine Specialist or Naturopathic Physician to get those hormones checked, but in the meantime try adding restorative yoga and some meditation to your fitness prescription.


5.  It’s bedtime, especially if you tend to suffer from insomnia.

Here we go again with stress hormones and health {are you starting to see a pattern?}. That good ole’ cortisol is supposed to be high in the morning and low at night, allowing us to drift off to sleep and wake refreshed in the morning. But for most of us, that hormonal pattern gets flipped around causing difficulty sleeping and grogginess in the morning. Just 10-15 minutes of restorative yoga can be enough to bring cortisol down and get you into bed catching zzz’s. And if there is one thing our culture needs more of {in addition to movement} it more sleep!


Do you include restorative yoga in your weekly or daily routine? What benefits do you receive from it? If you don’t include restorative in your practice, what tends to get in the way? Leave a comment and let me know!

Claudia Richey is a Victoria, B.C. based Personal Trainer and Ayurvedic Practitioner. She is passionate about sharing her unique approach of training and eating according to ones Body-Mind Constitution with other health professionals as well as using it on an ongoing basis with her own clients to help them reach their goals!