The 5 Times When Restorative Yoga Beats A Workout


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!

Sabrina Carlson is a 200 Hr. RYT, nature addict, health and wellness geek, dog lover, working mama, and wife based in Flagstaff, Arizona. To find more great tips on yoga and musings on life, see her website at to get her FREE 15 min. “Everyday Yoga Practice for Beginners” video sign up at Follow her on Instagram @sabrinacarlsonyoga

2016-10-13T10:50:27+00:00 Guestblog, Yoga|10 Comments


  1. Lora January 9, 2015 at 10:46 am

    You left out when you are training for a marathon!! I love restorative yoga the most the more physically intense the rest of my life is. :) Great for runners, crossfitters, triathletes, and athletes of any kind!!

  2. Sabrina Carlson January 9, 2015 at 11:13 am

    Lora, you are sooo right! Athletes can really benefit from restorative!

  3. Teresa January 9, 2015 at 12:06 pm

    Great information! I need to try this

  4. Angela January 9, 2015 at 12:06 pm

    I want to try restorative yoga for relaxing purposes. I have a crazy schedule and a 2 year toddler. This is what I truly need to add to my crazy life right now!!


  5. Sabrina Carlson January 9, 2015 at 12:16 pm

    Angela, it can make a world of difference! Even just a few poses before bed!

  6. Emily January 9, 2015 at 6:10 pm

    #5! BIG TIME!

  7. Kelsey January 9, 2015 at 8:04 pm

    I have always been stubborn about restorative, even when pregnant. With 2 young children when I get an hour to workout I want it to be calorie burning and intense. The most bang for my buck if you will. Do you have a 15 min restorative video? I like the idea of doing it at home, before bed, etc, supplementing my tougher exercise from the day! Thanks! Kelsey

  8. Rosalie Malter January 14, 2015 at 8:28 pm

    I lead a restorative yoga class in Cottonwood, AZ. The monthly class has been going for about 1 1/2 years and the weekly for about 6 months. The students love it and report relief from back pain, insomnia and all kinds of stress. They are loyal to this class more than any other. The benefits are cumulative, getting better with time. You can look up restorative postures on the internet. You would only need 3 postures for a 15 min. session, as each one is held for 5 min. with emphasis on deep relaxation breathing.
    Rosalie Malter
    E-RYT 500

  9. Sabrina Carlson January 29, 2015 at 12:37 pm

    Rosalie, that is so great to hear! I love that your students are so into the class! Hooray!

  10. Martial Arts @calgary June 5, 2015 at 5:02 am

    This article on restorative Yoga is helpful to insomniacs like me. I am sure it helps new Moms, as well. I would request the writer to share more about restorative Yoga.

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