Some describe Restorative yoga as being akin to the last 10 minutes of a “regular” yoga class. It cultivates the surrender and relaxation of savasana (corpse pose) and sustains it throughout the whole class. Restorative yoga classes are characterized by their longer holds of poses. Sometimes I’ll stay in one asana for up to 20 minutes. This prolonged hold allows my body to melt, releasing muscular tension that I may not have known I had. In some asanas I will feel a stretch or an opening, but this happens naturally, with my own body weight and gravity over time, not through muscling into the stretch.
Restorative yoga is an introspective practice where I remain awake and present, but deeply relaxed. Classes may be accompanied by a soothing soundtrack, or the practice may be relatively silent in order to allow my focus to shift to my internal environment. I might be guided to deepen my relaxation with breath, or to use the breath as an anchor for my mind.