Fact checkedFact Checked

This article is reviewed by a team of registered dietitians and medical doctors with extensive, practical clinical and public health experience.

 

Doing Restorative Yoga Can Help To Lose Weight And Reduce Stress

Mitchelle Morgan

Updated on - Written by
Medically reviewed by Kathy Shattler, MS, RDN

Restorative Yoga Poses For Weight Loss

Have you ever wanted a different way to lose weight other than dieting and sweating for hours at the gym? Restorative yoga is doing different asanas (poses) for a certain duration with the help of props.

Truthfully, restorative yoga practice not only helps you lose weight and get into better shape. It’s also the best way to reduce stress. It relaxes your body and mind, leaving you feeling much more centered and de-stressed. In this article, you can learn much more about the benefits of practicing yoga.

Restorative Yoga Poses for Weight Loss

Restorative yoga is the answer for anyone who wants to shed bodyweight and reduce stress. It involves holding a pose for some minutes, which requires stretching your body. As you do so, you burn calories, although it might take longer than other forms of exercise.  

While a regular yoga session can do good for your body, this practice takes it a notch higher. You engage in a consistent yoga practice that helps you shed the extra fat in your body. However, it’s essential before delving any further to understand restorative yoga.

What is Restorative Yoga?

Any person can engage and benefit from restorative yoga. It’s essentially sun salutations that you do in a relaxing manner. There’s little to no straining as you get to relax with each pose that you do in a session. 

These poses are known as asanas and carry loads of benefits. Salutation to the Sun is the name of a series of asanas designed to refresh and invigorate the body and mind.

When you want to engage in restorative yoga, search for the right yoga teacher. Restorative yoga practice requires the use of a yoga mat, blankets, and other items. Once you engage in yoga correctly, it can promote weight loss and help you to relax. Calories are burned as you move through your asanas.

In addition, you can engage in meditative yoga, which is part of restorative yoga. Meditation requires holding an image in the mind of your ideal body weight. Also, you have to control your breathing to make that image your focal meditation point. Since props are a regular part of restorative yoga, they are present to support your body, and you can hold each pose with little effort.  

The minute your body starts reducing stress and feeling relaxed, the tension you feel leaves your body. Even your mind gets clearer.

All you need to do are the yoga poses while controlling your breathing. Also, get in touch with the thoughts that pop into your mind as you meditate.

How Does Restorative Yoga Help Your Body (& Weight Loss)

Frankly, a long yoga pose with deeper breathing is crucial for restorative yoga to work. You achieve a relaxation response that works wonders for your body. It lowers your blood pressure and relaxes your muscles by easing tension.

Perhaps the biggest beneficiary of restorative yoga is your body that enjoys behavioral change. Every part of it, like the upper body, the legs, and even your mind, gets to relax. Essentially, your body gets to have less stress which is important when you want to lose weight.

Some of the health benefits for your body and weight loss goals to enjoy include:

Improved Sleeping Patterns

Did you know that it can undermine your efforts to lose weight[1] when you don’t sleep well? Your body doesn’t get to rest and relax as it should. However, it’s hard to get more sleep when you are tense and stressed out.

Here is where restorative yoga practice comes to your aid. The different asanas you do help your body and mind achieve calmness. A study[2] found out that restorative yoga could help individuals have better sleeping patterns through neuroendocrine changes and decreased cortisol.

Calmer Nervous System

The minute stress and anxiety take over, your body becomes tense and can be a source of discomfort. When you realize this, it’s better to find a way to relax which massively benefits your nervous system[3]. You shift from fight-or-flight mode to a relaxed response.

This type of yoga benefits your body from the inside out, effectively affecting the nervous system. At the end of the day, the different asanas used in restorative yoga help you achieve a balance in your body that impacts your nervous system.

Ease Chronic Pain

Each asana you do in restorative yoga[4] involves props and stretching. Stretching is important when you have chronic pain and want to ease the tension in your body.

Basically, your body’s ability to perceive pain is lowered. This is especially important for women’s health according to a study[5] that focused on older women. The more you practice the yoga poses, the less pain you are in.

Each pose has more effect when you breathe deeper and get to concentrate more. As you seek more information on easing chronic pain, practicing a few asanas each day promotes relaxation. 

Improve Well-being

Perhaps one of the most important aspects of your body aside from good health is well-being. Research proves that practicing yoga has loads of therapeutic benefits that help you achieve wellness[6]. It’s even much easier to burn calories and achieve weight loss when your body is happy.

Therefore, take up restorative yoga and get heightened mindfulness. With each pose, you breathe deeper, achieve a healthy weight, and get to meditate on your life and the universe at large. Not to mention you have less fatigue[7], body aches, and pains and can enjoy each day since you have more energy.

Reduces Stress

Stress can take over your mind and body if you don’t take steps to curb it. Luckily, restorative yoga has proven over time to be an effective solution[8] for this. People have been using these asanas to relax and ease stress. It’s an effective ancient practice.

It’s even a better way to be less anxious when you have a chronic illness. When you take away stress, the treatment has a better chance of restoring your body to good health.

After learning all the wonderful benefits of restorative yoga, you can try out a few asanas to start.

3 Asana Poses You Can Try

As you start exploring restorative yoga and search for expert advice, start with the three asanas listed in this article. These are simple to do. You can add to and perfect them as you gain more experience.

Child’s Pose

Start with this restorative yoga pose as you seek ways to get rid of subcutaneous fat in your body. The pose is simple to do since you begin by sitting on your heels. Ensure you have a good yoga mat. Ensure your knees are apart, then proceed to bend forward.

As you bend your torso, bring your belly to rest on the space in between your thighs. Then place your forehead on the mat as you extend your arms straight ahead. Pose facing downward like that as you breathe in and out.

The more research you do, you’ll realize there are many children’s poses you can do. Also, you can use a bolster placed in between your legs for a better therapeutic yoga experience.

Reclining Bound Angle Pose

For overweight women who want to lose weight, restorative yoga is a good idea. The poses are simple to do, like the reclining bound angle pose.

You start by lying down on your back, bending your knees, and pulling close to your pelvis. Bring the knees as close as you can, then spread them out to the sides of your body. Touch the soles of your feet and place bolsters underneath each knee for support.

Remember, restorative yoga should be relaxing hence the use of props for support. Lie there for some time as you relax and breathe without much tension in your body. Breathe slowly for five minutes as this builds your abdominal muscles as well.

Supported Forward Fold

The third asana you can try as you start using restorative yoga is the supported forward fold.  Start by sitting on a mat on the floor, then roll an extra yoga mat to place on your legs. Ensure the mat lies on your extended legs before proceeding.

Bend your torso until your forehead touches the mat on your thighs. You can bend more and lay your face on the mat for some time. As you do so, let your arms lie on the side of your legs. Breathing slowly and calmly is just as crucial in this pose.

These three asana poses can massively benefit your health, wellness and even lower cortisol[9] levels in your body. It’s important to be calm and less stressed out as you work on losing fat. Not to mention the fact that you are less anxious and are in a better mood[10].

Summing Up

Engaging in restorative yoga has immense benefits for your entire body and mind. You can easily achieve your body weight goals with each asana and have less stress. It’s a form of yoga that works with props to ensure the workout isn’t strenuous.

Apart from getting rid of belly fat, therapeutic yoga practice greatly benefits your nervous system. In addition, you have more wellness and can work on easing chronic pain. A good place to start as a beginner is with the three simple asana poses in this article.

Not only do they help you relax, but they also help in burning calories in the process. The poses even impact your digestive system keeping you healthy for a longer period of time.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are some of the most restorative yoga poses?

There are different kinds of yoga poses that you can do to improve body composition and relax. Some of the best include downward dog, boat pose, cobra pose, child’s pose, reclining bound angle pose, and supported forward fold. These poses are effective and require you to take a deep breath as you move.

What is restorative yoga good for?

Restorative yoga is quite effective for your body and mind. When you do the yoga poses, you can curb weight gain and gain mental clarity. Luckily, there are many yoga teachers around offering amazing classes.

Can I do restorative yoga every day?

This is a type of yoga that’s quite relaxing and makes use of props to reduce intensity. Therefore, you end up putting minimal strain on your body. It means you can do restorative yoga each day since it’s the best yoga for weight loss. In addition, regular yoga practice is great for heightening mindfulness.


+ 10 sources

Health Canal avoids using tertiary references. We have strict sourcing guidelines and rely on peer-reviewed studies, academic researches from medical associations and institutions. To ensure the accuracy of articles in Health Canal, you can read more about the editorial process here

  1. Nedeltcheva, A.V., Kilkus, J.M., Imperial, J., Schoeller, D.A. and Penev, P.D. (2010). Insufficient sleep undermines dietary efforts to reduce adiposity. Annals of internal medicine, [online] 153(7), pp.435–41. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2951287/ [Accessed 10 Nov. 2021].
  2. ‌Corey, S.M., Epel, E., Schembri, M., Pawlowsky, S.B., Cole, R.J., Araneta, M.R.G., Barrett-Connor, E. and Kanaya, A.M. (2014). Effect of restorative yoga vs. stretching on diurnal cortisol dynamics and psychosocial outcomes in individuals with the metabolic syndrome: The PRYSMS randomized controlled trial. Psychoneuroendocrinology, [online] 49, pp.260–271. Available at: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0306453014002649?via%3Dihub [Accessed 10 Nov. 2021].
  3. ‌Corey, S.M., Epel, E., Schembri, M., Pawlowsky, S.B., Cole, R.J., Araneta, M.R.G., Barrett-Connor, E. and Kanaya, A.M. (2014). Effect of restorative yoga vs. stretching on diurnal cortisol dynamics and psychosocial outcomes in individuals with the metabolic syndrome: The PRYSMS randomized controlled trial. Psychoneuroendocrinology, [online] 49, pp.260–271. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4174464/ [Accessed 10 Nov. 2021].
  4. ‌Schmid, A.A., Fruhauf, C.A., Sharp, J.L., Van Puymbroeck, M., Bair, M.J. and Portz, J.D. (2019). Yoga for People With Chronic Pain in a Community-Based Setting: A Feasibility and Pilot RCT. Journal of Evidence-Based Integrative Medicine, [online] 24, p.2515690X1986376. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6689911/ [Accessed 10 Nov. 2021].
  5. ‌Seguin-Fowler, R., Graham, M., Ward, J., Eldridge, G., Sriram, U. and Fine, D. (2020). Feasibility of a yoga intervention to decrease pain in older women: a randomized controlled pilot study. BMC Geriatrics, [online] 20(1). Available at: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1186/s12877-020-01818-y [Accessed 10 Nov. 2021].
  6. ‌Woodyard, C. (2011). Exploring the therapeutic effects of yoga and its ability to increase quality of life. International Journal of Yoga, [online] 4(2), p.49. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3193654/ [Accessed 10 Nov. 2021].
  7. ‌Zetzl, T., Renner, A., Pittig, A., Jentschke, E., Roch, C. and van Oorschot, B. (2020). Yoga effectively reduces fatigue and symptoms of depression in patients with different types of cancer. Supportive Care in Cancer, [online] 29(6), pp.2973–2982. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8062403/ [Accessed 10 Nov. 2021].
  8. ‌Raghavendra, R.M., Vadiraja, H.S., Nagarathna, R., Nagendra, H.R., Rekha, M., Vanitha, N., Gopinath, K.S., Srinath, B.S., Vishweshwara, M.S., Madhavi, Y.S., Ajaikumar, B.S., Ramesh, B.S., Nalini, R. and Kumar, V. (2009). Effects of a Yoga Program on Cortisol Rhythm and Mood States in Early Breast Cancer Patients Undergoing Adjuvant Radiotherapy: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Integrative Cancer Therapies, [online] 8(1), pp.37–46. Available at: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19190034/ [Accessed 10 Nov. 2021].
  9. ‌Katuri, K., Dasari, A., Kurapati, S., Vinnakota, N., Bollepalli, A. and Dhulipalla, R. (2016). Association of yoga practice and serum cortisol levels in chronic periodontitis patients with stress-related anxiety and depression. Journal of International Society of Preventive and Community Dentistry, [online] 6(1), p.7. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4784068/ [Accessed 10 Nov. 2021].
  10. Azami, M., Shohani, M., Badfar, G., Nasirkandy, M., Kaikhavani, S., Rahmati, S., Modmeli, Y. and Soleymani, A. (2018). The effect of yoga on stress, anxiety, and depression in women. International Journal of Preventive Medicine, [online] 9(1), p.21. Available at: https://www.ijpvmjournal.net/article.asp?issn=2008-7802;year=2018;volume=9;issue=1;spage=21;epage=21;aulast=Shohani [Accessed 10 Nov. 2021].
Mitchelle Morgan

Medically reviewed by:

Kathy Shattler

Mitchelle Morgan is a health and wellness writer with over 10 years of experience. She holds a Master's in Communication. Her mission is to provide readers with information that helps them live a better lifestyle. All her work is backed by scientific evidence to ensure readers get valuable and actionable content.

Medically reviewed by:

Kathy Shattler

Harvard Health Publishing

Database from Health Information and Medical Information

Harvard Medical School
Go to source

Trusted Source

Database From Cleveland Clinic Foundation

Go to source

Trusted Source

Database From U.S. Department of Health & Human Services

Governmental Authority
Go to source

WHO

Database from World Health Organization

Go to source

Neurology Journals

American Academy of Neurology Journals

American Academy of Neurology
Go to source

MDPI

United Nations Global Compact
Go to source

Trusted Source

Database From National Institute for Occupational Safety & Health

U.S. Department of Health & Human Services
Go to source

Trusted Source

Database from U.S. National Library of Medicine

U.S. Federal Government
Go to source

Trusted Source

Database From Department of Health and Human Services

Governmental Authority
Go to source

PubMed Central

Database From National Institute Of Health

U.S National Library of Medicine
Go to source