We live in a hectic world filled with responsibilities, stress, and external stimulations that can zap our energy and make us feel exhausted. Even just saying the word “relax” can sometimes send us into a place of anxiety. Relaxing is definitely something we all desire, but rarely make time to do. Taking a few moments to do so can be a conscious choice, but once we let go, life always feels a bit better.
Yoga is one of those simple choices that gives us the ability to relax, rejuvenate, and recharge our body and mind. The really cool part is that the relaxing yoga poses listed below don’t require a yoga mat. You can do them individually anytime you need to relax or as a “winding down” sequence before going to bed. You might find that doing the yoga poses a few times a week may enhance your health and well-being!
Here Are 5 Yoga Poses to Help You Feel More Relaxed
1. Child’s Pose
This pose can calm the mind and body and stretch the lower back, hips, and ankles.
How to: Come onto all fours with your wrists in line with your shoulders and knees beneath the hips. As you exhale, lower your hips toward your heels. With your forehead resting on the ground, extend your arms forward or place them alongside your hips. Breathe slowly with the arms resting gently on the floor for 5–20 breaths. For a little extra feeling of “letting go,” open the knees wider than the hips and allow the chest to melt between the thighs.
2. Reclined Spinal Twist
Twisting the body may release pressure along the spine, encourage mobility, and stretch the chest, shoulders, hips, and back (lower, upper, and middle). Reclining and twisting adds a greater feeling of support and release.
How to: Start lying on your back with the arms extended in a “T” shape or “cactus arms.” Bend your knees into your chest on the exhale. Breathe in, and on the next exhale move the knees to the right. If it is comfortable for the neck, turn your gaze to the left. Breathe and remain in the pose for 5–10 breaths. Close your eyes and enjoy. When you are done, breathe in and lift your knees to repeat on the other side. If the knees don’t touch the floor, don’t worry. Place a pillow or towel under your legs for support. If you want to deepen the twist, draw the knees closer to your chest.
3. Reclined Bound Angle
This pose can relieve abdominal tension and open the chest, which encourages deep breathing and oxygen flow. It can also stretch the knees, inner thighs, and groins. It may also relieve symptoms of menstrual cramps.
How to: On your back, bend the knees and slowly open the knees while keeping the soles of your feet together. Hold the pose and relax for 3–8 minutes. If you feel discomfort in your knees or groin, place a pillow or blanket under your thighs. To deepen the sensation, draw the heels closer to your body and relax without support under your thighs.
4. Legs Up The Wall
I call this posture the “fountain of youth.” It may also relieve mild back pain and tired legs and feet.
How to: Slide one hip along the wall and begin to rotate upward (hips stay near the wall and on the floor). Use your hands to slowly release your back to the floor, while mindfully lifting your legs up the wall. Close the eyes and hang out for about 3–10 minutes. If it feels good, place a pillow under your hips to release tension in your lower back and hips. Once your legs are up the wall you can trying opening them into a wide “V” shape to stretch the groin and inner thighs.
5. Corpse Pose
Typically done at the end of a yoga class, this pose is a great pose for relaxation because it can help calm the entire body.
How to: Lying on your back, open the legs wider than your hips and release the arms at a slight angle from your shoulders. Allow the feet to splay outward, and place the backs of your hands on the floor in order to release tension in your shoulders. Close the eyes, relax the tongue in your mouth, and breathe naturally. For added comfort, place a blanket under your lower back or knees.
Try these poses for yourself and let us know if they helped you relax. And, if you are new to yoga, check out Beachbody’s yoga program, 3 Week Yoga Retreat, where I, along with three other yoga experts, guide you through the foundations of yoga.