Yoga can help you develop strength and flexibility, and some yoga poses are quite strenuous. Although demanding exercise has its place in your fitness program, relaxation is just as important. Life is often stressful, and relaxing yoga poses can help you unwind and feel rejuvenated. To get the most from relaxing yoga poses, try to do them in a warm room where you know you won't be interrupted. Dim the lights, focus on deep nasal breathing, and enjoy the feeling of tension leaving your body.
Savasana, or Corpse pose, is one of the most relaxing poses in yoga, making it an excellent bedtime exercise. Lie on your back with your feet hip-width apart and your hands away from your sides so air can circulate around your torso. Roll your shoulders down and back as you lengthen your neck. Mentally scan your body and focus on a sensation of warmth and heaviness in all your limbs. Remain in this position for five to 30 minutes, while trying to keep your mind empty of all distractions.
Child's pose, or Balasana, is a kneeling pose that encourages total body relaxation. To perform Child's pose, kneel on your yoga mat, and with the tops of your feet flat on the floor, sit back on your heels. Slowly lean forward and rest your chest on your legs and your forehead on the floor. Place your arms on the floor by your sides so your palms are facing up. If you find this position too much of a stretch, place a pillow on your thighs to support your upper body.
Standing Forward Bend
The Standing Forward Bend, or Uttanasana, uses gravity to gently stretch your back, legs and shoulders. This effective relaxation pose can be performed almost anywhere. Stand with your feet together and your hands by your sides. Bend your knees slightly and distribute your weight evenly between your heels and forefeet. Pull your abdomen in and bend forward at your hips and waist. Allow gravity to pull your upper body and arms toward the floor. Exhale, and allow your body to relax. Hold this position for 30 to 120 seconds. To come out of the pose, bend your knees, place your hands on your lower back and slowly stand up.
Sukhasana, or Easy pose, is a seated pose that provides an ideal position to focus on relaxing and emptying your mind of stress and worry. Sit on the floor, and cross your legs so your knees are wide and your feet are positioned beneath the opposite legs. Sit up as tall as you can and rest your upturned hands on your knees. Lengthen your neck, and gently tuck in your chin. If your hips are tight, you may find that sitting on a folded towel or thin cushion makes this position more comfortable.
- "Yoga for Regular Guys"; Diamond Dallas Page & Dr. Craig Aaron; 2005
- "Yoga, Tai Chi Massage, Therapies & Healing Remedies"; Mark Evans; 2003
- "Yoga Anatomy: Your illustrated guide to postures, movements, and breathing techniques"; Leslie Kaminoff; 2007