In this day and age, our lives are too busy, and we are so enthralled by technology that, even when we get some time to ourselves, we keep ourselves busy, feeding a constant stream of information into our heads. The result is that we rarely, if ever, take time to ourselves to show ourselves kindness by just resting. We may not even know how to rest.
Resting and relaxation don’t just mean sleeping or having a lie-down, although it can mean that, too. Resting can also mean taking the time to do meditation, eating your favorite food, or gardening—if that is the sort of thing you find pleasant and relaxing. Anything that you do for intrinsic enjoyment, and that leaves you feeling renewed and energetic can be called rest.
Relaxation is indispensable to any yoga practice. If you do not take the time to rest, you will suffer in body and mind. The yoga poses for relaxation in this article are aimed at producing a state of physical and mental relaxation.
Table of Contents
I. 8 Yoga Poses for Relaxation
Yoga Poses for Relaxation #1: Shavasana / Corpse Pose
- Lie on your back with your feet slightly apart and your arms a few inches away from either side of your body, palms up and fingers relaxed. Close your eyes and let your whole body and mind relax.
- If you like, you can focus your mind on the breath as described in the meditation chapter, allowing your mind to merge and identify with the breath. In this way, your body and mind reach a state of natural and deep relaxation.
- You may stay in the corpse pose for as long as you like. It typically comes at the end of a yoga session, but you can also lie down in Shavasana any time you become physically or mentally tired and need to rest. Time and practice will increase your sensitivity to your own needs so that you are well attuned to when you need to rest.
Benefits: Corpse pose provides profound relaxation for the body and mind. This allows the muscle tissues to repair themselves and decreases stress and anxiety. It allows you to recover your energy, particularly after a vigorous practice session. It decreases blood pressure and calms compulsive overthinking.
Yoga Poses for Relaxation #2: Advasana / Reversed Corpse Pose
- Lie flat on your stomach with your legs straight, the tops of your feet stretched along the floor. Your arms should be stretched forward with the palms facing downward. Place your forehead on the floor.
- Allow all the muscles in your body to relax completely, and breathe naturally, without forcing or changing anything about the breath. As in the corpse pose, you may wish to practice mindfulness of the breath here, counting from one to ten, to induce deeper relaxation.
- Keep this position for as long as you like, simply resting without any concern.
Benefits: Similarly, to corpse pose, reversed corpse pose allows the body-mind complex to relax deeply. It also is useful for slipped discs, stiffness of the neck, and correcting bad posture.
Yoga Poses for Relaxation #3: Makarasana / Crocodile Pose
- Lie flat on your stomach, as in reversed corpse pose, with your toes pointing out. Lift your head and chest from the floor, and bring your chin to rest in your palms, propping it up by your elbows. Allow your whole body and all your muscles to relax. Close your eyes and breathe naturally, without trying to alter the breath.
- If there is too much strain on your neck, move your elbows apart to lower your head slightly. You should feel equal pressure on your neck and lower back, so adjust your elbows to find the right balance. The posture should feel comfortable and relaxed without any strain. Remain in crocodile pose for as long as you like.
Benefits: As with corpse pose and reversed corpse pose, crocodile pose induces profound relaxation and decreases stress and anxiety. Like reversed corpse pose, it also improves such spinal disorders as a slipped disc.
The crocodile pose has one big advantage over the previous two poses: it makes it easier to breathe deeply from your belly, using your diaphragm to draw the breath instead of your chest.
Contraindications: Don’t do crocodile pose if it causes you to feel any pain in your back.
Yoga Poses for Relaxation #4: Salamba Bhujangasana / Sphinx Pose
- Lie on the floor on your stomach. Your toes should stretch downward. With your hands and bellows touching the floor, breathe in and push with your arms, lifting your chest, head, and shoulders from the floor.
- Your navel should still be touching the floor. Your head should be held straight up, gazing forward like the sphinx. Breathe slowly and gently, holding the position for a count of ten. Then slowly lower yourself to the floor again.
Benefits: The sphinx pose strengthens the spine. It stretches the abdomen and the abdominal organs, stimulating digestion. It expands the chest and shoulders. This pose improves circulation and releases tension from stress.
Yoga Poses for Relaxation #5: Gomukhasana / Cow’s Face Pose
- Sit with your legs flat on the ground and your back straight, hands resting on your thighs.
- Bring your left foot under your right knee and place it on the outside of your right hip. Then bring the right foot over the left leg, and place your right foot outside your left hip. The knees should be one on top of the other.
- Inhaling, stretch your left arm out to the side. Turn your palm first down, then facing backward, so that your thumb points down. Exhaling, bring the arm behind your back and place it against your lower back. Then move the arm up your back as far as possible, keeping it to the left of the spine.
- Inhale and stretch your right arm forward. Turn the palm upward, then raise the arm vertically. Exhale and bend it over your head and behind your back.
- Try to grasp the left fingers with the right, if you can.
- Hold for a minute or two. Then unclasp your hands, return to the original position, and repeat, switching right and left.
- If your fingers can’t reach each other, use a strap. Hang it over your shoulder, then grasp it with the lower hand. When the upper hand comes over the head and reaches down, it also grabs the strap. Then pull with the upper arm to stretch the lower one. Don’t strain—the idea is to increase flexibility gradually.
Benefits: Cow’s face pose stretches the legs, shoulders, neck, back, and arms. It opens the hips and reduces stiffness in the back, neck, and shoulders. Psychologically, it is an excellent way to relieve stress and anxiety. It restores energy when you’re tired and improves your posture.
Yoga Poses for Relaxation #6: Dandasana / Staff Pose
- Sit on the floor with your legs out in front of you and together. Keep your back straight and vertical. Place your hands at your side, palms down on the floor.
- If your hamstrings are tight, this might be uncomfortable. In that case, practice getting the position right by sitting with your back straight against a wall.
Benefits: Staff pose strengthens the muscles in your back, helps align your spine and sitting bones, and improves posture.
Yoga Poses for Relaxation #7: Jathari Parivartaranasana / Reclining Twist
- Lie on your back as in Shavasana, with your arms at your sides. Bend your left leg, bringing the foot up against the side of your right knee. Grasp your left knee with your right hand, and pull it towards the ground.
- Stretch your left arm to the left and rest it on the floor, palm up. Turn your face to the left as far as you can and gaze in that direction. Don’t lift your shoulder blades from the floor.
- Hold that for a minute and relax into it. Then repeat on the other side.
Benefits: The reclining twist improves flexibility in the spine. It stimulates the abdominal organs. It relaxes and widens the shoulders and hips. It eases stress and anxiety. It also improves digestion.
Yoga Poses for Relaxation #8: Garudasana / Eagle Pose (seated)
- Begin in a seated position. Bend your right leg and bring it under your left knee, and place the foot outside your left hip. Then bring the right foot outside the left hip. The left knee should be resting on top of the right knee.
- Then stretch your arms out in front of you. Keeping your arms straight, cross your right arm over your left a bit above the elbows. Bend your left elbow while keeping your right arm straight. Your left palm should face to the right.
- Then bend your right arm, with the palm facing to the left. Press the right palm with the fingers of the left hand. If you can’t do that, then use the left fingers to grasp the right thumb. Lift your elbows so that your upper arms are at a right angle to your body.
- Your forearms should also be vertical so that your elbows also form a right angle. Hold that position for a count of ten to twenty breaths, breathing deeply into the area between your shoulder blades.
Benefits: This pose is second to none for relaxing muscle tension in hard-to-reach areas of the upper back and neck. You will probably feel it right away reaching long-neglected muscles that needed some tender loving care. If you want to give a little extra stretch, lift your elbows slightly.
There is a more advanced, standing version of this pose that requires excellent balance and focus to pull off. But I’ve presented the simpler version here as an introduction, so you can get the benefits of this position right away.
To read more about yoga and its benefits for relaxation, click here: Benefits of Yoga for Mental Health
II. Manifest Miracles, Attract Your Hearts Desires from the Universe: Elevate Your Vibration, Meditation Relaxation Music
Source: Dream Musicoterapia
Also Read: Anti-Aging Yoga Poses for Looking Younger