In this article, we’ll explore six different yoga poses for relaxation. Everybody – including you – deserves some time to unwind. If you’ve been stressed at work, dealing with family drama, or just feeling tense after nearly two years of pandemic life, we could all use a little more relaxation.
However, relaxing is much easier said than done. Many people find it difficult to truly slow down and rest due to the stressors of modern-day life, such as their seemingly never-ending to-do lists.
Thankfully, yoga poses for relaxation can help by reducing tenseness, increasing your sense of well-being, and improving your mood.
Related: YOGA POSES FOR STRENGTH
THE BENEFITS OF RELAXATION
You probably already know that relaxation is beneficial. In addition to relieving stress and anxiety, it allows your body (and mind) to rest and recover. Physical and mental health can be positively impacted by relaxation, and it can prepare you for busy days to come.
CONSISTENT RELAXATION HAS THE FOLLOWING BENEFITS:
- Lowering blood pressure
- Slowing your heart rate and breathing
- Improving digestion
- Easing muscle pain and soreness
- Reducing chronic pain
- Increasing energy levels
- Improving sleep duration and quality
- Increasing overall feelings of emotional and physical well-being
HOW YOGA PROMOTES RELAXATION & HARMONY?
Anxiety and stress fill your yoga class when you arrive. There’s something wrong with the world that makes you mad. Suddenly, you come out of class (or Zoom session) feeling less cynical and less stressed after an hour. How come?
Your body’s relaxation state is activated when you practice yoga to relieve stress and anxiety. In a scientific sense, this state occurs due to parasympathetic nerve stimulation. The slow, mindful breathing that’s integral to your yoga practice catalyzes activating this system.
Additionally, when activated, the parasympathetic nervous system sends signals to your heart and nerves—telling them to relax. Suddenly, your whole body is in a state of relaxation. Revel in it!
The purpose of yoga is to unite all the levels of our being, bringing about the harmony of mind, body, and spirit. It serves to nourish the entire body and nervous system, through improved circulation and by balancing hormones, which in turn helps promote relaxation. Breathing exercises and meditation bring about mental and spiritual calm. All these aspects work together to create relaxation and harmony within.
YOGA POSES FOR RELAXATION
YOGA POSES FOR RELAXATION #1: COW ARMS
This yoga pose exercises both arms simultaneously, at the same time also enhancing upper-body ﬂexibility and awareness of your posture.
- Kneel, sitting on your heels, with your toes pointing backward. Look forward and soften the muscles of the face. Relax the shoulders as you breathe.
- Inhale, and raise your left arm. Work the stretch along the side of your body. Bend your right elbow so that the right hand is on your lower back, palm facing out.
- Bend your left arm, so the hand is between your shoulders. Push the right arm higher up your back, palm still out, until you can clasp the ﬁngers of both hands together. Pull gently. Exhale to undo, and ﬂick your ﬁngers to release any tension. Switch sides.
YOGA POSES FOR RELAXATION #2: CHILD’S POSE
This posture offers a useful counter-stretch to backward bends and helps normalize circulation. The Child’s Pose can be used either to prepare for or recover from, other poses.
- Kneel, sitting on your heels, with your big toes touching. Keep your spine straight. Clasp one wrist with the other hand.
- Exhaling deeply, slowly move your head and chest down as far as possible, bending from the hips. Continue folding forward until your forehead rests on the mat.
- Unclasp your hands, and allow them to rest on the ﬂoor, palms up. Focus on your breathing. Hold this position for several minutes.
YOGA POSES FOR RELAXATION #3: STANDING ARM STRETCHES
This series of postures are good for those who want to improve the harmony between their breathing and movement. It is also valuable for the stretch it gives across the shoulders and along the spine.
- Stand with your feet together, and interlock your ﬁngers. Place your hands on your chest, palms down. Feel the movement of your chest as you breathe.
- Breathe in, stretching out your arms, with ﬁngers interlocked but palms now facing out. Exhale to bring your arms back to your chest.
- Repeat the movement in step 2, but this time extend your arms up at an angle of 45 degrees. Inhale on extension, and exhale on return.
- With the shoulders relaxed, repeat steps 1 and 2, but this time extend your arms up and lengthen your spine. Exhaling, return to the start position. Do each stretch at least ﬁve times.
YOGA POSES FOR RELAXATION #4: EASY FLOOR TWIST
This exercise is ideal for relieving tension, which it does through stretching and relaxing the spine and legs. The twisting motion across the torso also helps with the detoxiﬁcation of abdominal organs.
- Lie ﬂat on your back. Relax your shoulders, and rest your arms beside your body, palms up.
- Bring your right toes up toward your left knee. Exhale, guiding the right knee over the left leg, with the toes pressing into the left leg. Move the right arm along the ﬂoor.
- Exhale to rotate farther, trying to take your right knee to the ﬂoor. Stretch your right arm out at 90 degrees, and turn your head right. Hold for up to ten breaths. Inhale to release.
- Once back in the starting pose, repeat the exercise, this time bending the left leg. Once completed, inhale and gently reverse the movements.
YOGA POSES FOR RELAXATION #5: CHAIR TWIST
Spinal twists such as this one are easy, effective ways to bring yoga into your day-to-day routine. The Chair Twist can be practiced anywhere in just a few minutes, as long as you have a chair with a straight back. It is a good exercise for stretching the spine and releasing tension in the neck and shoulders. As with all yoga asanas, perform the exercise on both sides of the body.
- Sit sideways on the chair, with the backrest next to your right arm and your feet on the ﬂoor. Place your hands on your thighs, and relax the shoulders.
- Turn right and take the backrest with both hands, inhale, and lift your chest. Exhale, twisting from the lower back toward the rear of the chair.
- Stretching the spine up, turn the torso, shoulders, neck, and head as far right as is comfortable, and raise your right arm. Hold for several breaths.
YOGA POSES FOR RELAXATION #6: CROSSED LEG FORWARD BEND
This pose is beneﬁcial for the practitioner in several ways. Not only does it relieve tension in the lower back but it also improves digestion and helps calm the mind. Additionally, it helps with the opening of the hips and outer thighs.
- Sit cross-legged and well rooted, with your right ankle in front of the left. Hinge forward from the waist, setting your palms on the ﬂoor. Exhale and lean forward.
- Pushing down through your tailbone, stretch your torso and arms, moving your palms farther forward. As you exhale, try to move farther still. Hold for ﬁve to ten breaths before releasing.
Also Read: YOGA POSES FOR BODY TONE & STRETCH