The Most Relaxing Yoga Poses
Props make yoga poses even more relaxing.
When life gets out of control, slow down and practice some yoga. The yogic practice of breathing while you relax into your body has been shown to reduce stress notably, as written in a 2012 review of the research on stress, anxiety and yoga in Alternative Medicine Review.
All yoga poses offer benefit, but some are just more relaxing than others. Go for reclined, surrendered postures to seek out maximum serenity. Use props, including a bolster -- a cylindrical pillow -- blocks and blankets to support yourself in any of these postures.
Legs Up the Wall
Legs up the wall is a mild inversion that directs the flow of blood and fluid away from the feet and ankles. It can help reduce swelling and act a salve to legs that work hard to hold you up all day.
How To: Lie on your back with your buttocks against a blank wall. Extend your legs up the wall as you scoot as close as possible to it. Support your head with a pillow or folded blanket, or your hips with a pillow or blanket if you choose. Stay for several minutes as you take deep belly breaths.
Corpse pose is a place
Most yoga practices end in Corpse pose. It represents rebirth and gives you time to simply meditate and breath with yourself -- no distractions. Support your head with a folded blanket or place a bolster under your knees for extra support.
How To: Lie on your back on a mat. Extend your legs and arms; close your eyes. Relax into the pose for 5 minutes or longer.
The pose of the child, Balasana, stretches your back gently. It also activates your Third Eye Chakra, in the center of your forehead, which is said to increase thoughtfulness, creativity and intuition.
How To: Get onto all fours. Extend your buttocks back over your heels and your arms forward. Lower down until your forehead touches the mat. To modify, hug a bolster so that the angle of the knees isn't too aggressive or put a block under your forehead to raise the height of the floor. Breathe in Child's pose for several minutes.
Reclined twists softly massage your spine. Your hip also gets a gentle release in this pose.
How To: Lie on your back and hug both knees into the chest. Keep your head relaxed on the mat. Let your legs fall to the right side and shift your head to the left. If your legs aren't feeling relaxed, support them with a bolster so you don't have to use muscular energy to hold them up. Hold for 20 to 30 breaths; repeat on the other side.
Reclined Bound Angle opens your sacrum.
Reclined Bound Angle
Reclined Bound Angle releases your sacrum, groin and inner thighs. Place your hands in a place that feels soothing to you. Common choices include one hand on the heart, one on the belly; arms outstretched overhead; or both hands on the points of the hips.
How To: Lie on your back and bring the soles of your feet to touch. Your knees point to the sides of the room like butterfly wings. If you feel discomfort in your inner thighs, hips or groin, place a yoga block under each knee for support. For an added chest opener, place a bolster vertically behind your back to support your spine and head. Open your arms to the sides of your room to relax into the pose.
Andrea Boldt has been in the fitness industry for more than 20 years. A personal trainer, run coach, group fitness instructor and master yoga teacher, she also holds certifications in holistic and fitness nutrition.