5 Quick Yoga Poses to Help You Relax
If you’re coping with a lot of stress (like most people lately), you need to have some go-to outlets to help combat the flight-or-fight reaction that can put your body into adrenaline overdrive.
One proven stress relaxation technique is yoga. If you practice yoga regularly, or have even sampled a class or two, you know there are many benefits. It can improve pain, loosen tight and tense muscles, lower blood pressure, and aid with weight loss—all of which can be symptoms of too much stress.
The great thing about yoga is that a sustained practice can bring long-term benefits, but you’ll also experience an immediate sense of relaxation. If you have some of these poses in your repertoire, you can use one of them any time and any place when you feel your stress levels rising. Here are 5 quick yoga poses to help you relax, day or night.
Combine these two poses for a wonderful stretch along your spine that warms up the body and eases the back pain caused by sitting at your computer for too long.
- Get on all fours, with shoulders and wrists aligned and hips right above the knees.
- As you inhale, lift your tailbone and chest while your belly gently hangs down (like a cow). Keep your eye gaze forward, with your head lifted.
- On the exhale, move in the opposite direction. Curve the spine upward as you tuck in your belly and lower your head so your chin is down towards your neck (like a cat).
- Alternate the poses 5 times each.
2. Forward Fold
This is another great spinal stretch, and the standing position is a little more active than poses where you’re seated or lying down.
- Inhale, standing with feet under hips and sweeping your arms above your head.
- Exhale, lowering your arms and torso towards the floor while bending from the hips. The crown of your head should be pointed towards the floor and knees should be soft.
- You can modify this pose by hooking your forearms to grasp your elbows or putting your hands on the floor by your feet.
- When you’re ready, inhale, raise your arms, and come back to a standing position.
3. Happy Baby
A happy baby is the definition of stress fee. Take a cue from infants and try this pose for a mood boost.
- Lie on your back. With your tailbone on the floor, bring your knees to your chest.
- As you grasp the outside or inside of your feet with your hands, draw the knees closer to your body, with your legs at a 90-degree angle to the floor.
- If you want, you can gently rock side to side to help relieve tension.
4. Child’s Pose
Let your worries melt away as you sink into this relaxing pose on the floor.
- Move onto your knees, placing them as close to the edges of your mat as you can.
- Lengthen your spine while you are seated on your knees, then exhale, laying down with your belly and upper body between your thighs. Drop your forehead on your mat, and let your arms stretch forward in front of you, palms down. Try to extend your bottom towards your heels.
- Close your eyes and take deep, cleansing breaths, letting your body release areas of tension as you do so.
- Hold the pose as long as you need to feel deep relaxation, then gently come back to a seated position.
5. Corpse Pose
The traditional final pose of a yoga session, corpse pose induces a real state of bliss.
- Lie on your back on your mat, with your arms at your sides, palms up. If it’s not comfortable for your back, you can try laying down with knees up and feet flat on the floor.
- As you breathe in and out, close your eyes and notice the parts of your body that still feel tense. Release the tension on the exhalation, letting the floor support you.
- Take as much time as you need. Once you’ve achieved complete relaxation, gently bring movement back to your body by wiggling the fingers or toes, or stretching the legs or arms. Roll onto your side and slowly come to a seated position.