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7 Yoga Poses for Relaxation

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Between work, family, and other commitments, life can be very hectic. When your average day packs on a lot of stress, it's time to hit the yoga mat and leave the day's worries behind. Calming yourself with yoga postures for relaxation can help return your internal organs to their normal functions and help your body keep up with your life!

Yoga will also help develop strength and flexibility. While some yoga poses are also strenuous, there are many postures that calm and relax the body. They are great to do at the end of the day in order to wind down and prepare to sleep. The deep breathing and focus involved in yoga will relieve tension and stress so you can get a good night of rest.

Yoga Poses

The following yoga poses should be done in a warm room, and it helps to have a place where you know you won’t be interrupted. Focus on your breathing throughout each pose. It often helps to visualize breathing in the blue sky and breathing out the gray, helping rid your body of stress.

It's important to keep your breathing smooth and even throughout the postures. Also, never force your body into a position that doesn't feel right. If you experience pain during any of these yoga moves, it's best to stop and move on to a move that you can stay in comfortably.

Three-Part Breath

This simple breathing exercise brings your attention to the present moment, as well as calms your mind.

  1. Sit down in a comfortable position on the floor or on a chair, placing one hand on your belly and one hand on your rib cage. Close your eyes as you take deep breaths and focus on the movements of your body as you breath in and out. Feel the lift of your belly and the expansion of your ribs on your inhalations. Notice the slight compression of your ribs and the drop of your belly as you exhale.
  2. Release your arms and focus your mind on your breath for 5-10 minutes, inhaling and exhaling fully.

Reclined Bound Angle Pose

Also referred to as Cobbler's Pose, this yoga posture stretches the hips, groin, and inner thigh muscles. It also opens the chest and improves oxygen flow while deeply relaxing the whole body.

  1. Lie on your back with your legs and arms extended.
  2. Bend your knees, bringing your heels in toward your pelvis.
  3. Press the soles of your feet together and let your knees drop open to both sides. Allow your arms to drop open at your sides, palms up.
  4. As you breathe, allow your spine to lengthen along the floor while maintaining the natural curve of the lower back.
  5. Closing your eyes, breath naturally and allow your body to feel heavy.
  6. Stay in the pose for 1-10 minutes.

Child's Pose

Child's pose is a kneeling pose that is done in many different types of classes to cool down and relax.

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  1. Kneel on your mat with the tops of your feet flat on the floor.
  2. Sit back on your heels, and slowly lean forward resting your chest on your legs and your forehead on the floor.
  3. You can place your arms on the floor by your sides so your palms are facing up., or extend the arms overhead for an added upper back stretch. If child’s pose is difficult for you, place a pillow on your thighs to support your upper body.

Standing Forward Bend

The standing forward bend uses the force of gravity to gently stretch your back, legs and shoulders.

  1. Stand with your feet together and your hands by your sides.
  2. Bend your knees slightly and distribute your weight evenly between your feet.
  3. Pull your abdominal muscles in as you bend forward at your hips and waist. Allow gravity to pull your upper body and arms toward the floor.
  4. Taking deep breaths, hold this position for 30 seconds to two minutes.
  5. Return to standing by bending your knees, and placing your hands above your knees to support your lower back as you stand up.

Easy Pose

This seated pose that provides an ideal position to focus on relaxing and emptying your mind of stress and worry.

  1. Sit on the floor Indian style—or as my daughter would put it, "criss-cross applesauce" position. Keep your legs crossed, your knees wide apart, and your feet positioned beneath the opposite legs.
  2. 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.

Triangle Pose

This pose stretches your entire body, releasing tension

  1. Standing straight with your arms by your sides and your feet together, step your right foot forward straightening it.
  2. Pivot your left foot sideways and turn your upper body toward the left. Place your right hand on your right shin or on your mat to the right of your right foot.
  3. Lift your left hand straight up towards the ceiling and look up at your fingertips.
  4. Hold this pose for 20-30 seconds, focusing on your breath. You can work up to holding the pose for 1 minute.
  5. Repeat on the opposite side.

Corpse Pose

Corpse pose, also called savasana in Sanskrit, is one of the most relaxing poses in yoga. It's a great way to end your relaxation session, or it can be used alone to regain tranquility and focus.

  1. Lie flat on your back with your feet hip-width apart and your arms slightly away from your sides, so air can circulate around your body.
  2. Roll your shoulders down and back as you lengthen your neck.
  3. Take a mental note of areas in your body that are holding tension as you take deep breaths and focus on relaxing your muscles.
  4. Remain in this position for five to 30 minutes, while trying to keep your mind empty of all distractions.

Make an Appointment to Relax

It’s often difficult to carve out time to focus on relaxing. Learning to calm your mind and body, also take practice. Make an appointment with yourself to any or all of these yoga poses for relaxation once per day. They will help you find balance, tranquility, and peace of mind.

Image: lululemon athletica

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