Yoga is an ideal way to relax. And you don't need to be an advanced practitioner or even someone who does yoga to perform these yoga postures for relaxation.
But you may not know which poses to perform or even what they're going to do for your body.
With that said, in this post we're going to dive right into the top yoga poses for relaxation and stress relief.
Let's get started…
1. Childs Pose
Child's pose is the perfect way to start your relaxation yoga sequence. It's a very simple pose that gives you the opportunity to stretch out your shoulders and back which are two very common areas for storing stress.
It doesn't take a lot of explaining to perform the child's pose because the picture makes it very easy to understand. I recommend starting out with at least 30 seconds in the pose and holding it longer if you're noticing the tension is still there. When holding the pose, make sure to focus on your breath, breathing into any tight areas, and just allowing yourself to relax.
This pose is exceptional at relieving pain in your shoulders, neck, back, and even your lats.
Cat-cow pose is another excellent way to release tension and pressure along your entire spinal cord. In fact, this is a great exercise to follow your child's pose.
To perform cat-cow, you simply get on all fours on your yoga mat. Make sure that your hands are placed directly beneath your shoulders and your knees are directly beneath your hips. From there, inhale as you drive your chest towards the mat in your head back and up towards the ceiling. Then exhale as you round your spine, contract your abdomen, and bring your head closer to the mat similar to a scared cat.
This is a very easy pose to perform with many benefits including building spinal strength and flexibility, building stabilizer muscles, and getting your bowels moving. You can do as many cat-cow poses as you'd like, for as long as you'd like as long as you're getting relaxation.
3. Forward Bend
Forward bend pose is one of my favorites. It's very easy to perform and works equally well for someone who's never tried yoga all the way up to the most advanced practitioners.
The standing forward bend relieves pressure along your entire spine and does wonders for tight hamstrings. Most of us work at a computer all day causing our hamstrings being in the contracted position.
Over time this leads to a distinct shortening of the hamstrings which can completely throw off your posture. By performing a forward bend and holding it for at least 30 seconds, you can begin stretching and relieving pressure in those hamstrings. Do this daily and it will help your posture as well as relieving back and neck pain.
To perform the pose simply bend at the hips and you can either put your hands on the floor or above your head holding one arm within the other so that your arms are not on the floor. Hold the pose for at least 30 seconds but you can hold it for much longer if you desire. The relaxation is exceptional and you may even notice your back cracking as the pressure releases.
4. Knees To Chest
Knees to chest is a very comforting pose. For those of us who have back pain from sitting all day or have a tight lower back in general, this pose can do wonders for relieving tension and relaxing your body.
To perform knees to chest, simply lie on your back with your arms and legs extended. From there, draw both of your knees towards your chest and clasp your arms around them. Focus on your breathing and work on bringing your knees closer and closer into your chest as your flexibility increases. You can hold this pose for any length of time that you feel comfortable.
5. Legs Up Wall Pose
Who doesn't love this pose? Legs up wall pose is an excellent way to relax and you can even read a book or watch TV while you're doing it.
One of the many benefits of this pose is not only the relaxation effect, but also the fact that by elevating your legs you can effectively drain your lymphatic system and further detoxify your body.
We recommend placing a meditation blanket under your hips to relieve pressure as well as assist in the draining of fluids. If you're someone who suffers from swelling of the legs and feet, this is an excellent way to quickly reduce the swelling.
You can hold this pose for any length of time. Just focus on your breathing and thought process to ensure optimal relaxation.
6. Sphinx Pose
Sphinx pose is another excellent pose for those with tight hips and limited spinal flexibility. The Sphinx pose is a very easy way to introduce yourself to back bends without putting a lot of pressure on your lower back.
To perform the pose, you simply lie face down on your mat with your arms at your sides. Then slowly move your hands so that they are directly beneath your shoulders. Then gently push your upper body away from the mat while keeping your hips firmly planted against your yoga mat.
You will feel a stretch in your abdomen as well as your hip flexors and lower back. Don't overdo this pose or push yourself further than a comfortable level though. It takes time to build flexibility in these areas and you don't want to risk injury.
Hold the pose for at least 30 seconds while focusing on your breathing the entire time. When finished gently lower yourself back to your yoga mat.
7. Bridge Pose
Bridge pose is an excellent way to stretch the entire front of your body as well as strengthen your back and glutes. Glute strength is important for posture and strong glutes can go a long way towards relieving pain from your entire back and shoulders.
To start the pose, lie flat on your yoga mat with your hands at your sides and your gaze toward the ceiling. From there bring your knees up and your heels to your butt.
Now push through the soles of your feet driving your hips into the air until you form a bridge. At this point you can slide a yoga block underneath your hips to relieve some of the pressure if needed. You’ll get an excellent stretch along the front of your body and be able to stay in the position without muscle fatigue since the yoga block’s supporting you.
To perform the supported bridge pose, you will need a yoga block or large cushion to place under your hips.
All of the poses on this list are excellent yoga postures for relaxation. We intentionally chose asanas that would be friendly for beginners so that anyone could perform them without needing an instructor or previous yoga experience.
You can perform any of these poses first thing in the morning before bed or even on your lunch break for quick-hit of relaxation.
One of the things that we really wanted to focus on was building spinal flexibility and releasing tension throughout your back and hips. This is critical for most of us that sit at desks all day and each of these poses can make a huge difference in both reducing pain and correcting posture.