A healthy mind is as important as a healthy body. Schedule in a mini home yoga workout with these relaxing yoga poses to help you unwind.
When it comes to your health, relaxing is just as important as exercising. If you are working long hours, looking after family, and fitting in regular gym sessions, then you also need to make time to rest your body and calm your mind to keep yourself in balance. These relaxing yoga poses will help you do just that.
Did you know yoga is one of the best ways to relax and restore your mind and body. It’s suitable for all levels of fitness, you don’t need any equipment, and you can practise at a time and place that works for you. The physical poses will help to relieve stress by releasing tension from your body, and deep yogic breathing helps to take your mind and body out of fight-or-flight mode and put them into rest-and-digest mode.
Focus on the now
When you practise yoga, you are also practising mindfulness. Focusing on the present moment in each pose will help you to let go of worries and anxieties. You can then incorporate mindfulness into other areas of your life to carry your calmness with you off the yoga mat and into your day.
Creating a specific space for your moment of calm will help you to relax. You don’t need much room – just enough for a yoga mat, or for you to lie down. Get some scented candles and a plant or some flowers, and turn the space into your own little sanctuary.
Incorporate these relaxing yoga poses into your daily routine by setting aside 10 to 20 minutes at the same time every day, or if you don’t have a regular routine, then schedule your yoga time into your diary (because it’s just as important as meetings, and parents’ evenings, and other commitments).
Explore the poses in our calming routine slowly and gently, giving your body time to relax into them. Focus on taking long, deep breaths and, if any thoughts pop into your mind, be aware of them and let them pass, before bringing your awareness back to your breath.
Here are our top 4 relaxing yoga poses:
Puppy pose (uttana shishosana)
This gentle bend releases tension in your neck, shoulders, upper arms, and spine.
Step 1: Begin on all fours, with your shoulders above your wrists and your hips above your knees.
Step 2: Keeping your hips stacked directly above your knees, walk your hands forward as far as you can, allow your chest to sink toward the floor, and rest your forehead on the ground.
Step 3: Hold for 30 seconds to a minute, channelling every inhale into areas of tension, and with every exhale softening deeper into the pose as your muscles relax.
Step 4: Slowly shift your bottom to your heels and rest here for a little while before rolling up into a seated position.
Extended triangle pose (utthita trikonasana)
This is one of yoga’s foundation poses and stretches out the whole body.
Step 1: Begin by standing with your feet about three to four-feet width apart, and extend your arms out from your sides up to shoulder level (your palms should face down).
Step 2: Turn your left foot in slightly and your right foot out at 90°, turning your right thigh outward too.
Step 3: Exhale, and slowly bend your upper body from the hip to the right directly over the plane of your right leg, until your right hand touches your shin, ankle, or the floor outside of your right foot – whatever feels comfortable for you.
Step 4: Gently twist your torso to the left, stretch your left arm toward the ceiling, and turn your head to look up at your left hand.
Step 5: Hold for five deep breaths – about 30 seconds.
Step 6: Inhale to come up, pressing your back heel strongly into the floor.
Step 7: Reverse your feet and repeat on the other side.
Child’s pose (balasana)
This resting pose can help quieten the mind, easing stress and anxiety, while gently stretching out the back.
Step 1: Begin by kneeling with your legs together, sitting back on your heels.
Step 2: Exhale and lay your torso down on your thighs, resting your forehead on the floor.
Step 3: Curl your shoulders forward and let your hands rest, palms up, next to your feet.
Step 4: Feel how the weight of your shoulders pulls the shoulder blades wide across your back.
Step 5: Stay in this position for anywhere from 30 seconds to a few minutes.
Step 6: To come back up, lengthen your torso and then, with an inhale, lift from your tailbone as it presses down into your pelvis.
Happy baby pose (Ananda Balasana)
This is a pose you often see newborns embracing. It helps your hips relax, stretches your hamstrings, and gives a release to your lower back.
Step 1: Lie down on your back and hug your knees into your chest. Take hold of the outside edges of your feet and bring your knees toward your armpits.
Step 2: Keep your shoulders relaxed and release your tailbone toward the ground. Hold for 20 to 30 breaths (two to three minutes).
Step 3: Release your feet and stretch your legs out in front of you. Lie here for a couple of minutes, with your palms to the sky, to allow your body and mind to absorb the poses and leave you feeling relaxed, peaceful, and calm.