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10 Relaxing Yoga poses for A Stress-Relieving Practice

7 min read
a woman is practicing yoga, sitting in lotus pose, yoga poses relaxing
Elyce Neuhauser post Reviewer Elyce Neuhauser post Reviewer
Verified by Elyce Neuhauser
Yoga Expert, E-RYT 500, Certified Meditation Coach

Yoga, a practice with ancient roots, is a proven method for reducing stress and enhancing relaxation. Researches “Yoga for Stress Relief in Our Body Life” by Mohana Kumara (2022) and “Role of Yoga in Stress Management” by Parshad O. (2004) demonstrate that yoga benefits both the body and mind, leading to reduced physical and mental tension. By improving muscle strength, flexibility, and blood circulation, and stabilizing the autonomic nervous system, yoga makes practitioners more resilient to stress.

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In today’s fast-paced world, finding moments of tranquility and peace can be a challenge. Your yoga practice is the perfect antidote to all of the difficulties and stressors of daily life. 

More than just physical exercise, yoga is a holistic approach to overall well-being, encompassing the mind, body, and spirit. One of the profound benefits of yoga is its ability to induce relaxation and alleviate stress. Get on your mat to discover 10 yoga poses that relieve stress and help you find your inner calm.

Practice the following 10 relaxing yoga poses to help you unwind, de-stress, and find a sense of peace. 

1. Child’s Pose (Balasana)

a woman is practicing yoga, doing Child's Pose (Balasana)_yoga poses relaxing

How to Practice:

  1. Start on your hands and knees in a Table Top Pose (Bharmanasana).
  2. Slowly lower your hips back onto your heels while extending your arms forward. You may keep the arms here, or bring them alongside your body.
  3. Rest your forehead on the mat, allowing your chest and belly to settle between your thighs.
  4. If your forehead does not touch the floor, you may place a block or cushion underneath it.
  5. Breathe slowly and deeply in the pose.

2. Easy Pose (Sukhasana)

a woman is practicing yoga, doing Easy Pose (Sukhasana)_yoga poses relaxing

How to Practice:

  1. Sit on the floor with your legs crossed. 
  2. If your hips or low back are tight, you may sit on a bolster or a firm cushion.
  3. Rest your hands on your knees with your palms facing down to ground your energy.
  4. Lengthen your spine, relax your shoulders, and soften your facial muscles. You may close your eyes if you like while in this yoga sitting position.
  5. Allow your mind to soften as you breathe deeply in this posture.

3. Happy Baby Pose (Ananda Balasana)

a woman is practicing yoga, doing Happy Baby Pose (Ananda Balasana)_yoga poses relaxing

How to Practice:

  1. Lie on the ground with your knees into your chest.
  2. Keeping your feet together, part your knees out to the sides, and slide your hands down to your shins, ankles, or feet.
  3. Separate your feet, keeping them flexed, and position them over the knees, as best as you can.
  4. Use your elbows to press the thighs open and lengthen your tailbone towards the floor, gently rocking side to side.

4. Legs Up the Wall Pose (Viparita Karani)

a woman is practicing yoga, doing Legs Up the Wall Pose (Viparita Karani)_yoga poses relaxing

How to Practice:

  1. Sit with your left hip against a wall and bend your knees.
  2. Swivel yourself around to lie on your back, extending your legs up the wall.
  3. If your hamstrings are tight, keep your seat further away from the wall, with your legs on the diagonal. If you are more flexible, you may bring yourself a bit closer to the wall. Allow your arms to rest by your sides, or place one hand on the chest, and the other on your belly.
  4. Soften or close your eyes, relax your entire body, and breathe deeply in the pose for up to 10 minutes.

Tip: Use a pillow or a yoga bolster to stretch your back and improve blood circulation even more. Learn how to use a yoga bolster.

5. Shoulder Bridge (Setu Bandha Sarvangasana, variation)

a woman is practicing yoga, doing Shoulder Bridge (Setu Bandha Sarvangasana, variation)_yoga poses relaxing

How to Practice:

  1. Lie on your back with your knees bent and arms by your sides.
  2. Lift your hips up and place a block underneath your pelvis, then lower yourself down so that your sacrum rests on the block. 
  3. Keep your arms down by your sides and let your whole body relax, as the weight of your pelvis sinks into the block.
  4. Breathe smoothly and deeply for several breaths. When you are ready to exit, lift your hips up first, then remove the block before lowering yourself down onto the ground.

6. Standing Forward Fold (Uttanasana)

a woman is practicing yoga, doing Standing Forward Fold (Uttanasana)_yoga poses relaxing

How to Practice:

  1. Stand in Mountain Pose (Tadasana) with your feet hip-width apart and fold forward at your hips.
  2. Let your upper body drape over your legs, allowing your head and neck to be heavy and relaxed.
  3. Bend your knees slightly to release any tension in your lower back.
  4. For a deeper variation, take hold of your opposite elbows with your hands and add a gentle sway side to side as you allow gravity to increase the tractioning between bones of the spine.
  5. When you are ready to exit, roll yourself up slowly, taking several breaths to come back to standing.

7. Reclined Bound Angle Pose (Supta Baddha Konasana)

a woman is practicing yoga, doing Reclined Bound Angle Pose (Supta Baddha Konasana)_yoga poses relaxing

How to Practice:

  1. Lie on your back with your legs together, knees bent, and feet flat on the ground.
  2. Allow your knees to fall out to the sides, keeping the soles of the feet together, forming a diamond shape with your legs.
  3. Rest your arms on the ground, or place one hand on your chest and the other on your belly. , Soften your eyes, allowing them to close if you’d like.

8. Supine Spinal Twist (Supta Matsyendrasana)

a woman is practicing yoga, doing Supine Spinal Twist (Supta Matsyendrasana)_yoga poses relaxing

How to Practice:

  1. Lie on your back with your legs together, knees bent, and feet on the ground.
  2. Roll over to your right side, dropping the knees to the side and keeping your legs stacked
  3. Extend your right arm out to the side at shoulder height.
  4. Keeping your hips over to the right and the knees stacked, extend your left arm to the left. If the shoulder doesn’t come all the way to the ground, place a bolster or folded blanket underneath it. 
  5. Slowly turn your head to the left and hold the twist for a few breaths before switching sides.

9. Cat and Cow Poses (Marjaryasana and Bitilasana)

a woman is practicing yoga, doing Cat and Cow Poses (Marjaryasana and Bitilasana)_yoga poses relaxing

How to Practice:

  1. Start in Table Top Pose (Bharmanasana) with wrists under shoulders and knees under hips.
  2. Inhale as you extend your spine, draw the shoulders on your back, and soften the belly. Lengthen your tailbone and lift your head (Cow Pose).
  3. Exhale as you round your spine, lower your head, curl your tailbone under, and lift your abdominals up and in (Cat Pose).
  4. Flow between Cat and Cow Poses on the wave of your breath, moving slowly and smoothly.

10. Corpse Pose (Savasana)

a woman is practicing yoga, doing Corpse Pose (Savasana)_yoga poses relaxing

How to Practice:

  1. Lie down on your mat. You may place a bolster underneath your knees.to ease any lower back discomfort, Allow your body weight to sink down and fully ground into the space.
  2. Move your arms slightly away from the body, giving yourself lots of space to open and relax., 
  3. With every breath, give yourself permission to release deeper into the pose.

How to Make a Yoga Pose More Relaxing

While many yoga poses are naturally relaxing, there are some tips  to help you enhance their restorative effects:

Сhoose a Familiar Variation

To make your practice calming rather than challenging, opt for a variation of a pose that you’re comfortable with so that you may focus more on relaxation and less on struggling with the physical aspects of the pose.

Linger in the Pose

Instead of rushing through a sequence, hold each individual pose for 5 to 10 slow, deep breaths. This extended time encourages muscle release and deepens relaxation. Read about how long to stay in yoga poses here.

Use Props

Bolsters are firm pillows that can provide support during poses. Placing one underneath certain body parts can help muscles fully relax, enhancing relaxation and providing more comfort. You can use additional props such as folded blankets, firm cushions, or blocks as alternatives.

Bottom Line

Incorporating a regular yoga practice into your daily routine can be a powerful tool for managing stress and finding relaxation. These 10 stress-relieving yoga poses are just a starting point on your journey to tranquility. Remember, the essence of yoga is not about perfection or competition but about tuning into your body, breath, and inner self. By taking time to cultivate relaxation through yoga, you may experience a profound shift in your overall well-being.

Disclaimer This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!

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