Yoga poses for relaxation & de-stress

1. Corpse Pose ( Savasana )

Corpse pose

Steps:- Lie down comfortably on your back. Keep your legs straight and at a distance of one feet from each other. Let the toes and feet point outwards. The arms should be at 45º angle from your body and palms should be facing the ceiling. Drop the shoulders to the floor and rest the head effortlessly so that there is no tension in the neck. Try being as relaxed as you can. Now shut your eyes, do not open until the entire duration of the practice of this pose. Now take slow and deep breaths through your nostrils, and as you relax try concentrating on your breath and on your body. Starting from your feet and moving upwards try ordering each and every part of your body to relax. Try telling your self eg. ” Now my feet is relaxing, it is slowly relaxing and now it is relaxed”. Try going in the order from down to top of your body like from feet, legs, hips, stomach, chest, shoulders, arms, face and finally the head. While doing so let lose your body and release any tension/stiffness in your body, relaxing it to the floor. This pose may last from 5-15 minutes. While releasing the pose, exhale from your nostrils and roll over to the right and stay in fetal position for a minute or two and then being on the right side of the body take support of your left hand and get up to sitting position.

Note- This pose is usually performed by many at the end of yoga session to relieve any stress or tension in the body and relax.

Core benefit:- This pose calms your mind and relaxes the whole body. Relieves stress, fatigue and unwanted/negative thoughts from your mind.

Other benefits:- It helps in improving mental health, stimulating blood circulation, it also improves one’s concentration level. Therapeutic application- cures insomnia and neurological problems, cures blood pressure.

2. Child’s Pose ( Balasana )

Child's pose

Steps:- Sit on your heels and knees in a kneeling position. Let your both knees be hip width apart from each other. Buttocks to be rested on your heels, the toes should be together while the heels away to form a “V”shape with your feet. Now exhale and bend forward without arching your back, lengthen your spine and touch your forehead to the floor. Your belly touching your thighs and chest touching your knees. Let your hands be straight overhead with palms facing the floor or they can be alongside your body with palms facing the ceiling. You will feel a little stretch in your shoulders. Once you are in the pose then you may inhale. Hold this pose for 4-5 minutes while breathing normally. Now slowly inhale up returning to your sitting pose by taking support of your hands.

Core benefit:- Calms the mind and releases stress and fatigue. Helps increase blood circulation in the head.

Other benefits:- Massages your abdominal organs, relieves lower back pain. Gently strengthens & stretches the muscles of thighs,ankles and hip.

3. Tree Pose ( Vriksasana )

Tree pose

Steps:- Start in a standing pose. Now bending your right knee lift your right leg so that your entire weight is balanced by your left leg. Your right knee should be facing the right. Rest the sole of the right foot flat on the inner side of the left thigh (If difficult, you can start placing it on your calf or above the knee but not on the knee). The toe of the right foot should be pointing towards the floor. Focus on a still object in front of you. Now join your both hands just the way you do your prayers. Staying in this prayer pose, inhale and raise your hands straight over your head. Hold this pose for 15-20 seconds while you breathe slowly and normally. Exhale and release the pose bringing your hands down. Repeat with other leg now.

Core benefit:- Relaxes your mind and the nervous system. Improves focus, concentration and awareness of the mind.

Other benefits:- Improves body balance, strengthens the muscles of foot,thigh, ankle. Improves body posture. Stretches the arms, shoulders, chest, inner thigh and groin.

4. Seated Forward bend pose ( Paschimottanasana )

Seated forward bend pose

Steps:- Sit on the floor with your legs together and extended straight in front of you (staff pose). Do not bend your knees. Keep your spine, neck and your head erect. Inhale raising your hands straight up over your head. Exhale to bend forward and stretch your body from the torso and hold both toes with both hands while your legs still being straight together. If it is difficult to reach to your toes due to stiffness in hamstring muscles then you can start with by holding your calves or knees or ankle. Once in pose, your head should be touching your knees and your elbows should be touching the floor. Your back should be lengthened and not arched. Stay in the pose for 1-2 minutes breathing normally. Inhale your self up to complete the pose and return to sitting pose.

Core benefit:- Calms the mind and releases stress and fatigue. Removes anxiety. Give a nice stretch to your back, legs and hamstrings.

Other benefits:- An important pose for women after delivery to reduce abdominal fat. Improves the digestion system. Very helpful for increasing height. Reduces excess fat deposition around the abdomen. Relieves menstrual pain and symptoms of menopause. Stimulates the functioning of kidneys, liver ovaries and uterus. Therapeutic application- Relieves headaches, insomnia, sciatica pain, infertility, sinusitis.

5. Happy baby Pose ( Ananda Balasana )

Happy baby pose

Step:-  Lie down on your back. Bend your knees bringing them close to your chest. Inhale to lengthen your hands through the inside of your knees and hold the outer side of each foot with your hand ( you may also use a belt passing over your sole if it is difficult for you to hold the feet with hands). Press your hips and tailbone to the mat so that they are flat, also lengthen your neck, the back of your head should touch the mat and shoulders relaxed on the mat. Widen your knees more than your torso bringing them close towards the armpits and at the same time flex your heels and let your shins be perpendicular to the mat. Slowly push your feet up into the hands/belt and at the same time try pulling the hands down so that a resistance is created. Remember that your back, hips should remain flat during this time. Hold this pose for 30-60 seconds breathing normally and deeply. To release the pose exhale bringing your legs back to the ground and hands by your side. Take few normal breathes.

Core benefit:- This pose helps in calming the mind and relieve stress. Stretches the inner groins, inner thighs, back, hamstrings.

Other benefits:- Good hip opener exercise. Releases tension in lower back. Gives strength to the shoulders and arms. Lengthens and realigns the spine.

6. Hand under foot pose ( Padahastanasana )

Hand under foot pose

Steps :- Stand straight on the mat keeping your hip width apart. Your spine, head erect and shoulders relaxed. Inhale raising your arms straight up over your head, the sides of your arms touching the ears. Exhale to bend forward from your hip joints keeping your back straight and bend the knees just a little to make your self not strain your knees. Now place your hands under your each foot with palms facing up, the toes touching your wrist. Inhale bending further in, shoulder blades relaxed downward and as you do so straighten your knees in, your chest touching the thighs and your forehead touching the knees. Hold the pose for 20-30 seconds breathing slowly and deeply. To release the pose exhale your way up by removing your hands first and then lifting the torso back to from where you started.

Core benefit:- Invigorates the nervous system. Gives a good stretch to the spine, hamstrings, arms, wrist.

Other benefits:- Massages the digestive organs. Improves digestion and helps for flat tummy. Helps increase height. Lowers the heart beat rate and increases blood circulation in the brain. Therapeutic application- cures problems related to constipation, sciatica, pain during menstrual. Removes inertia/tamas and relieves mental and physical exhaustion.

7. Downward facing dog pose ( Adho Mukha Svanasana )

Downward facing dog pose

Steps:- Start being on your four’s i.e on your hands and knees. Your knees should be under your hips and your hands a little in front of the shoulders, toes tucked inwards. Spread your fingers and palm, index finger parallel to your body. Exhale to lift your knees away from the mat. Initially one can keep their knees little bent and heels little above the ground level. Now, elongate the tailbone away from the back of pelvis and pressing in towards the pubis. Let the sitting bones be lifted towards the ceiling against this resistance. The inner legs should be drawn up into the groin. Breathe out to push the top thighs back and stretching the heels firmly down on the mat. Straighten the knees without locking them. Make the front of pelvis narrow by keeping your thighs firm and rolling the top of the thighs slightly inwards. Lengthen your arms keeping them firm without locking the elbow and press the base of index fingers into the ground so that you can lift yourself up supported from wrist to the shoulder top. Keeping the blades of the shoulder firm, widen them and get them towards the tailbone. Bring your head in between the upper arms and not letting it hang. Breathe normally and remain in this pose for 2-3 minutes. Exhale to release the pose by first getting your knees to the ground and then relaxing in Child’s pose for few minutes.

Core benefit:- Helps calm the brain. Helps in relieving mild depression, fatigue and stress. Strengthens the spine and stretches the hands, hamstrings, shoulder, calves, arches and legs. Gives strength to hands, legs and back.

Other benefits:- Energizes your body and improves digestion. Relieves headache,back pain. Therapeutic application- Insomnia, sinusitis, high blood pressure, flat feet, relieve menopause symptoms, sciatica, prevents osteoporosis.

8. Hare Pose ( Shashankasana )

Hare pose

Steps:- Sit in a kneeling position ( Vajrasana ) and place your hands on your thighs. Keep your back, neck and head straight. Inhaling raise your both hands straight up over the head. Exhaling bend forward from your hips keeping the arms and spine straight. Bend till your forehead touches the mat and your arms straight and rested on the mat, palms facing down. Your upper torso resting on the thigh. Breathe slowly and deeply with eyes closed and focus on your breathe. Relax the back, shoulders and neck. Inhale raising your upper body and arms. Exhale and return to vajrasana. Repeat for 3-4 rounds.

Core benefit:- Calms the mind and relieves depression and fatigue. Increases blood supply to brain thereby nourishing it.

Other benefit:- Improves concentration. Reduces anxiety, irritation,anger. Stimulates the reproductive organs. Gives a nice stretch to the back, shoulders and releases tension. Improves oxygen supply to lungs. Tones the waistline. Strengthens the pancreas, liver and spleen. Therapeutic application- reduces heart problems. Helps cure insomnia, mental disorder.