It is widely known that practicing yoga has a multitude of health benefits for both body and mind. There are many different types of yoga, and sometimes it can be hard to know where to start. With western lifestyles being so busy, it is important that we remember to take time to relax, so we here at Good Planet have put together a list of our top 5 yoga poses for relaxation. Give them a try and tell us what you think! Have you got any other favourites?
1. Legs Up the Wall
This pose is gentle and restorative, focusing on giving your lower extremities a break while allowing more blood to flow back to your heart. You begin by lying down on your back with your hips as close to the wall (or furniture!). Slowly raise your legs to form as close to a 90 degree angle as comfortably as you can, pressing your heels up towards the ceiling. You can use a prop or accessorie, like a block, blanket, or mini bolster under your hips for higher elevation, if necessary. Allow gravity to weigh down on your hips. Relax your arms and take deep breaths.
2. Child's Pose
When children become overwhelmed, we encourage them to take a moment to calm down and collect their thoughts. We often forget that this is something we can continue to do as adults. The child's pose helps to soothe your nervous system and encourages deep and deliberate breaths, helping you return to slow rhythmic breathing. Begin by sitting on your knees with your feet underneath you. Raise your arms high and slowly bend forward, moving at the hips. Lay your hands flat and focus on your breaths when breathing out to allow stress and anxiety to melt away.
3. Reclined Spinal Twist
Twisting may sound counter-intuitive to some, but incorporating twists into your yoga practice will help relieve a lot of physical tension. This spinal twist helps relax your spin, along with several other major joints in your body. When done correctly, you will feel a release of tension in the shoulders and hips especially. Joints are not the only beneficiaries to this position either - your soft tissue will thank you too!
To do this pose, begin by lying on your back. Bend your knees, bringing them toward your chest while extending your arms to form a "T" shape. Make sure that your palms are facing up. Take a deep breath while lowering your tailbone towards the ground, and as you exhale, drop both knees down toward one direction, while turning your head gently to look the opposite direction. If necessary, you can use an accessory or prop between the knees or underneath the bottom knee for support.
Perfect for re-finding your balance in mind and body, Savasana is perhaps one of the most popular poses in restorative yoga. It rejuvenates you, allowing stress, worries, and chaos to melt away, often helping people drift off to sleep. Begin by lying down as comfortably as possible - you can use a prop or blanket under the knees to ease lower back pain. Allow your arms and shoulders to relax, close your eyes, and breathe. Some who practice this pose utilize an eye pillow and/or blanket to stay cozy and soothe strained eyes.
Images used with permission from Halfmoon Yoga.