People find their path to yoga in many ways, but one of the most common is a search for a calming force, a time to focus on the moment in a positive, restful environment while connecting with their bodies through stretching and movement.
Given the variety of yoga poses, or asanas, to choose from it’s easy to craft a sequence that helps you release the stresses of the day and week and extend your body and mind into the power of a relaxing stretch.
Here are several asanas especially good at promoting relaxation and calm in any yogi. Breathing evenly through your nose making a whooshing sound on the exhale will also promote a sense of calm. Spending one minute in each pose is ideal for relaxation, but that can be adjusted to meet your experience level and physical ability.
After a little practice, you can arrange these poses into a sequence that works for you.
Balasana (Child’s Pose)
Starting with feet on the ground shoulder-width apart, bring your palms to meet at heart center and lift your right leg, placing your right foot on your inner left thigh. Raise your palms to the sky and maintain pose for five deep breaths before slowly switching to other leg.
Bhujangasana (Cobra Pose)
Lie face down on the floor and place your hands flat on the floor near your shoulders, with your elbows bent upward. Inhale, then slowly push your shoulders and chest upward until your arms are as straight as you can make them without locking your elbows.
Marjaryasana (Cat Pose) and Bitilasana (Cow Pose)
These are usually done alternately during yoga sequences. Standing on your hands and knees, you arch your back upward for cat pose and downward for cow pose.
Setu Bandha Sarvangasana (Bridge Pose)
Lie on your back with your feet on the floor and your arms at your sides. Inhale, then lift your chest torso and hips off the ground until you form a bridge-shaped pose with your body.
Sukhasana (Easy Sitting Pose)
Sit with your legs extended in front of you, then slowly bend your knees and cross them so your right foot is under your left knee and vice versa. Hold for at least one minute and then switch your legs.
Uttana Shishosana (Extended Puppy Pose)
Stand on your hands and knees, then exhale and bring your buttocks so they are halfway to your heels. Then bring your head forward and touch your forehead to the floor, stretching your arms out on the floor in front of you.
Uttanasana (Standing Forward Bend)
Start from a standing position and bend forward at your waist as far as you can and try to touch your finger to the floor. Press your face into your legs and hold position for four to eight breaths before returning to standing position.
Viparita Karani (Legs Up the Wall Pose)
Lie on the floor near a wall. Inhale, then exhale, and move your legs so they are resting on the wall, knees bent slightly. Keep your back flat on the floor.