Practice These 7 Relaxing Yoga Poses to Quickly Calm Your Body and Mind

Katie D'Onofrio
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Yogis know the benefits of a good yoga practice cannot be overstated. And with a variety of styles and yoga poses to choose from, it’s easy to find a practice that suits exactly what your needs are, whether you’re looking for relaxing yoga poses or energizing ones.

If you’re looking for energy, a sequence with lots of backbends might be ideal. When you want to get your heart pumping, a few Sun Salutations may do the trick. Most yogis know how to get their hearts racing and their bodies sweating.

But what about when you need to take your energy levels down and quiet your thoughts? Luckily, there are also yoga poses that are meant to do just that – bring you peace, stillness, and ease.
 
 

Here Are 7 Relaxing Yoga Poses to Calm Your Body and Mind:

You can practice these relaxing yoga poses as a full sequence or pick and choose a couple of postures to do the next time you need to dial it back a bit.
 

1. Baddha Konasana (Cobbler’s Pose)

Water-element-butterfly-pose

When you want more of a stretch than Easy Pose but the same amount of stillness, Cobbler’s Pose is a perfect choice.

You can customize this pose by playing with the placement of your feet – the closer your heels are to your body, the more intense the stretch will be in your hips.

Let’s try it:

  • Begin in a seat with both of your sitting bones rooting evenly into your mat
  • Lengthen your spine and reach the crown of your head up high toward the ceiling
  • Join the soles of your feet together and open your knees, encouraging them toward the mat
  • Bring your hands either to your calves or the inner arches of your feet
  • Maintain length in your back body – if you feel your back beginning to round, ease out of the pose by moving your heels farther away from your body

 

Modification: If your knees hike up away from the mat in this pose, place yoga blocks under your knees to remove the space between your knees and the mat. (If you’re practicing at home without blocks, pillows would work too!)
 

 
 

2. Prasarita Padottanasana (Wide-Legged Forward Bend)

wide leg forward fold

Inversions – postures where your heart is higher than your head – are known to be calming and relaxing yoga poses.

Let’s try it:

  • Take a wide stance standing on your mat. You can always adjust your feet later, but a good rule of thumb is to take your arms out to your sides and align your ankles underneath your wrists
  • Align the outer edges of your feet with the short edges of your mat. Another option is to turn your feet in slightly
  • Place your hands on your hips, and with a flat back, hinge forward. Maintain a long spine as you fold
  • When you’ve folded forward as far as you can, bring your hands down to the mat, yoga blocks, your ankles, or your shins – wherever they comfortably reach
  • Release tension from your head and neck, letting them hang heavy

 

Modification: If you experience low back pain, pause halfway down, maintaining a wide-legged halfway lift, while relaxing your head and neck.

Struggling with low back pain? Here are 12 Yoga Poses to Relieve Lower Back Pain (Video)
 

3. Balasana (Child’s Pose)

childs-pose-kids-yoga

This go-to relaxing yoga pose is much more than a saving grace during a sweaty Vinyasa class. It’s a time to bring your focus inward, block out any outside distractions, and reconnect with your daily intention.

Let’s try it:

  • Starting on hands and knees, sit your hips back toward your heels
  • To make this a hip opener, separate your knees to the outer edges of your mat, bring your big toes together, and extend your arms out in front of you
  • Alternatively, bring your legs together and reach your arms alongside you, reaching your hands to your feet
  • Rest your forehead on the mat
  • To stimulate your Third Eye Chakra (the space between your eyebrows), gently massage your forehead back and forth on your yoga mat

 

Modification: If your forehead doesn’t reach the mat, you can place a yoga block or blanket underneath it, or stack your palms and let your head rest there.
 

4. Parivrtta Sukhasana (Easy Seated Twist)

feel-good-yoga-sequence_seated-twists

Twists have many benefits and are particularly known for their detoxifying properties. When you enter into a twist, you are compressing some of your organs and restricting blood flow throughout the body.

Doesn’t sound good, right? It’s when you release the twist when the yoga magic happens, because your organs then receive a fresh supply of blood, increasing circulation and helping to rid the body of waste.

On an energetic level, think of twists as helping to get stagnant energy moving and flowing. On a spiritual level, allow the release of your twist to symbolize letting go of anxieties and worries that the body and mind do not need to hold onto.

Let’s try it:

  • From a cross-legged position, inhale to sweep your arms up over your head
  • As you exhale, bring your right hand to your left knee and your left hand to the mat behind you
  • Extend your left arm long to help you to sit up tall – imagine this arm functioning as a second spine
  • On your inhales, sit up taller
  • On your exhales, twist deeper
  • After a few breaths, use an inhale to return to center
  • On your next exhale, twist the other way

 

Modification: If sitting cross-legged doesn’t feel so easy, you can do this with your legs extended out long in front of you, or come down onto your back and twist from there.
 

5. Salamba Sarvangasana (Supported Bridge)

yin poses supported bridge

Bridge Pose serves as a backbend and an inversion, meaning it can be an energizing or relaxing yoga pose.

Using a prop to support you takes away much of the pose’s active component while still giving you a bit of a backbend and the benefits of an inversion.

Let’s try it:

  • Lie flat on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat to the mat, close to your sitting bones
  • Place your feet about hip-width apart and align your thighs, knees, and ankles
  • Push down through all four corners of your feet to lift your hips off of the mat and slide a yoga block under your sacrum (the top of your pelvis)
  • Rest your arms long by your sides with your palms facing the ceiling

 

Modification: If you don’t have a block, you can use some folded towels or blankets, a pillow, or a book (or a couple of books, depending on their thickness).
 

 
 

6. Pavanamuktasana (Wind-Relieving Pose)

knees-chest (Wind-Relieving Pose)

Your first instinct may be to giggle, but this relaxing yoga pose has “relief” in the name! This posture is helpful for digestion as well as – you guessed it – relieving gas.

Anxiety and nervousness can sometimes manifest as an upset stomach, so it may not hurt to relieve yourself.

Let’s try it:

  • Lie flat on your back and hug both of your knees into your chest
  • Release your left leg long to the mat, and continue hugging your right knee in
  • Switch after a few breaths, releasing your right leg and hugging your left knee in
  • Once you’ve done the left and right legs separately, bring both knees back into your chest, returning to your starting position

 

Need some more calming practices to help soothe anxiety? Try this Guided Pranayama and Mindfulness Meditation for a Calm and Peaceful Mind (Video)
 

7. Viparita Karani (Legs Up the Wall Pose)

legs-up-the-wall-pose-TLC

If you only have time to do one relaxing yoga pose on this list, let it be Legs Up the Wall Pose. This pose is beneficial for relieving anxiety and stress, as well as helpful for falling asleep.

Let’s try it:

  • Adjust your yoga mat so the short edge is parallel to the wall
  • Sit next to the wall sideways so one of your hips is against the wall (it doesn’t matter which one)
  • Swing your legs up to come onto the wall and lay your back body on the mat behind you
  • Scoot your bottom as close to the wall as you can
  • Surrender and relax here

 

Modification: You can slide a pillow, blanket, or bolster underneath your low back for support, or a pillow under your head to make this a little cozier.
 
 

Practice These 7 Relaxing Yoga Poses Any Time You Need to Unwind

Even if you’re not feeling particularly stressed or tense, it’s never a bad idea to take some time for your peace of mind.

Regularly engaging in activities – and relaxing yoga poses – that bring you ease and calmness will not only help keep tension at bay, but will also provide you with the tools to handle stressful situations that we will all inevitably face at one point or another.

And when you are at that point of anxiousness and dis-ease, sometimes the last thing you want to do is roll out your yoga mat.

But don’t let the negative mind-chatter keep you from taking part in healthy habits. These are the times it’s even more important to slow down and take this time for yourself.

Need some more relaxing yoga poses? Do These Relaxing Yoga Poses to Reduce Stress + Anxiety

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Katie D'Onofrio

Katie is a yoga instructor and writer. When teaching, she always reminds her students of the lighter side of life and yoga, while still creating a deep and meaningful practice. Aside from yoga, Katie loves reading and shopping at Trader Joe’s. She’s also the blogger behind Yoga By KT, where she talks about yoga, food, wellness, and all things in between.

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