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Yoga is an incredibly powerful physical and mental exercise that connects our bodies with our minds. Yoga can refresh, revitalise or energise you—it is all in the pose and the mindset. After long stressful days spent at work or long weekends cooped up in the house, it’s important to take time to put aside your work and your responsibilities and allow relaxation in. These are ten of our all-time favourite yoga poses to relax and refresh our bodies and spirits.
- Child’s pose (Balasana)
Most people have heard of or done the Child’s Pose. If you haven’t, all you have to do is sit on your knees and then lay, arms outstretched on the floor. It’s one of the simplest poses and can instantly slow you down as well as stretch out your sides, arms and back. It is also said that Balasana is a great pose for the nervous and lymphatic systems.
- Cobra Pose (Bhujangasana)
The Cobra Pose is great for stretching the back and releasing any tension that you tend to carry in that region. To complete the Cobra Pose, lay on your stomach with your feet flat on the ground. Then, gently raise your upper body up on your arms. Your arms should be bent slightly at the elbow and you should feel most of the stretch in your back. The cobra pose can alleviate back pain and relieve any stress caused by pain and tension.
- Happy Baby Pose (Ananda Balasana)
Despite having a similar name, the Happy Baby Pose is different than the Child’s Pose. The Happy Baby Pose looks like a child looking at their toes for the first time, so if you don’t feel happier just doing it then you might be completing it wrong! Start by lying on your back and folding your knees up to your stomach. Then, reach up and grab your toes! The point is not to stretch out your legs as far as they can go—they should always remain bent at the knees. You should feel most of the stretch in your hamstrings. This pose will lift your spirts especially if you’ve been feeling high-strung and sad.
- Extended Triangle Pose (Utthita Trikonasana)
If you regularly do yoga, then chances are you’ve seen the Extended Triangle pose. It’s a beginner’s pose, but that doesn’t mean that masters and novices alike shouldn’t practice it. Stand flat, and then extend one foot forward until you have formed a triangle with your legs. Next, stretch your arms out as far as you can horizontally and turn your body down so that your arms are now vertical and can touch your toes. The Extended Triangle Pose stretches out the legs and the arms and releases tension in the back and shoulders. It is said that this pose may help alleviate the digestive system and anxiety disorders. If done is sequence with other poses, the Extended Triangle Pose has the power to relax and motivate you.
- Dolphin Pose
This pose is excellent for the spine, shoulders and neck. This pose can be tricky for beginners because it requires flexibility, but if practiced with patience, it can help ease pain and lead to relaxation. Begin with your feet flat on the floor. Then bend at the waist, and place your arms against the floor. Next, you want to move lower by bending your arms at the elbows. Although difficult, your legs need to be completely straight in this pose. If you can’t get it in the beginning, practice will always get you closer.
- Locust Pose (Salabhasana)
For the Locust Pose, lay on your stomach with the tops of your feet pressed flat to the mat. Then lift your torso up off the ground, creating a curve throughout your back. Then bring your arms back so they are stretched parallel to your body. For the best stretch, join your fingers together. This pose is great for stretching out your back, shoulders and arms. The Fire Lose Pose is great for working out sore muscles at the end of a long day and going into a relaxed and meditative state before rest.
- Supine Spinal Twist (Jathara Parivartanasana)
Lay flat on your back, then chose a bent knee and cross it over the other leg. Your legs should be turned to the side, stretching out one hamstring at a time, while your torso lays flat, parallel to the ceiling (or sky!). The Supine Spinal Twist is a great pose for stretching your legs and hips. It’s great for people who have sedentary work days, as sitting can put a lot of harmful pressure on the hips. It’s important to stretch them out and work out any tension after a long day of answering calls, working from the computer or driving the car.
- Cat Pose (Marjaryasana)
The Cat Pose, another beginner’s pose, is necessary for relaxation. Start off on your knees with your palms pressed to the floor. Then, curl your back upwards like a stretching cat. In this pose you should alternate between curled and straight. It feels great on the stomach and is beneficial if you are ever feeling stomach pain. You also get a bit of a stretch in the back, the arms and the shoulders. This stretch shouldn’t strain, but relieve pain.
- Fire Log Pose (Agnistambhasana)
The Fire Log Pose (or any meditative pose) can be done near the beginning or end of a routine, but it’s necessary for achieving peace and relaxation. A meditative pose can help relieve feelings of anxiety and stress. To complete this pose, sit crisscross, but with one leg resting atop the other as it they were stacked pieces of firewood. Then press your palms together (like fire) and meditate for a while. The Fire Log Pose helps stretch out the hips and leads us into a calmer state.
- Corpse Pose (Savasana)
Many yoga instructors end their classes with the Corpse Pose because it is the most relaxing yoga pose there is. All you have to do is lay flat on your back and practice your breathing. You should stay in this pose for a few minutes to meditate and relax. Some people even fall asleep in this pose because it’s so relaxing!
Yoga is one of the most relaxing and therapeutic forms of exercise. It’s important to get your daily exercise every day, so why not do it through yoga? Yoga, and these poses in particular, give us the power to relax and alleviate stress, burden and feelings of anxiety and depression. After a long day of work, play some relaxing instrumental music and light your favourite candle—yoga is the best way to relax and unwind from our daily stressors.
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