We all have stress. But how we deal with it is a whole different story. The next time you need to unwind after a long day, try a few of our favorite yoga inversions, forward folds and reclining poses to help.
This simple series is suitable for beginners and seasoned practitioners. Make time for the sequence before bed or practice this at any point in the day — it’s a great way to relax your mind and body when you may be feeling tense.
Wide-Legged Forward Bend Pose (Prasarita Padottanasana)
How To: Stand up tall and walk your feet out wide. Turn your toes out slightly. Hinge at your hips and fold forward. Bring your hands to the mat directly under your shoulders. Soften your knees in order to release your head and neck. Slowly roll up to standing position.
Purpose of Pose: Stretches the muscles in the back, hamstrings and calves.
Lizard Pose (Utthan Pristhasana)
How To: Start from downward-facing dog. Step your right foot forward to a deep lunge and drop your left knee to the floor. Your feet should be far enough apart that your right foot is flat. Find a comfortable arm position, either long arms or forearms on a block. Hold for 20 deep breaths. Step back slowly to downward-facing dog. Switch legs.
Purpose of Pose: Opens the hips and hip flexors. Stretches the hamstrings and opens the shoulder and chest muscles.
Sphinx Pose (Salamba Bhujangasana)
How To: Lie flat on your stomach. Place your elbows under your shoulders, then begin to lift your chest. Draw your shoulders down your back and press your forearms down. Look forward and allow your chin to drop slightly.
Purpose of Pose: Stretches the abdominal muscles, opens the chest and shoulders and strengthens the spine.
Supported Bridge Pose (Setu Bandhasana Sarvangasana)
How To: Lie flat on your back. Plant your feet flat, hips-width apart. Press down into your feet to lift your hips. Turn a yoga block to its tallest point and slide it under your hips. Your body should feel comfortable and supported. Let your arms rest on the ground along your sides with your palms face up. Optional: Lift your arms overhead and allow them to rest next to your ears.
Purpose of Pose: Stretches the entire front-side of your body and strengthens the back.
Forward Fold Pose (Uttanasana)
How To: Stand up tall with your feet hips-width distance apart. Soften your knees and slowly fold forward. Bring your hands to opposite elbows. Allow your arms, head and neck to be very heavy. Sway side-to-side to release tension in your low back. Continue to soften your knees and slightly shift your weight forward. Slowly roll up to standing.
Purpose of Pose: Stretches the calves and hamstrings. May release tension in the head, neck and shoulders.
Reclining Bound Angle Pose (Supta Baddha Konasana)
How To: Lie flat on your back. Bring the soles of your feet together so that they touch. Bring one hand to your heart, one hand to your belly. Close your eyes. Optional: Reach your arms overhead and allow your right palm to rest in your left hand. Breathe deeply.
Purpose of Pose: Opens the hips and stretches the inner thighs. May soothe the entire body.
Legs Up the Wall Pose (Viparita Karani)
How To: Place a block horizontally under your tailbone. Allow your weight to rest on the block and extend your legs to the sky. Close your eyes.
Optional: Try this pose using a wall. Bring your tailbone flush with the baseboard. Extend your legs up the wall and allow your arms to rest by your side, palms face up.
Purpose of Pose: Stretches the legs and back. May calm the body and mind.
Corpse Pose (Savasana)
How To: Lie flat on your back. Allow your feet to gently roll open. Flip your palms face up. Roll your shoulders down your back. Allow your body to be very heavy. Close your eyes.
Purpose of Pose: May relax the body and mind.