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What are Some Relaxing Yoga Poses?

Mary McMahon
Updated May 17, 2024
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Yoga is a spiritual Hindu discipline which includes a set of physical poses designed to clarify the mind and bring balance to the body. Many people in the West practice yoga poses for relaxation, better fitness, and stronger bodies. After a long and tiring day, doing a few relaxing yoga poses can help the practitioner feel better, and could potentially be used to warm up for a more vigorous yoga routine. Most of these relaxing yoga poses can also be done in an office, classroom, or another work environment for a quick moment of escapism and relaxation to restore your focus and clarify your mind. All of the following relaxing yoga poses are very easy to do, and will not strain your body at all, although they will stretch out sore and tired muscles.

Yoga has an assortment of sitting poses, some of which are more challenging than others. The most basic sitting pose involves sitting cross-legged with your hands palm up and on your knees. Relax your whole body into the pose, keeping your spine straight and your arms loose and relaxed. Focus on your breathing, closing your eyes if you like to further relax your body. Take long, slow, deep breaths which penetrate your whole body, and feel the breath moving into your mouth and down your spine, all the way to the bottoms of your feet. Try to take at least 10 breaths before getting up, or use this seated pose to slip into meditation.

For a slightly more challenging seated relaxing yoga pose, try the seated warrior. Kneel on the floor and then sit back onto your heels. If you are lacking in flexibility, you can place a blanket or pillow between your buttocks and heels, but if you can, relax into the pose to stretch your thighs. Keep your hands on your knees and your spine straight in this relaxing yoga pose, taking deep, even breaths and trying to keep your mind clear of whatever issues might be filling it.

The Child's pose, called balasana, is another relaxing yoga pose. To get into balasana, kneel with your feet slightly apart and fold your body downwards so that your buttocks are on your heels and your torso is in between your thighs. There are two variations of this relaxing yoga pose: in one, stretch your arms out in front of you as far as they can go. In other, fold your arms down next to your body, palms up. Relax into this pose, breathing deeply and feeling yourself sinking into the floor, for at least thirty seconds, but for up to several minutes. Balasana is frequently used during a vigorous yoga session to relax the body, stretch it, and prepare it for the next, more challenging pose.

The most relaxing yoga pose is savasana, the pose of complete relaxation, also called corpse pose. All yoga sessions close with a period of time in savasana to allow yogis to relax, stretch their bodies, reflect, and meditate briefly. While savasana is a resting pose, you should not allow yourself to fall asleep: savasana is about conscious relaxation of the body. To get into savasana, lie down on the floor on your back with your arms either stretched out, palms up, or at your side, palms up. Relax your spine and neck into the floor, imagining yourself oozing into the flooring, and take slow, deep breaths to empty your mind and relax your body. When you are ready, slowly bring yourself into a sitting position and carry on with your day, reaching for the peace of savasana during stressful moments.

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Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a WiseGeek researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Discussion Comments

By Sequoia — On May 23, 2011

@Engelbert - I can’t imagine it’d be healthy to sit in that position - I think what you're describing is the half-lotus position - for extended periods. You’ve probably noticed it makes your legs fall asleep which is caused by poor circulation. I can’t imagine it being good for your knees either. It is however good for stretching your hips so you don’t have to stop completely, just try to keep it in moderation. Remember to keep your back straight and don’t forget that breathing is equally important to yoga as the postures you sit in.

By Engelbert — On May 22, 2011

For some weird reason at a young age I started sitting in the yoga position of having one foot sitting on the opposite knee and haven’t been able to break the habit. I even do it when I’m just sitting at my computer. I don’t know if I’d call it relaxing, in fact sometimes I think it gives me bad posture, but it’s probably because my technique isn’t right. Or is it simply not healthy to sit in yoga positions for too long?

By anon21362 — On Nov 14, 2008

Thank you for writing this article. I just started doing yoga and this will really help.

Mary McMahon

Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

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