As a yogi, I appreciate a yummy yoga session. My favorite yoga classes are Yin and Restorative classes. You may not think of these classes as challenging, yet they are. These style practices are physically and mentally challenging. At times, you hold a pose for up to 10 minutes! Doesn’t sound too rough? Give it a whirl. Or, stick with the easy stuff. Below are 7 simple yoga poses that encourage you to relax your mind and body.
- Child’s pose
Begin on your hands and knees. Take a deep breath in and spread your knees wide apart and keep your toes touching. Push your hips back to rest on your knees. On your exhale, float your upper body down to rest on the ground and stretch your arms out in front of you. You may keep your arms relaxed, as seen in the image. Or keep your arms active. This posture helps relieve your lower back, which is great for those of us sitting at a desk all day. Stay here for 2 minutes.
- Toe Squat
Since yogis always love a good flow, let’s keep it moving from here. Come up to tabletop position (on your hands and knees). Curl your toes and come to kneel on your mat. Rest your bum to be balanced on top of your heels and keep your spine straight. Exhale. Inhale. This allows the feet to open up. Relax into your feet for 1 minute.
- Downward Dog
Come back onto your hands and knees and keep your toes curled under. Inhale. On your exhale, press your hips up to the air while keeping your chest down and your back flat. Keep your neck long and draw your shoulders away from your ears. If this is too much pressure on your wrists, do what I do and rest your forearms on the mat. Stay active or melt into the pose for 2 minutes.
- Forward Fold / Hanging Ragdoll
Raise your head and look between the space where your hands are. Walk, step or jump your feet to meet your hands. Stay bent over and keep a slight bend in your knees to protect your lower back. Grab opposite elbows and relax your head and neck. You may keep still in this pose or rock your arms back and forth. Hang out here for up to 3 minutes.
- Pigeon Pose
Let me start off by saying this is my favorite pose (most yogis would disagree). It’s yummy for your hips. I enjoy it. From your forward fold, you’re going to place your hands back on the mat and under your shoulders. Heel-toe your right foot towards your left wrist. Scoot your left leg back to get a proper stretch. If your hip is off the floor, grab a towel or block to help fill that gap. As you exhale, fold your upper body over your shin and lower down onto your forearms. Untuck your toes. Hold for up to 5 minutes, then switch to the other side.
- Knee Down Twist
Almost done! Come onto your back. Pull your knees into your chest and rock from side to side to release the tension in your lower back. Then lay on your back, bring your arms out to the sides in a T position. Take your right knee and bring it over to the left side of your body. Rest your left hand on your knee and take your gaze to your opposite side. Breath slowly and deeply. Repeat on the other side.
- Corpse Pose / Savasana
Hug your knees into your chest and rock slowly from side to side. Close your eyes. Open your legs and arms one at a time. Surrender any tension you have, and relax for up to 3 minutes. Roll to the right side of your body. Take a pause. Then use your arms to press yourself up to a comfortable seated position. Sit up straight, shoulders back, chest open, take a deep breath through your nose and exhale through your mouth. Open your eyes. Namaste, you are finished!