Constantly being ‘on the go’ can play havoc with our mind and body. We need to make time to rest. Helen Krag shares how to unwind with relaxing yoga poses.
When we are in a heightened state of stress and ‘busy-ness’ some of our bodily processes, such as digestion, may be de-prioritised. Our natural balance is disrupted and we start to feel out of whack.
It is only when we move into stillness, truly pause in our lives, that we can tune in and restore the equilibrium.
“Many of us have been running all our lives. Practice stopping.”
Thich Nhat Hanh
‘Relaxing’ – both in terms of what it is to feel relaxed, and what it takes to release us into a state of relaxation – is different for different people.
For many, the ‘relaxation’ segment at the end of a yoga class may be the most challenging aspect. The invitation is to ‘let go’, yet all too often we find ourselves grappling with a busy mind or clinging on to tension in the body.
In this article we explore the most relaxing yoga poses to bring us to stillness and enable us to unwind, letting go of tension.
COMBINE RELAXING YOGA POSES WITH A RESTFUL FOCUS
We may have learned as children that sitting still is a challenging thing to do. The temptation to fidget can be overwhelming!
Even as adults, the moment we attempt to sit down and rest is often the very moment we remember that important chore we had forgotten to do! So, it can be helpful to focus on something else to ease us into relaxation.
Here are three relaxing yoga poses, each combined with a short practice, to help us come to stillness:
- Effortless Rest Pose with a breathing exercise.
- Salamba Savasana (Supported Corpse Pose) with an audio such as a yoga nidra.
- Sukhasana (Easy Pose) with meditation.
Lying down on the back with the knees bent may be more comfortable on the lower back for some than in a traditional Savasana posture. Learn to breathe in the most relaxed way possible in this Relaxed Breath Practice with Naomi Absalom.
Savasana calms the brain, invites introspection and quietens down the nervous system.
Make sure you are warm and use props to feel completely comfortable. You may want to position a bolster under your knees or have a blanket beneath your head and neck (to the level of the shoulders).
Cover your eyes with a mask if you like.
You might listen to a Guided Rest audio …
It induces calm because it both activates the relaxation response in the body and deactivates the stress response. Despite its name, not everyone finds it ‘easy’ to sit in this position, so be sure to seat yourself on block(s) or use a cushion if you need it to ensure your spine remains upright and lengthened.
For sink-into-the-floor relaxation, take this 30-Day Ultimate Relaxation Yoga Course.
It comprises a range of relaxing yoga classes, each 20 minutes and under, across a variety of yoga styles. Expect to sleep better, boost your immune system and increase your energy and focus.
If you have more time available, these three classes with Vanessa Michielon feature a variety of relaxing yoga poses on different themes.
YOUR NEXT STEPS
You can read more about relaxing yoga poses here:
We invite you to try out some of the suggestions in this article and explore which approaches – and yoga poses – deliver true relaxation for you.
It may be different on different days. Amongst other things, yoga offers us a toolkit to tune into how we are doing, to embrace what is going on in our mind and our body, and to restore ourselves to a state of equilibrium.
The ability to relax and unwind is an important part of that balance. Which relaxing yoga poses will you try today?
Author: Helen Krag. Helen is a health and wellness enthusiast; observer of human behavioural change; yoga teacher trainee; passionate traveller; and lover of the outdoors.