Standing Forward Bend
This pose incorporates subtle swaying and breath. You’ll notice the sensation of your spine and hamstrings elongating, says Catherine Tingey, a Santa Monica, Calif.-based yoga instructor and meditation teacher.
Try her step by step:
1. Stand with your feet touching or slightly apart with your toes facing forward.
2. Bend forward from the hips and reach the top of your head toward the floor
Corpse pose may look like a nap, but it actually allows you to quiet your thoughts and feel your body melting into the floor. This position is most beneficial in a warm and quiet room, says Tingey.
To feel rested:
1. Lie on your back with your legs and arms slightly apart.
2. Bring your shoulders down away from your ears and elongate your body.
3. Close your eyes and picture your whole body relaxing. Feel how heavy the back of your body is, while the front of your body opens.
4. Maintain stillness.
Your mind will most likely be filled with thoughts, so focus on either your breath or repeating a mantra. Tingey suggests repeating silently in your head, “I let go.”
Child’s pose is a very relaxing and grounding pose, and it alleviates lower back pain, says Alexandra Pony, yoga instructor and therapist.
Follow her directions:
1. Start in a seated kneeling position and bring your big toes together while keeping your knees roughly hip-width apart.
2. Hinge from your hips, keeping your spine elongated, and gently extend your body forward to rest your lower abdomen on the inside of your quads/inner thighs.
3. Your hands can either extend out in front of you with palms facing down or behind you with palms facing up, whichever is more comfortable.
While in the pose, take a “big, beautiful Buddha belly breath in,” Pony says, and a deep exhale out to calm the body. If you want, focus on the point between your eyebrows — your third eye — to find a deeper connection within yourself and feel more grounded.
Try this pose to “restore the spine into neutral alignment, stimulate your abdominal organs, and improve digestion,” says Diamond.
Try her steps:
1. Start by lying on your back with your knees bent and up toward your chest.
2. Stretch your arms out into a T position on the floor, maintaining alignment between your elbows and shoulders.
3. Lower your knees gently to the right, up as high as your belly button, while trying to keep your left shoulder blade pressing into the floor.
4. Create length along the left side of your torso by focusing on your left hip and your left shoulder reaching in opposite directions. Your head and neck should stay where you are most comfortable.
5. After a few deep breaths, switch sides.
Supine Bound Angle
This pose gives an “amazing openness to the hips and chest, while allowing you to slow down and quiet the mind,” says Danielle Diamond, yoga instructor and founder of Xen Strength Yoga with Weights.
Her tips for reaching the proper alignment:
1. Lie on your back, or over a bolster (a cushion works too), with your knees bent and your feet touching the floor.
2. Slowly open your knees out wide, so that the soles of your feet are touching.
3. Lengthen your spine by extending your tailbone towards your heels and reaching the crown of your head in the opposite direction.
4. Place your palms, facing up, next to your hips, and soften your shoulders into the ground, away from the ears. Then soften your face, eyes, jaw, neck, and throat.
Legs Up the Wall Pose
This is a simple way to relieve tired legs and feet from a long day at work. Since it’s an inversion, this pose can “drain lymphatic fluid from the lower extremities, reduce swelling in the feet and ankles, and improve circulation,” says Chrissy Carter, YogaWorks instructor and creator of Beginning Yoga by Gaiam.
Here are her steps:
1. Lie down with your hips close to a wall and stretch your legs up towards the ceiling.
2. If you feel any strain in your hamstrings, move your pelvis a few inches away from the wall.
3. For an even more relaxing stretch, place a looped belt around the outer edges of your feet, with your feet slightly wider than hip-width apart. The belt relieves your muscles from the effort to keep your legs up, and it also gently rolls the thighs in to create more space in your lower back.