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How to Relax – 3 Yoga Postures to Help You Relax Between Poses

Learning how to relax is often a key reason for people taking up yoga.

Life is busy and as a yoga teacher I hear many of my students say that they are stressed and need to relax. If you don’t take time out to rest and relax chances are you could end up with serious stress related conditions such as high blood pressure, migraines or even in extreme cases suffer a heart attack.

Stress is a genuine health issue that affects lots of people in different ways. How you respond to periods of change and difficulty in your life plays a key role in determining how your stress levels are affected. When you relax you allow your body to release the build up of tension and pressure.

In yoga, there are three main ways to relax between poses, you can relax on your back, on your abdomen or curled up in the child pose. When you relax, you allow the body to rebalance and regulate which leads to your body working in a more efficient manner. Relaxation also allows the body to absorb the effect of the previous pose before you practice the next one. In this way you feel invigorated and ready to focus fully on the next pose.

Yoga relaxation works on three main levels – physical, mental and spiritual and is the most natural way to rest, relax and re-energise your mind body and spirit.

Here are the three main ways to relax between yoga poses.

1. Relax On Your Back – The Corpse Pose. This is the most traditional method of yoga relaxation. In the Corpse Pose you lie comfortably on your back with your arms at a few inches from the sides of your body, palms facing upwards. Have your legs hip distance apart and allow your ankles and toes to fall out to the side. Make sure your lower back is flat on the floor. Sometimes it helps to straighten your back by having your feet flat on the floor, knees up and then slide your buttocks as close as possible to your feet, before slowly straightening your legs back along the floor. If your back is still sore or uncomfortable, then keep your knees up with your feet flat on the floor or roll a folded up blanket and place it under your hips. Focus your awareness on your breath, breathe in and out through your nose and gently take 3 – 7 rounds of deep abdominal breathing. Just allow your body to relax and sink further into the ground with each out breath.

2. The Child Pose – Another classic yoga relaxation pose. The Child Pose helps to ease tension along your back and neck muscles as well as give a gentle stretch to the muscles around your hips. Ideal to practice, especially after more strenuous inverted poses or any backward bending postures. For the Child Pose, sit on your heels and lean forwards until your forehead touches the mat/floor. Place your arms alongside your legs and rest your hands beside your feet with your palms facing up. If this is too uncomfortable, place a small cushion between your thighs and abdomen or kneel back and separate your knees so your belly has more space to breathe. Also, if your forehead is not able to reach the ground, place one hand on top of the other and rest your forehead on the top hand. Take 3 – 7 rounds of slow deep breaths and then move onto your next pose.

3. Relax On Your Front/Abdomen. It is especially good to rest for a few rounds of steady breathing on your front, especially after practicing any backward bends done on the floor, for example, Cobra or Locust. When laying on your front, make sure you feel comfortable, have the big toes touching and ankles falling to the side. This helps the muscles in your leg to relax. Make a pillow with your hands and rest your cheek on the pillow. This helps to release any back or neck strain. Take at least 3 – 7 rounds of deep breathing as you relax and sink your body into the ground.

The beauty of these three easy yoga relaxation poses is you can practice in bed which is an ideal way to rest and unwind after a busy day at work. Have a go and let me know which pose you find most rewarding.

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