Yoga Sequence to Melt the Tension Away
Feeling like you want to rip your hair out because of work deadlines, relationship problems, or money issues? Inhale a deep breath, take a break from your stressful life, and do this relaxing yoga sequence that's guaranteed to have you feeling a little calmer and able to tackle your tension head-on.
Wide Squat Pose
This pose will open tight hips and relieve lower back tension.
- Stand with your feet wider than hips-width distance apart. Bend your knees and squat down, trying to keep your feet parallel.
- Rest your hands on the floor in front of you and relax your head. Enjoy holding this stretch for five breaths.
Seated Heart Opener Pose
Grounded Tipover Tuck Pose
Here's a relaxing stretch for your neck and shoulders that can also help relieve headaches and drowsiness.
- From the Seated Heart Opener, lower your forehead to the floor about eight or so inches in front of your knees.
- Shift your weight forward and lift your hips off your heels. Come to rest on the crown (top) of your head and lower your clasped hands as close to the floor as you can.
- After five breaths, release your hands and sit up.
Wide Child's Pose
This is the ultimate stress-relieving pose.
- Separate your knees so they're wider than hips-width distance apart. Take a deep breath in and as you exhale, fold forward, extending your arms out in front of you.
- Turn your cheek to the floor if it's more comfortable, and stay here for five breaths.
This stretch is perfect for regulating your breath, which can help you feel more calm.
- Come onto your hands and knees. Make sure your knees are under your hips and your wrists under your shoulders. Begin in a neutral spine position, with your back flat and your abs engaged.
- As you inhale, let your belly soften, arch your back, and lift your head and tailbone. This part of the stretch is called Cow. With an exhale, round your spine up to the ceiling, pulling your abs toward your spine, and simultaneously tuck your tailbone and chin in. This part is known as Cat (think Halloween cat).
- Continue flowing back and forth from Cat to Cow, breathing deeply so as not to rush each movement. Repeat for a minute or so.
Chest opening poses like Cobra have an uplifting and joyful effect on your mood.
- Lie on your belly with your legs hips-width distance apart. Extend your arms straight out in front of you.
- As you lift your head up off the ground, begin to slowly walk your hands in, keeping your hips and thighs on the ground, but gently arching your lower back. Walk them in as far as you can, keeping your elbows slightly bent.
- Actively relax, keeping your gaze forward or lowering your head back between your shoulder blades. Stay here for five breaths, opening through the chest and abs, and then lower your torso back to the mat.
This hip opening pose is truly relaxing when you rest your torso over your front leg.
- Bring your right knee forward between your hands so your outer right leg is resting on the mat. If your hips are more open, inch your right foot away from you. Make sure your left hip is always pointing down toward the mat.
- Walk your hands out in front of you, allowing your torso to rest over your right knee. Hold here, breathing into any areas of tightness and tension for at least five breaths.
Head to Knee Pose A
Forward bends are great for calming the mind, and this variation will also stretch out tight hips and hamstrings.
- From Pigeon Pose, swing your left leg forward and place the sole of your foot against your left inner thigh, pulling your heel as close to your body as you can.
- Inhale to sit up tall and exhale as you fold your torso over your left leg. Rest your hands on the floor on either side of your leg, on your shin, or wrap your hands around your left foot.
- Stay here for five breaths, then sit up. Bend your left knee and swing your right leg back behind you, repeating Pigeon and then Head to Knee Pose A on the left side.
Seated Straddle Pose
Here's another calming forward bend variation. To make this pose even more relaxing, you can rest your torso on a stack of bolsters.
- Sit on the floor in a straddle position with three to four feet between your heels. Make sure your toes and knees are pointing straight up. Sit with a tall spine or slowly fold forward at your hips, pressing your belly button and chest forward to prevent your back from rounding.
- Either support the weight of your torso with your hands on your legs or feet, or rest them out in front of you. Hold for five breaths.
Happy Baby Pose
Aah, who could say no to this relaxing hip and lower back stretch?
- Lay flat on your back, bend both knees, and hold onto the outside edges of your flexed feet with your hands. Keep your arms on the outsides of your legs.
- Gently use your upper body strength to equally press both knees to the floor below your armpits. Try not to tense your shoulders or chest, but keep your upper body relaxed.
- Stay like this for five deep breaths.
Savasana (Corpse Pose)
Corpse Pose is the ultimate way to release and let your thoughts go.
- Lie on your back and close your eyes. In order to relax and open your body fully, extend your arms a few inches away from the body, with your palms facing up. Put about 15 to 20 inches between your heels, allowing your feet to fall open with the toes pointing out. Actively shrug your shoulder blades down toward your hips. Lengthen through the spine as much as possible, relaxing your lower back toward the floor.
- After you've found a comfortable position, stay here for a few minutes.