Many people say yoga isn’t for them. But even if you’re not flexible or find it boring, there’s an easy pose out there that can benefit you in some way — and you don’t have to go to an hour long class to see results. If you sit at a desk all day, are suffering with aches and pains of any kind, or it’s hard for you to fall asleep when you’re stressed, yoga postures can be exceptionally healing and therapeutic.
Social media may make it look like yoga isn’t an accessible physical practice for everyone, but even the most basic poses offer so many health benefits for the mind and body. Whether your neck aches or you just want a way to wind down before bed, one (or all!) of the yoga pose below may be just what you’re looking for.
Note: If you’re working with an injury, consult your doctor before starting any new exercise plan.
Baby Cobra Pose
Baby Cobra Pose
Baby cobra poses lengthens and stretches the thoracic (or upper) spine. This will help with any neck and shoulder tension, as well as provide a gentle opening of the chest. This posture is also known for easing digestive distress through massaging the stomach and other digestive organs.
To practice baby cobra pose:
- Lie flat on your belly.
- Place your hands directly underneath your shoulders.
- Keeping your elbows glued to your sides and putting barely any weight on the hands, lift yourself up using the strength of your back muscles. Make sure you're not crunching your neck by extending the head up and slightly forward.
- Gaze at a point in front of you. Stay here and breathe for 5-10 breaths.
Thread The Needle Pose
Thread the Needle Pose
Thread the needle pose helps releases tension in the upper back and between the shoulder blades.
To do thread the needle pose:
- Start on all fours in a table-top position with your shoulders over wrists and hips over your knees.
- Extend your right arm up towards the ceiling, and then slide it underneath your left arm, as though you’re threading a needle. The right shoulder and the head come down to rest on the bed.
- Extend your fingers out long, and breathe into the stretch for 5-10 breaths. Repeat on the other side.
Supine Spinal Twist
Reclined Supine Twist
Twists encourage a happy spine and organs. The reclined supine twist benefits the digestive system by massaging the colon and digestive tract, while also elongating the muscles along the side body to give you a good shoulder, glute, hip, and back stretch all at the same time!
To practice a reclined supine twist:
- Lay flat on your back with knees bent, and feet planted on the bed.
- Extend your left leg long down the bed. Bring your right knee into your chest using your arms to pull it towards you.
- Gently lower your bent right leg over to the left side so your right knee is touching the bed.
- Place your left hand on your right knee, and extend your right arm out beside you, palm facing the ceiling.
- Feel your right shoulder grounding towards the bed as you breathe deeply. Hold for 5-10 breaths. Repeat on the other side.
Seated Forward Fold Assisted
Seated Forward Fold
Forward folds release tension and stretch the muscles all the way from the heels of the feet into the upper spine. This seated version will relax your nervous system just as you're winding down for bed.
To do a seated forward fold:
- Sit up tall with your legs stretched out long in front of you and your feet flexed (toes pointing toward the face, heels pushing forward). If you can't extend your legs straight, place a pillow or two under your knees.
- Inhale your arms up above you, feeling the rib cage expand with the breath.
- Exhale and fold forward over your legs. If you can't get very far, place a pillow or two ontop of your legs and fold onto them. Hold for 5 to 10 breaths.
One of the most soothing yoga postures, child's pose is sure to help you sink into a relaxed state before your head hits the pillow. Child’s pose releases the lower back and calms the nervous system.
To get into child's pose:
- Start in a table-top position.
- Rest your bottom down onto your heels and bow your upper body forward.
- If this is too intense, lift your bottom up and place a pillow between your legs, then fold forward. If you'd like a deeper stretch in the hips, take your knees out to the sides a bit more and then fold forward.
- Either extend your arms out in front of you or along your sides with your palms facing up.
- Rest your forehead on the bed and breathe deeply. Stay for 5-10 breaths.