Work stressing you out? Or maybe you just want to chill out and wind down after a long day? Yoga can alleviate stress and help you chill out and wind down. If you’ve never practiced yoga don’t be shy! Here are some great yoga poses for beginners from Michael Taylor to help get you started. You can even practice these beginner poses in the comfort of your own home.
1. Butterfly Pose
How-to: Sit with your knees close to your chest. Relax your knees out to either side, and gently press the bottoms of your feet together. Hold your feet or your ankles.
Tips: Lean forward slightly, so you can feel your “sit bones” on the ground. You can round over your feet to open up your back and relax your neck, or stay more upright and breathe your chest.
Benefits: Opens the hips. Calming. Deep breath in, stress out.
2. Child’s Pose
How-to: From hands and knees, untuck your toes and lower your hips back to your heels. With knees apart or together, lie your body on your thighs and rest your forehead on the ground. Arms can be straight forward on the ground, or reaching behind you for an extra shoulder release.
Tips: Before relaxing completely, press your palms into the ground with arms straight and elbows lifted, pushing your hips firmly back toward your heels. For an extra back release, breathe deeply into your whole back. Use this pose to rest between challenging poses.
Benefits: Opens hips and back. Calming.
3. Pigeon Pose
How-to: From a low lunge, lift or walk your front foot over so the ankle is behind your opposite wrist. Lower your back knee to the ground, and using your hands for support at the front of your mat, lower your front knee behind your wrist. Front shin can be parallel to the front of your mat, or angled slightly back. Walk your hands forward and come on to your forearms, or extend your arms and body out on the floor in front of you.
Tips: Before coming forward, walk your hands back so your body is vertical over your hips, breathe and press into your hands to take some weight out of your hips and roll them square to the front of your mat. Take your time coming forward, and keep the front of your body long and open.
Benefits: Opens the hips and the fronts of your upper thighs. Increases flexibility.
4. Reclining Goddess Pose
How-to: Lie down flat on your back. Lift both knees up, bringing your feet right behind your hips. Let your knees fall open to either side, bringing the bottoms of your feet together.
Tips: To get a great hip opening, it’s good to stay in this position and breathe for several minutes. If you feel some pain in your hip joints, slide blocks (or rolled up blankets) under your thighs toward your hips, picking a spot on each side where your thigh is supported and able to relax without pain.
Benefits: Opens the hips. Calming.
5. Happy Baby
How-to: Lie down on your back, and bring knees into chest. Keeping knees deeply bent, bring bottoms of feet to face upward, and hold the outsides of feet with your hands. Use the weight of your arms to release knees toward the ground.
Tips: For a deeper hip release, bring your elbows to press on the backs of your thighs just behind the knees, wrap your forearms behind your calves, and hold the outsides of your feet with your hands. Don’t use a lot of force here, just breathe and relax.
Benefits: Opens hips.
6. Corpse Pose
How-to: Lie down flat on your back. Feet can be about mat width apart, arms straight, palms up.
Tips: Relax. Follow your breath without trying to control it. Notice what’s going on in your body. Catch your thoughts as they come along and let them go.
Benefits: Good for body awareness and relaxing. Also good for noticing how persistent thinking can be.
Editor’s note: This is a guest post from MindBodyGreen.
Image: lululemon athletica