Moms across the world have many common health challenges, depending upon which stage of motherhood they’re in. Postpartum Moms find that their body has changed, as has their posture. Nursing Moms often have achy necks and backs, while Moms of toddlers find that constant bending and lifting is taking a toll on their backs. Moms who work in a seated position for long find that they’ve become incredibly stiff, and can almost hear their bones creak! Add to this the natural consequence of advancing age and depleted calcium sources and you have the perfect recipe for stress and fatigue.
Most Moms would like to do something about all these issues, but time is one problem, while lack of direction is another. That’s why we’ve put together this list of 10 relaxing Yoga poses, specially for busy Moms like you and me. These poses are for relaxing after a hard day, or for some instant energizing when you feel exhausted.
Disclaimer: You should decide your fitness level before starting any exercise program. Please consult a doctor first if you’re pregnant, menstruating, post partum or have any kind of a health issue. If you’re a beginner, start very slow and use support like folded blankets or bolster pillows to make the poses more comfortable.
10 Relaxing Yoga Poses for Busy Moms
1. Uttanasana (Standing Forward Bend)
Flickr Stream: Yoga Mama
Benefits: Relieves stress, calms nerves, reduces anxiety, strengthens muscles of leg
Not for: Those with back problems
- Begin by standing in mountain pose. Place your hands on your hips.
- Exhaling, hinge forward from the hip. Keep your back straight as you lengthen your spine.
- Bring your finger tips to the floor, in line with the tops of your toes. If difficult, hold on to your ankles or clasp the opposite elbow as you deepen the bend. Hold the pose.
- For each exhalation, push your tailbone towards the sky and let your head hang down. Stay in this pose for a few breaths, as long as comfortable.
2. Ananda Balasana (Happy Baby Pose)
Benefits: Calms the head, stretches the groin
Not for: Pregnant women, those with weak knees
- Lie flat on your back, spine straight, arms by your side.
- Exhaling, bring your knees towards your abdomen.
- Hold the outside of either foot and bring your knees further upwards, towards your arm pits. Push your knees slightly outward
- Keeping your thighs parallel to the floor and your ankles directly above your knees,
3. Balasana (Child’s Pose)
Flickr Stream: Anne Wu
Benefits: Relieves stress, stretches the hips and thighs
Not for: Pregnant women and those with weak knees
- Kneel on the floor with your buttocks resting on your heels, back straight.
- Let your big toes touch each other while moving your knees as wide as your hips. Breathe deeply.
- On exhaling, bend forward from the hip, keeping your hips on your heels.
- Gently, bend deeper, resting your torso on your thighs. Lengthen the entire body, separating tailbone from hip bones and head from neck. If this is hard, place a support under the torso and the forehead.
- Stay in the pose for as long as you want.
4. Jathara Parivartanasana (Belly Twist)
Flickr Stream: Yoga Mama
Benefits: Stretches the back, eases stress
Not for: Those with a knee or back injury
- Lie flat on the floor with arms stretched out on either side, palms facing down.
- Lift knees to the abdomen and then drop them to the left side, with thighs parallel to arms.
- Keeping shoulders on the floor, move head to the right and look at the right hand.
- Hold pose for a few breaths, then repeat on the other side.
5. Viparita Karani (Legs up the Wall Pose)
Flickr Stream: Kellinahandbasket
Benefits: Relieves anxiety and headaches, induces sleep, has anti-ageing benefits
Not for: Menstruating women, those with eye, neck or back problems
- Place a thick folded blanket or bolster pillow about 6 inches from the wall. Sit so that your right side faces the wall.
- Swiftly, move your legs up the wall as you turn towards it, your buttocks at the base of the wall, not necessarily touching it. Make sure the pillow is supporting your back, forming a curve in your body.
- Put hands slightly out to the sides, relax the head and neck.
6. Setu Bandha Sarvangasana (Bridge Pose)
Benefits: Helps with mild depression, stretches the back and opens the chest, energizes legs and spine
Not for: Those with a neck problem
- Lie down with knees bent, feet flat on the floor. Keep heels as close to the buttocks as possible. Keep arms on the floor, by the side.
- Pressing on to the feet and arms, firm buttocks and lift hips off the floor. Lock hands together under the hips and press through them to lift hips higher till thighs are parallel to the floor.
- Press both ways, like a bridge. Press tailbone toward knees and chest towards chin as you lift the entire torso off the floor, supporting on the shoulders and feet. Hold for as long as is comfortable and slowly lower to the floor.
7. Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclining Bound Angle Pose)
Flickr Stream: Yoga Mama
Benefits: Relieves stress, energizes reproductive organs, stretches thighs and groin
Not for: Those with a hip or knee injury
- Sit on the floor with legs extended out in front. If you’re a beginner or have tight hips, sit on a thick folded blanket for support. Keep back straight.
- Exhaling, bend your knees as you use your hands to pull your feet towards your groin, letting your knees drop down on the sides. Let the knees go towards the floor as far as possible. Hold the pose for a couple of breaths.
- As you exhale, move back towards the floor, using your hands for support. Lay your back down completely, using a pillow to support your head.
- Widen the back of your hips as you press the outer thighs agains the floor on either side, knees still bent. Press your groin down and let the knees follow. You can also place supports under your knees. Hold the pose for a couple of minutes or as long as you can.
8. Paschimottanasana (Seated Forward Bend)
Benefits: Calms the mind, reduces headaches and anxiety, stretches the spine and leg muscles
Not for: Those with asthma or an upset stomach
- Sit on the floor with legs extended straight out in front of you, using a folded blanket for support if necessary.
- Press the thighs into the floor as you straighten your back and let your groin move deeper inside.
- Inhaling, hinge forward from the hips, lengthening the spine. Grasp the outer edges of the feet; use a strap if this is difficult. Breathe normally.
- With every exhale, bend forward further, so that the lower abdomen touches the thighs, followed by upper abdomen. Push elbows out to adjust the grasp and lower the torso further till the head touches the legs. Hold for as long as comfortable.
9. Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward Dog Pose)
Benefits: Instant energizer, stretches arms, shoulders, back, legs
Not for: Pregnant women, those with weak wrists, hypertension or stomach problems
- From standing, come down to the floor, resting on your hands and knees so that knees are directly under the hips. Tuck toes under.
- Raise your body upwards, extending knees, though not fully. Lift the buttocks towards the sky and stretch the arms, using the hands as anchor.
- Straighten legs, pushing heels onto the floor and lengthening the torso to form an inverted V shape. Keep head between elbows. Hold for a couple of minutes.
10. Savasana (Corpse Pose)
Benefits: Relieves stress, calms the mind, cools and relaxes the entire body
Not for: Those with a back injury
- Start in a seated position with legs extended out in front. Lean back, resting your arms on the floor.
- Lift your hips off the floor gently and gradually lower them towards the floor, settling the hips towards the tailbone.
- Let your legs stretch out in front in a neutral position, slightly apart, with feet pointing naturally outwards.
- Release the shoulders and move the head up and away from the neck. Let the arms lie at the side, angled slightly outwards.
- Let the whole body relax. Let the eyes fall back into the sockets, the tongue fall back into the throat, let the mouth open a little naturally. Release tension in all the joints. Stay for at least five minutes or longer.
Once again, we’d like to stress that if you have any, that is, any kind of injury or health issue, or are pregnant, post partum or menstruating, please consult a doctor before you attempt any of the poses. As you proceed with each pose, you need to focus entirely on the body parts involved, and ease your way into it – never force anything. Extend the stretch just a little deeper with every exhalation. With time and practice, your tight muscles will gradually loosen up, and your stiffness will disappear. As you bring mindfulness into your practice, you’ll find that your body finds it easier to relax and so do you!