Skip to Content
Home > Wellness > Health Library > Stress Management: Practicing Yoga to Relax
Yoga means different things to
different people. This topic focuses on a kind of yoga called Hatha yoga.
One of the benefits of Hatha yoga is that it can relieve stress and help you
There are lots of yoga
poses you can do to help you relax. Here are a few to try. The first two yoga
poses below—the extended puppy pose and the cat cow pose—are simple to learn
and easy to do. It's best to start there if you have never done yoga before.
The other pose—the reclining bound angle pose—is a little more advanced. All of
these yoga poses can help you relax and relieve stress.
The extended puppy pose is
easy to do and is very relaxing. Try this yoga pose for a good spine stretch
Caution: If you have knee problems,
don't do this pose. Or you can talk to a certified yoga instructor about how to
modify this pose.
With the cat cow pose, you move from one position to another using your
breath to tell you when to switch positions. This pose combines breathing and
movement to help relieve stress and make the spine more flexible. Repeat the
sequence 10 to 20 times. Make sure to do the movements as you breathe in and
Caution: If you have neck problems
or an injury, keep your neck in the original position in line with your torso
instead of moving it with your spine.
For the reclining bound angle pose, you may need to use props to
get the full benefits. A prop is something you use to support different parts
of your body in a yoga pose. You can buy yoga props, such as blocks or bolsters
(large hard pillows). Or you can use items that you have at home, such as
pillows or blankets.
When you do this pose for the first time,
take the time to adjust your props so that you can completely relax when you
are in the pose. If the pose makes you tense or uncomfortable, use props. You
may want to use one or more of the following props:
Caution: Do not do this exercise
after giving birth until your doctor says it is okay. If you have knee, hip, or
shoulder problems, don't do this pose. Or you can talk to a certified yoga
instructor to find out how to modify this pose.
Other Works Consulted
Miryala R, et al. (2011). Yoga. In M Micozzi, ed., Fundamentals of Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 4th ed., pp. 482–494. St. Louis: Elsevier Saunders.
Current as of:
June 4, 2014
Patrice Burgess, MD - Family Medicine & Steven Locke, MD - Psychiatry
How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.
To learn more, visit Healthwise.org
© 1995-2014 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.
Our interactive Decision Points guide you through making key health decisions by combining medical information with your personal information.
You'll find Decision Points to help you answer questions about:
Get started learning more about your health!
Our Interactive Tools can help you make smart decisions for a healthier life. You'll find personal calculators and tools for health and fitness, lifestyle checkups, and pregnancy.
Feeling under the weather?
Use our interactive symptom checker to evaluate your symptoms and determine appropriate action or treatment.