6 Relaxing Yoga Poses For Beginners

Whether you’re an expert or beginner to yoga, these six moves will relax and revitalize your body. Below are poses demonstrated by Master Fitness & Nutrition Therapist Missi Holt and what health benefits they provide.

Child’s Pose (Balasana)


Begin by kneeling on a yoga mat or the floor. Bring your knees apart and your buttocks to your feet. Exhale and slowly rest your torso over your thighs so that your forehead touches the mat.

Health Benefits:

  • Releases tension in the back, shoulders and chest
  • Recommended if you have dizziness or fatigue
  • Helps alleviate stress and anxiety
  • Flexes the body’s internal organs and keeps them supple
  • It lengthens and stretches the spine
  • Relieves neck and lower back pain when performed with the head and torso supported
  • It gently stretches the hips, thighs and ankles
  • Normalizes circulation throughout the body
  • It stretches muscles, tendons and ligaments in the knee
  • Calms the mind and body
  • Encourages strong and steady breathing


Cat Pose (Marjariasana)


Start by kneeling on your hands and knees. Place your hands shoulder-width apart and your knees hip width apart on the floor.  Align your hands directly under your shoulders and your knees directly under your hips. Have your fingers fully spread with your middle fingers pointing straight ahead. Bring your back into a horizontal and flat starting position. Exhale and slowly press evenly into your hands as your contract your abdominal muscles up towards your spine. Lift and round your spine to the ceiling as you tuck your tailbone under and bring your chin towards your chest.  At the tope of the stretch, feel yourself gently pushing up and out of your shoulders.

Health Benefits:

  • Increases the mobility of your vertebrae
  • Releases tension in your cervical, thoracic, and lumbar spine
  • Strengthens and tones your arms and abdominal muscles
  • Stretches your back muscles and abdominal muscles as well as your neck
  • Increases circulation of the spinal fluid and massages your digestive organs
  • Teaches correct pelvic movements for forwards bends and back bends


Cow Pose (Bitilasana)


Start on your hands and knees in a “tabletop” position. Make sure your knees are set directly below your hips and your wrists, elbows and shoulders are in line and perpendicular to the floor. Center your head in a neutral position, eyes looking at the floor. Inhale and lengthen your abdominal muscles and reverse the tilt of your hips.  Lengthen the front of the torso as your gaze looks up to the ceiling and the pubic bones reach back . Reach your chest away from the waist and slide the shoulder blades down your back.  Feel your sit bones turn upwards and keep your arms long without locking your elbows.

Health Benefits:

  • Improves posture and balance
  • Strengthens and stretches the spine and neck
  • Stretches the hips, abdomen and back
  • Increases coordination
  • Massages and stimulates organs in the belly, like the kidneys and adrenal glands
  • Creates emotional balance
  • Relieves stress and calms the mind
  • Stretches the front torso and neck
  • Provides a gentle massage to the spine and belly organs

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Plank Pose (Kumbhakasana)


Begin on your hands and knees, with your wrists directly under your shoulders. Spread your fingers and press down through your forearms and hands. Do not let your chest collapse. Gaze down between your hands, lengthening the back of your neck and drawing your abdominal muscles toward your spine. Tuck your toes and step back with your feet, bringing your body and head into one straight line. Hold the pose while breathing smoothly for five breaths. If you are using the pose to build strength and stamina, hold for up to two minutes. To release, slowly lower onto your knees, then press back into Child’s Pose and rest.

Health Benefits:

  • A toned belly
  • Reduce back pain
  • Flexibility
  • Elevates mood
  • Improves balance and posture
  • Improves mental focus


Baby Cobra (Bhujangasana)


Start by lying flat on your stomach on a comfortable, level surface, preferably a yoga mat. Make sure your feet are together with the tops of them against the floor. Spread your hands on the floor under your shoulders and hug your elbows against your rib cage. Inhale slowly and deeply as you coil the chest forward and up. Feel the stability in your pelvis, thighs and tops of your feet. Imagine them rooted to the ground throughout Bhujangasana. Exhale and slowly lower chest to the mat. Continue breathing slow and deep.

Health Benefits:

  • Stretches muscles in the shoulders, chest and abdominals
  • Decreases stiffness of the lower back
  • Strengthens the arms and shoulders
  • Increases flexibility
  • Improves menstrual irregularities
  • Elevates mood
  • Firms and tones the buttocks
  • Invigorates the heart
  • Stimulates organs in the abdomen, like the kidneys
  • Relieves stress and fatigue
  • Opens the chest and helps to clear the passages of the heart and lungs
  • Improves circulation of blood and oxygen, especially throughout the spinal and pelvic regions
  • Improves digestion
  • Strengthens the spine
  • Soothes sciatica
  • Helps to ease symptoms of asthma


Bridge Pose (Setu Bandhasana)


Lie flat on your back with arms at your sides, palms down. Bend your knees and place your feet flat on the floor. Keep your feet hip width apart, parallel to each other, and as close to the buttocks as possible. Simultaneously, press your upper arms and feet into the floor and begin lifting your hips towards the ceiling. Try to distribute your weight equally on the inside and outside of your feet. Now, move your breastbone towards your chin, keeping your chin lifted only slightly as not to flatten the back of the neck. Firm your tailbone in towards the pubis and move your pubis slightly towards the belly. In order to keep the lower back extended, keep the knees over the ankles, perpendicular to the floor. Your buttocks should be firm, but not clenched. Lift your hips as high as you are able without breaking position. If you are having trouble holding posture, you can clasp your hands behind your back and firm you arms into the floor, shoulder blades shifted down along the spine. Hold this pose for 5 to 15 breaths. To come out of Bridge Pose, release on an exhalation, rolling your spine slowly down onto the floor.

Health Benefits:

  • Stretches the chest, neck, spine, and hips
  • Strengthens the back, buttocks, and hamstrings
  • Improves circulation of blood
  • Helps alleviate stress and mild depression
  • Calms the brain and central nervous system
  • Stimulates the lungs, thyroid glands, and abdominal organs
  • Improves digestion
  • Helps relieve symptoms of menopause
  • Reduces backache and headache
  • Reduces fatigue, anxiety, and insomnia
  • Rejuvenates tired legs
  • Relieves symptoms of asthma and high blood pressure
  • Therapeutic for hypertension, osteoporosis, and sinusitis

Written By Missi Holt