Are you stressed? Maybe you have been sitting at a desk all day, chasing after your kids, or stuck in traffic. Take a deep breath. Feel better? Your body needs a break. You need a break.

According to the American Psychological Association’s 2012 Stress in America Survey, “Stress keeps more than 40 percent of adults lying awake at night. To help ensure you get the recommended seven or eight hours of shut-eye, cut back on caffeine, remove distractions such as television or computers from your bedroom and go to bed at the same time each night. Research shows that activities like yoga and relaxation exercises not only help reduce stress, but also boost immune functioning.”

That sounds like reason enough to me to get to your local yoga studio, or start your own yoga and relaxation practice in the comfort of your own home. To help you get started, I have outlined five of my favorite yoga poses to destress, release tension and calm your body.

Here’s how it works: Warm up with some Cat and Cow Poses or breathe slowly in through your nose, and out through your mouth for a few minutes to start, then try these five moves to feel a little less frazzled and relaxed. Do one pose or the series of poses when you get home from the day or when you just need a break from the bustle. Hold each pose for 3-5 minutes and end by lying on your back in dead body pose for two minutes focusing in on your breath, your body and feeling the benefits of taking time for yourself. Your body will thank you!

#1 Downward Dog on the wall


#2 Cow Face Pose (do both sides)


#3 Seated Twist (do both sides)


#4 Pigeon yoga pose on your back (do both sides)






#5 Child’s pose



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