Melissa Holzman Goldstein, of NJ Yoga Zone in Margate, recommends the following yoga poses as a starting point for beginners looking to relieve stress:
Forward bend - This restorative yoga pose is helpful for lower back problems or tight hamstrings. It opens the leg muscles, stretches the back, relieves tired feet and is wonderful to rest in. Forward bends also release neck tension and calm the mind.
To do a forward bend, simply sit on the floor with a bolster or blanket underneath you. Stretch your legs in front and fold as deeply as you can (without pushing yourself) towards your toes.
Child's pose - This pose stretches the hips, thighs and ankles, calms the brain, and helps relieve stress and fatigue. Child's pose also relieves back and neck pain when done with head and torso supported.
To enter into child's pose, simply come onto your hands and knees. Separate knees a little more than hips-width apart and sink into hips. Head and arms relax on the floor.
Simple supported back bend - This pose stretches the lower middle back, opens the chest and shoulders and releases stress in the neck, shoulders and back.
To begin a supported back bend, lie down on your back. Place a bolster under the lumbar area and relax in this position for up to 15 minutes.
Bound angle pose - This hip-opening pose stretches the hips, thighs, hamstrings, groins and calves.
To achieve bound-angle pose, sit with feet together and knees apart. Exhale and lower your back torso toward the floor, first leaning on your hands. Once you are leaning back on your forearms, use your hands to spread the back of your pelvis and release your lower back and upper buttocks through your tailbone. Bring your torso all the way to the floor, supporting your head and neck on a blanket roll or bolster if needed.
Corpse pose - Also referred to as "final relaxation pose," this posture provides mental and physical relief. It helps cure insomnia, anxiety, mild depression, headache and heart disease. To enter corpse pose, lie down on the floor on your back and close your eyes. Focus on your breath and stay still for up to 15 minutes.