Reclining poses such as boat or raised leg pose provide safe ways for working abdominal and leg muscles. The spine and back are supported by the ground, helping to prevent strain and injury. Other cool down poses such as knees-to-chest and happy baby, stretch hips, hamstrings and tail bone, improving flexibility in the lower back and vertebrae.
Many standing poses such as hero, tree and eagle may be modified for those with back injuries or practiced as variations lying on the back. Universal twist is an example of a reclining pose combined with a twist. These may be used as a counter pose to an inversion.
Most yoga sequences will close with ten minutes in corpse pose (savasana). Lying on the back with the eyes closed helps to refresh mind and body after practice. Front or side lying poses such as crocodile or floppy fish provide similar benefits, for those with back injuries. These may be combined with breathing and meditation exercises to encourage conscious relaxation.
On this page, you will find links to articles for teaching and practicing reclining and relaxation poses. Each article includes instructions, a list of benefits, modifications and variations. Although, these are intended for certified instructors of yoga, beginner yogis will also find them useful.