The Soothing Yoga Pose Variations That Provide a Stretch Where You Need It Most

Yoga itself is incredibly soothing. A simple flow will have you rolling up your mat feeling more limber and energized than you did before. And the best part about the practice is there are so many yoga pose variations you can do to engage more full-body benefits—especially in those tight and often overlooked areas that need your attention the most.

According to New York City yoga instructor Beth Cooke, some simple tips and tricks could turn you into your own masseuse. "It's a really cheap way of self-soothing the body," she says. "You don't have to spend millions of dollars at the spa. You can do it right here on your own." Start by focusing on three unexpected areas that will make you feel like a million bucks all throughout your body: your abdominal muscles, armpits, and calves.

The next time you're looking for relief, use these easy-to-follow yoga pose variations. Once you go through this flow once, you'll want to do it every day.

The most soothing yoga pose variations for full-body relief

Photo: Elena Mudd

1. Tabletop with calf massage variation

  1. Start in a tabletop position. Take your right shin and place it on top of your left calf.
  2. Roll your shin down your calf so you're rolling through the calf muscle.
  3. Keeping your shin in place, move into a child's pose, pressing your left hip slightly more to the left.
  4. Complete 5 inhales and exhales. Repeat on the opposite side.

Beth Cooke
Photo: Elena Mudd

2. Low lunge with armpit massage variation

  1. From tabletop, step your right foot forward into a low lunge.
  2. Stack your right armpit on top of your right knee; it fits like a ball in a mitt.
  3. Make a fist with your right hand and start to roll your armpit on top of the knee, which pinpoints the pressure point that helps reduce anxiety and relieve stress.
  4. Repeat on the opposite side and repeat as often as necessary.

Beth Cooke
Photo: Elena Mudd

3. Thunderbolt pose with ab massage variation

  1. Sit your hips to your heels. Take your two fists to your lower abdominal muscles and fold forward into your child's pose to massage out your abs.
  2. Stay in the pose for as long as you need, rocking your hips from side to side.

Here's how you can use your yoga practice to boost your stamina while standing still. Then try these chest-opening yoga moves that "flush out" your lungs for more open breathing.

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