Poses for Your Yoga Cool-Down Routine

At the end of a yoga session, take the time to cool down with some hip openers, reclined twists, and passive inversions. These poses can also stand on their own when you just want to relax your body, but you'll go deeper when you're warmed up.

Props are recommended for some poses and can always be used for a more ​restorative experience.


Pigeon Pose (Eka Pada Rajakapotasana)

woman doing pigeon pose

Ben Goldstein / Model: Melissa Castro Schmidt

Begin by taking a long pigeon on each side. Start with the right leg forward. Be sure to prop yourself with a blanket or block under the right glute if it doesn't come to the floor on its own. It's important to feel supported here so you can be comfortable and relaxed.

Come into a forward fold, letting the weight of your torso rest on your front leg. You can undulate up and down a few times before settling into the folded position. If your forearms don't reach the floor, use a block or two under them. If your forearms come to the floor easily, extend your arms and bring your forehead to the mat or a block.

Bring your attention to your hips. The left one may be higher than the right since the inclination is to roll a bit toward the right side. Try to level them out. Stay for two minutes or about twenty breaths. Then repeat the process with the left leg forward.


Supported Bridge

woman doing supported bridge pose

Photo: Ben Goldstein / Model: Ana Alarcon

Roll over onto your back. Bend your knees and bring your feet flat on the floor close to your butt. Have a block nearby. On the inhalation, lift your hips off the floor and slide the block under your sacrum, coming into a supported bridge pose.

The block has three different possible heights, so decide how high you want it to be. Since we're cooling down, keep it comfortable. Let the sacrum rest on the block. Roll your shoulders under and stay for 10-20 breaths.

To come out, press your feet down strongly and lift your hips before removing the block and releasing your spine to the floor. Take your feet as wide as your mat and let ​your knees knock together. Stay here several breaths.


Reclined Goddess Pose (Supta Baddha Konasana)

woman doing reclined goddess pose

Photo: Ben Goldstein

Bring the soles of your feet together close in toward your butt and let your knees fall open to either side in goddess pose. There are a number of different ways to prop here.

For the most relaxing experience, bring folded blankets, a block, or a bolster under each knee if they are not close to the floor. Stay 10-20 breaths.


Supine Spinal Twist (Supta Matsyendrasana)

woman doing supine spinal twist stretch

Photo: Ben Goldstein

Straighten both legs and remove any props. Bend your right knee and draw it into your chest. Scoot your left hip to the right as you guide your right knee across your body toward the floor, coming into a supine spinal twist.

Extend your right arm perpendicular to your body and turn your head to the right. Apply gentle pressure with your left hand on your right knee. Close your eye and count 10-20 breaths. Then bring your right knee back into your chest and switch sides.


Happy Baby (Ananda Balasana)

woman doing happy baby pose

Photo: Ben Goldstein 

Bring both knees into your chest and give them a hug. Then separate your knees toward your arms pits and turn the soles of your feet toward the ceiling. Your shins will be perpendicular to the floor. You can choose to hold onto either the inside or outside of your feet, whichever feels better. This is happy baby. Gently pull your feet down. Roll a little to each side, massaging the sacrum, if that feels good. Take at least ten breaths.


Legs Up the Wall (Viparita Karani)

Legs Up the Wall for Yoga Cool Down
PeopleImages/E+/Getty Images

Move over to a wall. To come into viparita karani, lie on your right side with your knees in tight to your chest and your butt on the wall. Roll to the left and extend your legs straight up the wall. You can do this with a bolster under your butt if you like. You can also try taking the legs into a wide V shape. To come out, bend the knees toward your chest and roll to one side.


Corpse Pose (Savasana)

woman doing corpse pose

Photo: Ben Goldstein

To prepare for savasana, scoot away from the wall and lie down on your back. Separate your legs slightly and let your feet fall out to either side. Turn your palms to face upward. Make sure you are not touching anything and can relax completely. Set a timer and stay here ten minutes.


Easy Pose (Sukhasana)

woman doing easy pose

Photo: Ben Goldstein

After savasana is an ideal time to sit in meditation for a few minutes if you want to. Sit in easy pose with a folded blanket or bolster under your seat. Let your hands rest on your knees or in your lap. Close your eyes and focus on your breath. If your mind wanders, bring the attention back to your inhales and exhales. Set a timer for five or ten minutes.

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