Poses for Your Yoga Cool-Down Routine

At the end of a more intense or physically challenging 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 want to relax your body, but you'll go deeper when you're warmed up.

You can also use this routine as a cooldown after other forms of exercise. Cooldowns help prevent lightheadedness or dizziness that can occur if you workout at higher intensities but stop suddenly without allowing blood flow to return to normal.Cooldowns also help prevent or reduce muscle soreness and fatigue, flushing out lactic acid buildup.

A proper cooldown can also act as a transition between your workout and a return to your daily activities, calming you and ending the session on a relaxing note. Below is a yoga cooldown series that works to provide all of these benefits. You'll perform 8 calming and relaxing poses in a specifically designed sequence that ends with meditation.

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


Pigeon Pose

Pigeon Pose

Verywell / Ben Goldstein

Begin by taking a few minutes in pigeon pose (eka pada rajakapotasana) on each side. This movement is a hip opener combined with a forward bend. It will help to stretch your hip flexors, including the psoas.

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

Supported Bridge

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The supported bridge will help with the postural muscles, stretching, and increasing mobility of the spine and hips.

Rollover onto your back. Bend the knees and place your feet on the mat. Start with feet hip-distance apart with the big toes turned slightly in. Knees should be stacked over the heels. Reach straight arms towards the toes and allow the fingertips to touch the heels. Weight should remain rooted in the heels.

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 firmly 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

Reclined Goddess Pose (Supta Baddha Konasana)

Verywell / Ben Goldstein

Reclined goddess pose is a deeply relaxing, restorative pose that helps reduce feelings of stress and anxiety or return your body from an activated state to a more calm one post-exercise.

For supta baddha konasana pose, 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 several 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

Verywell / Ben Goldstein

To do the supine spinal twist (supta matsyendrasana), 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 both arms in a T position (perpendicular to the 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

Happy Baby Pose (Ananda Balasana)

Verywell / Ben Goldstein

For ananda balasana, 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 10 breaths.

The happy baby pose is a deeply relaxing movement that can also help relax the pelvic floor muscles.


Legs Up the Wall

Legs Up the Wall for Yoga Cool Down
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Legs up the wall pose is an easy inversion that can improve circulation, making it an excellent choice for adding to a cooldown. This pose also reduces your body's stress response which is often activated during intense workouts.

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 also try taking the legs into a wide V shape.

If there is no wall, you can do this exercise with a bolster under your butt if you like. To come out, bend the knees toward your chest and roll to one side.


Corpse Pose

Corpse Pose (Savasana)

Verywell / Ben Goldstein

Savasana is the ideal ending to any yoga routine, especially ones that are higher in intensity. This pose works to aid recovery, returning your body to a calm state and acting as a transition to return to your daily activities.

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

Easy Pose (Sukhasana)

Verywell / Ben Goldstein

After savasana is an ideal time to sit in meditation for a few minutes if you want to. Sit in sukhasana or 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.

This pose helps stretch the hips, knees, ankles, and back while providing the calming effects of meditation.

A Word From Verywell

A cooldown after a yoga routine or other workout is wise for aiding in recovery and helping you return to a calm state ready to take on the rest of your day. These 8 moves are specifically chosen and designed in a sequence to provide stretching and relaxation benefits. Try this routine after your next Hatha yoga or other workout session.

10 Sources
Verywell Fit uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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By Ann Pizer, RYT
Ann Pizer is a writer and registered yoga instructor who teaches vinyasa/flow and prenatal yoga classes.