En español | Whatever type of chronic pain you are experiencing, stress may exacerbate it. Yoga's restorative poses and breathing techniques offer relief by decreasing cortisol, which helps reduce stress.
These five poses will take between 15 and 25 minutes to do if you do them consecutively, but you can do any number of them for as long as feels good to your body. They are designed to relax the body and quiet the mind. Blankets, towels, yoga blocks or bolsters will be helpful in some or all of them.
Savasana pose. This deep relaxation pose often ends a yoga practice, but it is a useful beginning pose, too. Lie on your back on a mat with arms at your sides and legs extended. Use a flat or rolled blanket or towel under your knees or neck or both to relieve any pressure. Let all the muscles in the body relax. Concentrate on deeply and evenly inhaling and exhaling through the nose. Hold the position for 3 to 5 minutes.
Supported backbend pose. Start off by lying on your back. Use three rolled blankets or towels: one under your knees, one under your shoulder blades and one under your neck for support. With your legs extended and arms at your side, your chest will naturally rise, creating a curve in the back. Inhale and exhale through the nose, directing breath to the heart. Hold for 1 to 3 minutes.
Inversion pose. Lie on your back with knees bent and legs supported on the seat of a chair. Use a rolled towel or blanket under the calves and under the back for extra comfort. Inhale and exhale through the nose. Hold for 1 to 3 minutes.
Reclining bound angle pose. Lying on your back, bring the soles of your feet together. The knees will fall toward the mat in this gentle hip-opening position. Use rolled blankets, blocks or pillows for knee support and extra comfort. Relax the shoulders away from the ears and let your back sink into the mat. Inhale and exhale through the nose. Hold for 3 to 5 minutes.
Figure 4 pose. Lie on your back with your feet on the floor about hip-width apart. Place your left ankle at your right knee, flexing the foot. Lift the right knee toward the chest. If possible, use your arms to reach through the opening of the legs and around the back of the right thigh to bring the right knee closer to the chest. Inhale and exhale steadily through the nose. Hold for 1 to 2 minutes. Repeat on the opposite leg.
Savasana pose. Return to the relaxation pose in which you began the practice, with arms at your side and legs extended. Inhale and exhale through the nose steadily. Hold the pose for 5 minutes.
Lorrie Lynch is an executive editor for AARP Media and a certified yoga teacher.