Child’s Pose (Balasana)
Stress is one of the biggest contributors to the aging process, robbing you of precious sleep, increasing harmful inflammation, damaging your DNA, and even causing wrinkles. But yoga can be one of your best stress-busters: Studies have shown that yoga reduces markers of oxidative stress, a condition that can accelerate damage linked to aging. Yoga also improves flexibility, which deteriorates over time as the tissues that support your joints stiffen, and relieves back pain, so you move more easily.
The calming child’s pose is a resting posture that can help quiet the mind, easing stress and anxiety while gently stretching the back. It’s also good for the nervous system and lymphatic system, Kennedy notes. “It’s one of the key poses that you can come to in the middle of a class whenever you want to to relieve stress,” she says. “It’s very restorative … it’s child-like and allows us to come inward to ourselves.”

Create a support of firm pillows, blankets, or a bolster lengthwise in front of you. Lower onto your knees, placing them on either side of the support, toes together. Fold your upper body over the length of the support. Rest your forearms on the floor along the support, and turn to one side (or rest your forehead on the support—whatever is most comfortable).

Let gravity pull your legs toward the earth as you soften the lower back, and release the tailbone toward the heels. Halfway through, turn your head to the other side as the body continues to settle into the pose.

From a kneeling position, sit back on heels and open knees about hip-width. Bend forward, lowering upper body between thighs and forehead toward floor; bring arms in front of body, palms down.
Make it easier: Place a thickly folded towel or blanket between your calves and hamstrings.