Alternate nostril breathing yoga move

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Alternate Nostril Breathing
This breathing technique will help you tap into the part of the brain called the insula, which is associated with cravings as well as moral intuition, creativity and empathy, says Tara Stiles, yoga instructor and author of the upcoming Yoga Cures. "I find that it really helps calm everything down, starting with the mind and continuing down through the rest of the body."

How: Sit cross-legged with your back supported either by the headboard or the back of the couch. Press your ring finger over your left nostril and inhale four counts through your right nostril. Then, close off your right nostril with your thumb so both sides of your nose are closed. Hold all the air for four counts. Release your ring finger and let all the air out of your left nostril for four counts. Reverse this pattern by inhaling through the left nostril, holding both closed and then exhaling out the right. Repeat this breathing pattern for three to five minutes—or until you're more interested in sweet dreams than sweet treats.

Photo of Tara Stiles by Beth Bischoff for Slim Calm Sexy Yoga
Pigeon yoga pose

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Pigeon Pose
Stiles says this is one of the best ways to release physical and emotional tension that builds up in the hips. When students do this pose at her New York studio, Strala Yoga, she can hear them sighing loudly in relief.

How: (If you have knee problems, you might want to skip this one.) You can do this on your bed or on the floor. Come into a low lunge with your right leg forward. Inch your right foot over toward your left hand and ease your right knee to the ground by your right hand. Rest your hips on the ground (or on a blanket) and gently lower your torso over your legs. Make a pillow with your hands and rest your forehead on them. Stay here for 10 long, deep breaths, or until you feel all the resistance melt out of your hips.

Photo of Tara Stiles by Beth Bischoff for Slim Calm Sexy Yoga
Happy baby yoga pose

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Happy Baby Pose
This is another great tension-reliever, and Stiles says the joyful rocking motion can remind you of happy moments in your past.

How: While lying on your back on the floor or the bed, hug both knees into your chest. Grab the outside edge of your right foot with your right hand, and the outside of your left foot with your left hand. The bottoms of your feet should be turned up to the ceiling. Gently lower your knees toward the ground by pulling your feet down. Rock your body from side to side. Stay here for five to 10 long, deep breaths, or until all those worst-case scenarios seem preposterous.

Photo of Tara Stiles by Beth Bischoff for Slim Calm Sexy Yoga
Knee hug hip release yoga pose

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Knee-Hug Hip Release
By opening the hips and lower back, this deceptively easy move yields great rewards. It's also possible to do discreetly in bed without waking the person or pet sleeping next to you.

How: Lie flat on your back. Hug your right knee gently into your chest. With each exhale, draw your knee closer toward your right shoulder. Stay here for five deep breaths, or until you feel ready to hug your pillow (or your partner) instead of your knee.

Photo of Tara Stiles by Beth Bischoff for Slim Calm Sexy Yoga
Lying-down easy twist yoga pose

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Lying-Down Easy Twist
"Your spine probably feels really compressed and stiff after sitting down all day," says Stiles. Use this twist to wring out the kinks.

How: From your knee hug, cross your right knee over your body toward your left hip. Reach your arms out to either side, laying your palms flat on the floor. Look over your right shoulder. Stay here for 10 long, deep breaths, or until you feel your right knee sinking heavily into the ground. Repeat with the opposite leg.

Photo of Tara Stiles by Beth Bischoff for Slim Calm Sexy Yoga
Hamstring release yoga pose

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Hamstring Release
Even those who haven't been diagnosed with restless leg syndrome know how hard it can be to fall asleep when your legs feel achy. This pose helps stretch tight hamstrings and also improves circulation.

How: Lie on your back and extend your right leg toward the ceiling. Hold on behind your calf, knee or hamstring (wherever is easiest for you). Instead of thinking about pulling the leg toward you, focus on how your exhalation releases tension in the hamstring. Stay here for 10 deep breaths, or until you no longer feel yourself resisting the stretch; then switch legs.

Photo of Tara Stiles by Beth Bischoff for Slim Calm Sexy Yoga
Legs up the wall yoga pose

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Legs up the Wall
Stiles says pointing your legs skyward improves circulation and lets the blood that's been pooling in your lower legs flow back into the rest of the body, including the brain. You'll feel the release in the backs of your legs.

How: Curl up on the floor in the fetal position with your legs tucked and your bottom close to the base of the wall. Roll onto your back and straighten your legs up toward the ceiling. Your torso should now be perpendicular to the wall, your legs resting comfortably against it. Stay here for five minutes.

Photo of Tara Stiles by Beth Bischoff for Slim Calm Sexy Yoga
Seated meditation yoga move

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Seated Meditation
Meditating, or actively observing your own thoughts, probably doesn't seem like the best idea right now, especially if that's all you've been doing for the past hour. But now that your body is feeling loose and relaxed from yoga poses, meditation can take your mind off your problems, your challenges and your fears.

How: Sit up tall with your back against a headboard, couch back or wall. Rest your palms on your thighs and close your eyes. Turn your attention to your breath. Watch your inhales come and exhales go, and settle your mind in the space between them. Begin to lengthen and deepen your inhales and exhales, setting a slow, easy pace of breathing. If a thought enters your mind, observe it like a cloud passing by and then come back to your breath. You could set a stopwatch and do this for three to five minutes, or you could continue until your thoughts start turning into dreams.

Photo of Tara Stiles by Beth Bischoff for Slim Calm Sexy Yoga
Yoga relaxation pose

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Relaxation Pose
If you've ever taken a yoga class, you know how this "passive meditation" pose can put you to sleep. The same results are likely when you try it at night.

How: Lie on your bed with the covers pulled up. You should be resting on your back with your legs about hip-width apart. Relax your arms out to your sides (or over your head) with your palms facing up. Inhale deeply through your nose and exhale all the air through your mouth. Repeat this two more times and then let your breathing return to normal. Starting at the top of your head, scan your body for places of tension or discomfort and consciously relax those areas. Release the forehead, the eyes, the nose, the cheeks...and work your way down your body, feeling like a wave of calm is flowing over you.

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Photo of Tara Stiles by Beth Bischoff for Slim Calm Sexy Yoga