Sunday should be a day of rest, but for many, it can get busy. In between all-important family time, entertaining the kids, supermarket shopping, preparing food for the week ahead and running errands, we can often find ourselves playing catch up or getting ready for another busy week. Erin O’Hara shows us five of the best yoga poses to help us stay zen.

Life nerve stretch

Stress makes the body become tight and rigid. Tight hamstrings and sore lower backs are one of the most common health complaints. This pose releases tension in the lower back, spine and buttocks to keep the body youthful and relaxed. Inhale centre and exhale to the side (moving side to side) to release down the back of the body for 1-3 minutes.

Life nerve stretch.
Life nerve stretch.

Mahamudra

A wonderful stretch and release down the back of the body through the hamstrings, buttocks and lower back, as well as a stretch through the quadriceps. If you have a sluggish digestive system this pose will help stimulate elimination channels as you lean forward and breathe long and deep for 1-3 minutes.

Mahamudra.
Mahamudra.

Sat kriya

A quick energy tune-up to stimulate the natural flow of energy upwards. It gives all the internal organs a gentle massage to improve digestion and overall health. This pose directly calms and balances your nervous system by creating a pulse at the belly. Try chanting "Sat" as you draw your belly in and "Nam" as you relax your belly for 1-3 minutes.

Sat kriya.
Sat kriya.

Ego eradicator

The Ego Eradicator will help you let go of tension and stress. This posture is done with "breath of fire", a quick breath. Hold the arm position then take little quick sniffs through your nose from your belly. Start with 1-3 minutes to clear your mind, let go of stress and feel full body relaxation.

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Ego eradication.
Ego eradication.

Cobra pose

Most people spend a lot of their day hunched over a computer. This is the perfect counter balance to open and relax across the chest and shoulders. It will improve the flexibility of the spine to release back tension. Hold this posture for 1-3 minutes, breathing long and deep. If your back is very tight, rest on your forearms.

Cobra pose.
Cobra pose.

Erin O'Hara is one of New Zealand's leading yoga teachers and runs two Golden Yogi studios in Takapuna.