Skip the ice cream and try yoga next time you are feeling stressed. Yoga is one of the healthiest methods to naturally relieve stress. How is this possible?
The key is yoga’s emphasis on bringing attention to the mind. The breathing exercises influence practitioners to be present. Doing so, makes us more aware of our feelings to create intentions for healthy life style changes.
Relieve your stress with the following yoga poses:
Child’s pose is yoga’s traditional resting posture. It gently relaxes the muscles in front of the body while supporting the torso and chest. Child’s pose centers, soothes, and calms the brain.
How-To Perform Child’s Pose
- Begin on your hands and knees. Take a deep inhale.
- Sit back on your heels on the exhale. Spread your knees wide apart while keeping your toes touching.
- Stretch your arms out in front of you. Spread your fingers. Relax.
Modification: Place a block under your groin to relieve the pressure on your knees.
Standing Forward Fold
Forward Fold can be one of the most intimidating yoga postures. In fact, many people do not attend yoga because “they can’t touch their toes.” However, almost anyone can touch their toes. You just have to bend your knees. If you are willing to take that chance, you could be rewarded with one of the most effective stress relieving postures. Forward fold wakes up your hamstrings and soothes your mind.
How-To Perform a Standing Forward Fold
- Stand with your feet hip width apart. Bend your knees slightly.
- Keeping a flat back, lower your torso toward your legs
- Grasp your calves and curl into your legs. Bend your knees as much as necessary.
- Relax your neck.
Down Dog is one of the most widely recognized yoga poses. While performing Down Dog, you are stretching your calves, feet, back, shoulders, hands, and lengthening your arms and neck. Down Dog rejuvenates many muscles and ligaments. It also brings awareness to your breath, calming the mind.
How-To Perform Downward Dog
- Begin on your hands and knees.
- Fold your toes under and straighten your legs. Lift your hips. Your body should make an upside-down V shape.
- Firm your hands into the floor. Spread your fingers. Press your heels down.
Hip openers can bring a sense of relief to your yoga practice. Regular practice of hip openers improves your mobility, range of motion, circulation, and create an energetic shift or release. Pigeon Pose is a challenging hip opener that provides these valuable benefits.
How-To Perform Pigeon Pose
- Start in Downward Dog. Bring your right knee toward your right armpit. Rest your knee on the mat.
- Place your right foot diagonally under your body. Your foot should be near your left hip.
- Stretch your chest up. Stretch chest forward over leg and rest.
Modification: Place block under right hip.
Seated Forward Fold
Seated Forward Fold is best practiced when the body is warm. Include Seated Forward Fold after a few Vinyasa Flows to maximize the benefits. The relaxing pose stretches your back and hamstrings, along with lowering your heart rate.
How-To Perform Seated Forward Fold
- Sit on the mat with your legs extended in front of you.
- Lift your chest. Inhale your arms overhead.
- Fold over your legs with a flat back. Bend your knees as much as necessary as you grab your calves.
Modification: Hold your toes.
Eagle pose deeply challenges your concentration. Regular practice can improve your focus, therefore calm the mind and release distractions.
How-To Perform Eagle Pose
- Stand with your feet hip width apart. Lift your left leg. Wrap it around your right leg.
- Wrap your left arm under your right arm.
- Bend your right knee, sinking into a one-legged squat position. Your arms and legs should remain tightly wrapped.
- Find a point of concentration to stare at.
- Release and switch sides.
Butterfly is a wonderful grounding posture. The pose is often used in Yin practice and held for five to ten minutes. Butterfly pose can help you turn the focus inward.
How-To Perform Butterfly Pose
- Sit on the ground with legs outstretched in front of you.
- Bend your knees and pull your heels into your groin. Let your knees fall open. Touch the bottom of your feet together.
- Relax your shoulders down. Hold your feet. Inhale and exhale deeply.
Modification: Put blocks under your knees for added support.