Stress demands all of our energy. With the beginning of a new year, we’ve all got some version of “less stress” on our list of resolutions, as our bodies need a good charge after the holidays. Stress can wreak havoc to the body, including your mind, muscles and breath. Yoga gives us the tools to tune into our bodies and cope with the effects of stress.
Working with yoga poses is a
great way to properly align your mind to your body and release what’s weighing
you down. By regularly participating in yoga, you’ll improve your breathing,
restore balance and create a relaxation response in the body. Use these five
yoga poses at home when you need some immediate relief.
Helpful tips: Try incorporating a mantra as you breathe. Breathe for 10 breaths at every pose.
1. Downward Facing Dog
Downward dog is a pose that offers an all-over rejuvenating stretch. You’ll notice it’s one of the first and last poses you’ll do in a class. Since it involves the whole body, you can feel its effects from head to toe. Downward Dog stimulates the various organ systems in your body since it’s an inversion pose (where your heart is above your head). It will encourage circulation, open your chest and strengthen your posture and mind.
2. Cat/Cow Pose
These two poses provide a gentle massage of the spine and ease tension of your neck and shoulders. When practiced regularly this sequence helps develop postural awareness and balance throughout the body. If you notice any pain, place a blanket underneath your knees.
3. Corpse Pose
Corpse Pose is usually used for deep restoration at the end of any yoga class. The key is the ability to lie completely still – yet focusing and detaching from the present moment. Though it may seem like the easiest pose, Corpse Pose requires you to fully focus on breathing and releasing any worries. Stay present and aware for the complete duration of the pose and it will lead to more clarity.
4. Standing Forward Fold
Standing Forward Fold Pose can help quiet a busy mind, balance the nervous system and promote calmness. This pose focuses on straightening your spine towards your thighs. The goal is not straight legs, so this pose can even be done seated. It helps balance your mind when overstimulated and is known to help tension in your lower back, while stretching your hamstrings.
5. Child’s Pose
One of the classic resting postures, Child’s Pose calms the mind and releases tension from the neck and shoulders. You can put a pillow or a bolster underneath your head to make it even more comfortable. Make sure to release your shoulders so they’re not at your ears.