Yoga and Stress

If you have been following our blog for a while then you will know that we are enthusiastic about promoting yoga as a great way to protect the body and relax the mind. If you are stressed out mentally then this stress can soon manifest as physical problems in your body. Regular yoga practice has been shown to relieve stress and promote a sense of calm. Not only can it help with stress but it also works to lower blood pressure, alleviate pain and can also boost feelings of happiness as it helps to combat depression and anxiety.

One of the best things about yoga is that you can practice it virtually anywhere for free! So, if you are feeling like you could really benefit from some relaxation and are ready to give yoga a try, then these poses could be just what you are looking for.

Child’s Pose

This is an incredibly simple pose. It is perfect for doing right before you go to bed and it will help to improve your sleep pattern. Simply kneel on your yoga mat (or even on your mattress if you are practicing this one immediately before bed time) with your legs together. You must then stretch forwards and down so that your chest comes to rest on your thighs and your forehead is on the floor. Make sure your shoulders are curled forwards and your hands are resting behind you with your palms facing the ceiling.

Hold this pose as you breath deeply in and out. Five breaths will be enough to feel the benefit of this pose but you can hold it for as long as you like before returning to the kneeling position.

Bridge Pose

The Bridge Pose is great for a gentle stretch that works to reduce anxiety and fatigue. This pose can also help to tackle headaches and insomnia. To get into this pose you simply have to lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. Your feet should be hip width apart and your arms rested down the sides of your body with your palms facing down. When you feel ready, lift your chest and also engage your thighs and buttocks to lift your hips up also.

Hold yourself in this position for five deep breaths in and out before returning to the floor.

Bound Angle Pose

To get into this yoga pose you must first sit on your mat with your legs straight out in front of you. As you exhale, bend your knees and bring your hips in towards your pelvis. Allow both of your legs to drop out on either side of your body as you press the soles of your feet together. With your heels as close to your pelvis as is comfortably possible, you can then grasp each of your big toes and lengthen your torso. Allow your thighs to move down naturally towards the floor.

Hold yourself in this position for anywhere between one and five minutes, breathing deeply in and out as you do so. Not only is this pose great for alleviating anxiety and stress, but it also stimulates your organs and helps to improve circulation.

Practicing these yoga poses every day will not only help with your stress issues but will also help to keep your body healthy. The flow of blood will be increased around the body during your practice and your flexibility will begin to improve.

A great way to compliment your yoga practice is to also practice in regular breathing exercises. Although we are all obviously breathing all the time, very few of us actually pay much attention to this process. We also generally do not fully engage our lungs when we do so.

Paying full attention to your breathing is a great way to bring your focus solely to this one task, therefore sounding out any other thoughts that may be crowding your mind.

A very simple breathing technique to get started with is to breathe in for four seconds, hold for five seconds and then breathe out for six seconds. Repeat this process several times until you begin to feel much more peaceful and relaxed. This is an especially useful technique to call upon if you are struggling to get to sleep. As you breathe in, focus on bringing your breath right down into the bottom of your lungs and then making sure you fully expel all of this air on the breath out.

You can call upon this breathing technique to help calm you down at any moment and it is so subtle that nobody will even notice that you are doing it! Perfect for those particular moment of stress in the office or in the car with the kids!

References

1) http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/simple-yoga-poses-for-stress-relief_us_568403b5e4b06fa688819f74?

2) http://www.yogajournal.com