You might already know that yoga has many health benefits that can contribute to your overall wellness, but do you know the specifics of your favorite exercises? Each pose brings something different to the table, contributing its own unique stress-relieving variation. Here are some of the key poses you can do to relieve stress, and how they work to ease your tension.
Child’s Pose. This pose is both restorative and calming, while giving you a moment to quiet the mind. It also helps to stretch your back, and is good for the lymphatic system and nervous system.
Bridge Pose. This exercise also helps to stretch the back while reducing stress, tension, headaches, insomnia, fatigue, anxiety, and backaches. This exercise can also help with high blood pressure. Yoga teacher Norlyk Smith, PhD, suggests placing a yoga block underneath the sacrum to create a more gentle exercise.
Standing Forward Bend. This exercise is a tremendous stretch for the hamstrings, thighs, and hips—and can help relieve stress, fatigue, and even mild depression. Just make sure to keep your knees slightly bent when performing the exercise.
Eagle Pose. This powerful pose helps to relieve stress, increase concentration and balance, and helps to open up the upper back, shoulders, and even hips. This active pose helps to reduce tension while you focus on staying balanced—allowing you to literally force the tension out.
Corpse Pose. The most relaxing pose of them all, this exercise puts you in a place of complete relaxation. Once you’re in this place of deep rest, this pose allows your body to now slow down your breathing while reducing blood pressure and quieting the nervous system.
Extended Triangle Pose. This pose can help to open up your entire body into a stretch that can help relieve stress, improve digestion, and prevent symptoms due to anxiety and osteoporosis.
Legs-Up-The-Wall Pose. According to Norlyk Smith, this pose can help to reduce stress while renewing blood and lymph drainage into the heart. The exercise can also possibly slow the aging process.
Puppy Pose. Similar to child’s pose, this exercise opens the heart while counteracting any tendency to slouch. Since this stretch sends your hips into the air, it mitigates any crouching.
Cat Pose. This pose is a soothing stretch for the lower back, and alternating between rounding and arching the back can help to release stress from the spine. Do this 10 times while inhaling and exhaling deeply. Focus on your breathing as you alternate.
Dolphin Pose. Like the downward-facing dog, this pose can help to quiet the mind while reducing stress and anxiety. Keep in mind that this pose is done with your forearms on the floor, and can help stretch the neck, shoulders, and spine.
Always consult your chiropractor or primary care physician for all your health related advice.
Image Credit: Split in Downward Dog Pose, used under a creative commons license.
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