Yoga offers a range of health benefits. Not only will it offer you some exercise, but it will help you connect with your soul. This is a calming and relaxing form of exercise but can be invigorating at the same time.
When it comes to stress relief, yoga is one of the best forms of exercise. It doesn’t just help you connect with your soul, but you can draw your mind to your life force and connect to every part of your body. You also do stretches that will unwind the muscles and improve flexibility.
Then there is the benefit of improving the circulation and air around your body. When you improve these, your brain is supported fully and can release all the right hormones. You kick the stress hormones out of your body.
You now just need to do the best yoga poses for restoring your body and getting rid of the stress. Here are seven that you need to start doing today.
Start with the Basic Child Pose
The child pose, or the balasana, is one of the easiest poses you will ever do in yoga. It’s something that anyone can do from the beginning. It’s also one of the best restorative poses.
The name of the pose comes from the look. You curl yourself up into a ball on your knees, as if a child curling up to hide themselves away from the world. If the idea of the pose doesn’t initially sound comfortable, you can always get pillows and blankets to help offer some support.
Knee down, keeping your butt on your calves and heels. You can keep your knees together if you’d like, but if you don’t find this comfortable open your legs slightly to allow your stomach to sit between your thighs. Lean forward, folding your body over the top of your thighs and stretch your arms out on the floor in front of you. Place your head on the floor, lifting your butt slightly off your heels if you need to.
There are two options for the head. You can either turn your head to one side laying it flat on the floor, oryou can place your forehead on the floor. Choose whichever is most comfortable for you.
Breathe deeply, focusing on the feeling of your legs being pulled into the earth by gravity. Allow your body to just settle into the pose, feeling the weight in your arms.
You don’t need to move onto any of the other poses if you don’t want. This is an excellent way just to break away from the world and meditate. Feel the energy flowing through your body with every breath that you take and allow the air to calm and settle your mind. Feel your back stretch. Your shoulders, arms, and chest will also stretch out, further helping to relieve the stress in your body.
Hold the position for a minute, before sitting back upright for a couple of breaths. Then return to the position for another minute, repeating the cycle until you’ve done the child pose 3-4 times.
Try the Supported Bridge Pose
The bridge is one of the most effective exercises for toning the body. It is also one of the best yoga positions for restoring balance and improving flow. When you get better balance and flow, you will relieve the stress in your body.
The supported bridge pose is also known as the setu bandha Sarvangasana. It’s one of the most common exercises when you want to re-energize the body while toning and strengthening the core.
Lay on your back with your arms by your side. Bend your knees and place the feet on the floor flat. Keep your shoulder blades in contact with the floor as you pull in the core muscles and raise your hips off the floor. Do this slowly and controlled to avoid injury. Focus on curling the tailbone upwards, lifting the hips, so there’s a straight line from chest to knees. You’ll have a triangle underneath your body.
Slide a yoga block underneath you and lower your hips onto the block. Never lie straight on the block as you run the risk of damaging your spine. As a beginner, keep the block on its lower level. As you get better at the position, you can raise the block to the highest level. You’ll eventually get to the point where you can hold the bridge pose without the support.
Allow yourself to rest in this position. It’s excellent for stretching out the back and reducing backache. You’ll also offer some exercise to the core muscles, strengthening and toning them to improve your posture. Take in deep breaths, feeling your body sink into the floor. You’ll feel the heaviness in your arms and shoulders, as the air and blood circulate your body.
This is an excellent position for those with high blood pressure. This will help to keep stress levels to a minimum and reduce your risk of health problems. You can also overcome headaches and some sleep issues.
Hold the position for up to 5 minutes and then raise your hips to remove the block. Lower your hips back to the floor. Take a few deep breaths in this position before you stand up.
Alternatively, you can hold the position for a minute, return to starting and then return to the supported bridge position. This is a cycle you’ll want to do 5 times for best results.
Place Your Legs on the Wall
The viparita Karani pose is a passive way to get rid of the stress in your body. It’s extremely simple and only requires a mat for comfort. The aim is to focus on your breathing, while the pose encourages the flow of blood around your body.
Sit on your mat with your right side against the wall. Take a few deep breaths and on your last exhale lower yourself to the floor and swing your legs up onto the wall. Keep the soles of your feet on the floor, focusing on this contact during your breathing.
You can extend the stretch by getting a block to place under your hips. This is an optional addition to the exercise. You can also use a rolled towel under your neck for support. A block can also work to place under your head.
Stretch your arms out to the sides and allow yourself to relax on the floor. You should feel the weight in your arms and body, as you sink into the mat. Push your feet into the wall, feeling the connection.
Connect with yourself deep within. Focus on your breathing and let your worries disappear. You’ll feel calmer within yourself. Your anxiety and stress will disappear the longer you stay in the pose.
Hold the pose for five minutes, meditating within yourself to become a healthier and calmer person. When you’ve finished, lift your hips to remove the block and then swing your legs back down. Sit up slowly as not to get a head rush. You can repeat the exercise if you want, but you won’t necessarily need to.
Try the Reclined Goddess Pose
Who doesn’t want to feel like a goddess? The reclined goddess pose is also known as the reclining bound angle pose and the suptabaddhakonasana. As you become more adept and flexible, you will find this pose much easier to do. Don’t push yourself too much in the first instance. While you should feel a slight stretch, you shouldn’t feel any pain during the exercise.
Lay on your back on the mat and place the soles of your feet together. Point the knees outwards and pull the heels as close to your butt as possible. Lay your arms by your side, pushing them out to a 45-degree angle with the palms up. Alternatively, you can place one hand on your chest and one on your stomach to keep yourself connected and focused on your breathing.
Close your eyes if you wish and just allow your knees to hang in place. If you can put them on the floor then great, but don’t worry if you can’t. Use blankets and cushions to help your legs relax if the stretch is too deep. Focus on how your body feels like it’s being pulled into the ground by gravity. Feel the weight in your arms and your legs.
Breathe deeply, holding the position for as long as is comfortable. This is one that you might not be able to hold for a full minute at first. 30 seconds is enough to remove the stress initially. After a few tries at the position, you will find it’s more comfortable to hold for longer.
Sit back up slowly, avoiding the head rush. Remain in a seated position for a while, taking a few deep breaths and then return to the reclining goddess pose. Repeat this cycle 3-4 times.
Move onto the Corpse Pose
The name of the pose comes from the look of your body when it’s on the floor. It is the easiest of all yoga poses and one of the most effective. It doesn’t just help to reduce stress, but will also help to ease back and neck ache. It’s good for reducing digestive pains and problems, while also rejuvenating the body. You’ll become one with body, mind, and spirit.
The savasana just requires a mat. You may want a block for your head if you find lying on your back with your head on the floor uncomfortable. It’s completely up to you.
Sit on the floor and then lie back on the mat. Just let your arms rest by your body with the palms up to the ceiling. Close your eyes and focus on yourself. Let go of everything that worries you, as you concentrate on the breath that circulates your body.
You’ll find this pose is very easy to stay in for a long period. Use that to your advantage, giving yourself time to meditate fully and becoming one with your body. Focus on the way the blood circulates your body and the feeling of the body sinking into the floor. Keep the muscles fully relaxed, helping your brain release the happy hormones to unknot the muscles and remove the stress.
Many people will hold this position for 10 minutes or more. You won’t regret it with how great you’ll feel afterward. When you’re done, slowly return to sitting and then standing. This is a pose worth doing daily, even if it’s just for 5 minutes rather than 10 minutes. You’ll find sleeping is much easier, further helping to boost your health.
Try the Extended Puppy Pose
Many of the yoga poses aren’t great for pregnant women. Your doctor will advise you not to lay on your back. While the child pose can be good at first, as your bump gets larger you may find that it’s too uncomfortable. You need to find something that will help you unwind while pregnant. The extended puppy pose is the one that you need.
The uttanashishosana places you on all fours, keeping your bump away from the floor and keeping you off your back. It isn’t just good for stress relief, but also to ease back and neck ache. It is known for improving headaches, relieving the weight off your hips, and correcting body posture. You’ll also find it helps boost flexibility within the joints, just be careful that you don’t pull the joints too much during pregnancy!
If your baby is sitting back to back, you can find that this position is perfect for helping to encourage the turning of your little one. Your stomach is facing the ground, so gravity can get to work to encourage your baby to turn.
On your mat, sit on all four. Slowly stretch your arms forward, lowing your chest to the floor. Your elbows and head shouldn’t touch the floor during this exercise. Hold the pose for 30-60 seconds, focusing on your breathing. If you find the position too strenuous, you can pull yourself up a little.
Return to the starting position and take a break, continuing with your focus on your breathing. Repeat the exercise 5-6 times for best results.
With decreased stress during pregnancy, you will find your blood pressure drops. This is excellent for your baby, which can suffer from high blood pressure.
Finish with the Downward Facing Dog
This may be suitable for pregnancy, but you’ll only want to do it if you’re used to the position. If you’re not pregnant, this is an excellent option for stretching the body and reducing the stress.
It’s the hardest position on the list, but still easy for beginners to do. The downside is the position requires a little balance. If you’re pregnant, your center of gravity will be different to normal, which can cause a problem.
The downward facing dog helps to reduce tiredness and fatigue in the body. It rejuvenates the whole body and the mind, boosting the blood circulation and getting rid of the stress hormones. You can also find it helps to strengthen your bones, reducing your risk of osteoporosis.
Start on all fours, keeping your back parallel to the floor. Push the hips into the air, straightening the knees and putting the weight on the balls of your feet and your hands. Hold this inverted V shape for 30 seconds at first, breathing normallythroughout. As you get better, you can hold the position for longer.
Return to the all-fours position and then repeat the exercise another 4-5 times. While in the position, you should feel a slight stretch in your legs and your arms. If it hurts, place the weight a little more on your hands to keep the heels from touching the floor.
It’s Time to Use Yoga to Reduce Stress
Out of all the types of exercises to reduce stress, yoga is the best. It’s less strenuous and something you can do in the comfort of your own home. The poses for stress relief are easy to do and suitable for most people. You’ll feel the results from the very first time you try them, making you want to take advantage of them daily.