3 Yoga Poses that Relieve Stress
When it comes to stress relief, not all yoga poses have the same effect. While yoga can help you deal with stress overall, it’s important to understand the effect various poses will have on your mind and body.
Some yoga postures promote relaxation, tension relief and restfulness. While other postures can empower and invigorate, which bring surges of energy to the body and mind instead.
Three of the top yoga poses to help you relax and reduce stress:
1.Supta baddha konasana (reclining bound angle pose). This pose is like a mini vacation! It helps open the hips, inner thighs and groin—all places where we tend to hold tension and stress. With the support of the floor beneath you, you can surrender to the moment and let go.
– Lie down on your back with the soles of the feet touching and the knees bent out to the side. If one or both of your knees are quite far from the floor, use yoga blocks, bolsters or folded blankets underneath them to make the pose more restorative.
– To deepen the stretch, reach your arms overhead, bend at the elbows and clasp fingertips around opposite elbows. Or rest your arms on the floor alongside your torso. Another option is to put one hand on the heart center and one hand on the belly to create a soothing connection
– Stay for a period of time that feels comfortable.
2. Sukhasana (easy pose) with neck stretches. Small neck stretches, in a comfortable seated position, can have a big impact on minor neck pain.
– Sit comfortably with your back straight and shoulders relaxed. Close your eyes and inhale deeply.
– On the exhale, bring your chin down to your chest, which should produce a pleasant stretch in the back of your neck. Hold this for a few inhales and exhales, then return to straight. Variation: bring your chin to your chest, then tilt your left ear toward your left shoulder. Next, tilt your right ear toward your right shoulder.
– Stay in each position for at least a few inhales and exhales in order to get maximum relaxation and stretching benefits.
3. Uttana Shishosana (puppy pose). A cross between child’s pose and downward-facing dog, extended puppy pose lengthens the spine and calms the mind.
– Come onto all fours (table top posture). Ensure shoulders are above your wrists and hips are above your knees. Walk your hands forward a few inches and curl your toes under.
– As you exhale, move your buttocks halfway back toward your heels. Keep your arms active; don’t let your elbows touch the ground.
– Drop your forehead to the floor or to a blanket and let your neck relax. Keep a slight curve in your lower back. To feel a nice long stretch in your spine, press the hands down and stretch through the arms while pulling your hips back toward your heels.
– Breathe into your back. Lengthen your spine in both directions. Hold for 30 seconds to a minute.
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This tip is brought to you by Kathryn McCann of Hang Zen Yogis.