New Delhi: Yoga is a mind-body practice that combines physical poses, controlled breathing, and meditation or relaxation. Yoga may help reduce stress, lower blood pressure and lower your heart rate. And almost anyone can do it.
Try these easy yoga poses to relieve stress in your life:
You can do this standing or seated. First, start with deep breathing, slow your breath and take several long inhales and exhales. Next, if you want to do this seated, sit down on the floor with your legs extended and a slight bend in your knees. Slowly as you continue to breathe deeply, start to walk your hands out in front of you, don’t worry about getting to your feet. As you lower your chest toward your thighs, relax your head and neck. You will then start to drop your head below your heart which will help your heart rate to slow and your mind to calm. You can also forward fold from standing either allowing your arms to dangle or grabbing opposite elbows for a position known as a rag doll. Forward fold is one of the fastest poses to bring you out of an acute stress response. Try it while taking 10 deep breaths.
This is a balancing pose that requires deep concentration, therefore it’s hard for the body and mind to do anything else but focus on the present moment! Start by standing in Tadasana, feet hip-width apart and shoulders down and back. Pick something to look at and focus on during this pose, perhaps calming or pleasing to you. Slowly pick up your right leg and cross it over your left as if you were sitting cross-legged in a chair. Then take your left arm and cross it over your right at the elbow creases. Start to bend your elbows bringing the back of the hands together. You can always deepen this pose by wrapping the arms and legs more, but find where you can maintain your balance and breath. Not only is this pose good for relieving stress but it helps to open and stretch the shoulders and hips which are points in the body that tend to carry a lot of stress. Be sure to do both sides and take at least 5 breaths on each side.
This is a short sequence where you flow your body between 2 poses, Cat Pose and Cow Pose. These poses combined offer relief for the spine and all the muscles in the back. It also helps to steady your breathing as you move which assists in calming the mind. From tabletop, knees under hips, and wrists under shoulders, you want to start by engaging your deep abdominal muscles first. Then on an inhale start to sweep your chest forward opening up your throat and upper chest to space in front of you while flaring your hips back behind and keeping that belly engaged. This is Cow Pose. For Cat Pose, on an exhale start rounding the spine toward the ceiling and allow that movement to happen all the way down the spine. Lift your upper, middle, and lower spine and start drawing the crown of your head down toward the floor. Keep the belly engaged as you continue to flow through Cat and Cow, breathing as you move. Move through this flow as long as it feels good.
This pose is wonderful for stretching the low back and helping relieve tension through the hips. Modify it for your body by adding any props you wish. Starting from a tabletop position bring your big toes toward one another, they might even touch behind you and widen your knees out to the sides. Start to slowly push your hips back toward your heels and walk your hands out in front of you as you lower your chest and forehead to the floor. Relax your whole body down and if you need some extra relief in your shoulders and upper back, bend your elbows. You can always add a pillow under your belly or blocks under your forehead if you need some extra support as you relax and breathe. Start to follow your breath in and out and let go of any stress or tension. Stay here for 10 deep breaths or add props to stay longer.