5 Yoga Poses To Reduce Stress
When our bodies are undergoing ongoing stress there is a constant presence of stress hormones flooding our body. This results in blood being diverted away from our core, in anticipation of needing to either defend ourselves or run away. These yoga poses have been chosen because they bring the blood flow back to the core and brain, allowing us to re-centre ourselves. Remember to be mindful of your breathing while doing these yoga poses. Calming your breath and therefore your heart rate is a big part of the benefit of practicing yoga poses.
RECLINED GODDESS POSE
Laying quietly on your back on your yoga mat allowing your hands to fall comfortably by your side. Bring your feet together and towards your buttock and allow your knees to gently fall to the side. This is a good pose to loosen tight hips and allow the blood to flow back to the core of your body. Start by doing this pose for a minute and extend it to 3 or 4 minutes. This is a very good pose to begin your breathing under control and start to shut down the acute stress response. Take time for you!
Roll over onto your hands and knees and separate your knees wide. You will feel a stretch in your groin a little like when doing the reclined goddess pose, although more intensely with this pose. Allow your bottom to move back towards your feet, keeping your arms outstretched in front of you to stretch your upper back and shoulder as well as your lower back and hips. This pose is great for loosening your back which can be very tense when you’re under stress. You can remain in this pose for a minute of two to really bring life to your lower back, shoulders and legs.
STANDING FORWARD FOLD
Standing with feet slightly apart, take in a deep breath and gradually bend forward towards your feet. Keep a slight bend in your knees to allow the position to be comfortable rather than stretching your hamstrings. Allow your head to hang comfortably and grasp your elbows with your hands. Allow your whole upper body to just hang. Breath deeply and fully. If you feel dizzy at any stage, bring yourself up. Perhaps only try this pose for 30 seconds to begin with, but if you can extend it to a minute or two your brain will thank you.
LEGS UP WALL POSE
Put your yoga mat next to a wall. Lie on your side with your backside touching the wall and your legs bent along the wall and floor. Roll onto your back, bringing your legs up the wall and remain on the wall with arms out to the side. This pose allows the blood in your legs to come back to your core. Again, focus on your breathing and after about a minute, gradually roll to your side, sliding your legs down the wall. A couple of minutes of this pose will be sufficient.
Lay on your back allowing your legs to extend out and your feet to just flop to the sides. Place your arms by your sides, palms upwards. Bring your focus on your breathing. Slow your breathing down, in to the count of 4 and then pause and then out to the count of 8. Mentally scan every area of your body for tightness or discomfort. Feel free to wriggle around until you find a comfortable position and then remain there for 5 minutes. Give yourself permission to just be. Don’t solve the problems of the world, just allow your mind to switch off and relax. ENJOY!
Make sure you take some time to bring your awareness back to the present after doing these yoga poses. Regain your senses and then take your calm into the rest of your day. We should all spend some time in our quiet mind each day. Give yourself permission to do this as often as you need to. Don’t think of it as wasted time, but instead valuable time spent on looking after the one and only body and mind that you have. Treat it well. ENJOY!!