Yoga offers a wonderful opportunity to relax the mind and release mental stress. The word yoga means “union,” and the practice of yoga asanas, or sequences, is literally a union of the body and the mind. Here are six yoga postures that can help banish stress and soothe the body. Follow along with yogi, Jean Sherfick in the above video, or brief yourself on the movements below.
Moves You'll See:
- Seated Forward Fold (Paschimottanasana)
- Child’s Pose (Balasana)
- Supported Bridge Pose (Salamba Setu Bandha Sarvangasana)
- Reclined Bound Angle Pose (Supta Baddha Konasana)
- Legs Up the Wall (Viparita Karani)
- Corpse Pose (Savasana)
What You’ll Need:
- yoga mat
- 2 bolsters
- yoga strap
- yoga block
Forward folding postures increase circulation and soothe the nervous system.
How to: Find a seated posture with legs extended in front, toes flexed back towards the body. Allow the sit bones to root firmly to mat and inhale the arms up overhead. Keeping length along the spine through the crown of the head, slowly start to hinge forward from the hips. Only go as far as you can while keeping your legs straight.
Child’s pose is a restorative posture that cools the body, lessens fatigue and offers rest for the body. This posture opens and increases flexibility in the hips, low back and side body.
How to: Sit on your heels, lengthening the spine through the crown of the head. Fold forward from the hips, resting your chest on your thighs and forehead on the mat. If you wish for a deeper stretch into the hips and low back, widen your knees and allow your torso to fold forward between your legs.
Supported bridge pose is a restorative posture that stimulates the nervous system, opens the pelvis and, of course, relieves stress! You’ll need a yoga block, a bolster or a rolled up blanket to place underneath your sacrum for this pose.
How to: You’ll need a yoga block, a bolster or a rolled up blanket to place underneath your sacrum for this pose. Begin by lying on your back, bending your knees with your heels to your sit bones. Press into your feet to lift your hips off the ground, sliding your prop (block, bolster, blanket, etc.) directly underneath your sacrum.
This restorative posture is best done with several yoga props to allow for maximum muscle and mental relaxation. Ideally, you’ll need a bolster, a strap and two pillows or blankets. However, this pose can still be performed with stress relieving benefits without any of this equipment. This pose increases circulation, digestion, opens the chest and releases stress carried in the hips and low back.
How to:You’ll need a yoga block, a bolster or a rolled up blanket to place underneath your sacrum for this pose. Begin by lying on your back, bending your knees with your heels to your sit bones. Press into your feet to lift your hips off the ground, sliding your prop (block, bolster, blanket, etc.) directly underneath your sacrum.
A gentle inversion, Legs Up the Wall reverses the effect of gravity on your body, which allows for improved circulation to the brain and revitalizes the entire body. Contrary to the name, you do not need to perform this pose up against a wall, but doing so can allow for more physical release of the legs and core.
How to: Sit with your left hip against the wall and bend your knees. Supporting yourself with your hands, lean your torso backward and turn toward the wall, bringing your feet to touch the wall. Keeping your sit bones as close to the wall as possible, lie down on your back and extend your feet up toward the ceiling. Extend your arms out to the sides with palms facing up.
The ultimate in relaxation and stress relief, Savasana calms the mind, relaxes the body and is an exercise in complete surrender. At first glance, corpse pose looks like you’re just laying on the floor. But complete relaxation and stillness is more difficult in times of chaos and stress.
How to: Sit with legs extended and arms down at your sides. Slowly lower your torso down onto the floor, one vertebrae at a time. Relax your legs, allowing your toes to fall outward. Allow your palms to face up with your arms resting out away from your hips. Relax the face completely.
Next time you’re feeling overwhelmed or stressed out, take 5-10 minutes to rest in any of these postures. You’ll soon be feeling centered, calm and confident to carry on with your day. If you experience insomnia or restlessness at night, be sure to add these yoga moves to your pre-bed routine! Namaste. For more yoga videos, go to skinnymom.com and click on the videos page See you next time!