As we grow up, we continuously get buried under responsibilities. Jobs, studies, maintaining new relationships, or family responsibilities are all things that can overwhelm anyone. Fulfilling these responsibilities can be very taxing and can cause stress.
Stress, if not appropriately managed, can cause many problems like anger, high blood pressure, obesity, etc. this is why it is imperative to learn techniques that will calm you down and give you an outlet to relieve this stress.
One of the calming techniques is doing yoga.
There are many calming techniques, so why should you choose yoga?
Besides reducing stress and anxiety, yoga helps carry out essential bodily functions viable for sustaining life, like digestion. Yoga also relaxes you by activating your parasympathetic nervous system, which sends signals to your heart and tells it to calm down.
Yoga also has physical benefits such as toning your muscles, increasing your flexibility, and improving your balance – both in mind and body.
It's like Mr. Miyagi says in The Karate Kid,
"Do you remember the lesson about balance? Lesson, not just karate only. Lesson for whole life. Whole life have balance, everything be better. Understand?"
Don't worry; you don't have to stand on one foot or bend like an accordion. Below are five of the most accessible yoga poses to reduce stress for any beginner can do.
Viparita Karani– Legs Up The Wall
This pose is easy and a great stress reliever. Trust me, your legs and feet will thank you once you do this. You use your lower body constantly throughout the day, whether walking, standing, or sitting. This pose will give rest to your lower body while also increasing circulation in the upper body.
To perform this stance:
- Sit down next to a wall with your buttocks as close to it as possible.
- Support your upper body with your elbows while you lift your legs and walk your feet up the wall until you make an L-shape with your body.
- Bend your knees a bit to make sure that they don't lock.
You can put a blanket or pillow under your hips for a deeper stretch. You can also stretch your thighs by spreading them in a V-shape when they're leaning against the wall. If you feel discomfort, you can move closer or further from the wall; depending on what feels good and where you are comfortable, remember to listen to your body – something you'll hear often.
To release from this pose, bend your knees and bring them to your chest. While your knees are tucked in, you can hug them and then roll from side to side to massage your back before finally proceeding on your side.
This pose helps reduce swelling in feet, legs, and ankles by draining the lymphatic fluids from the legs. It boosts blood circulation in your head and throughout your upper body, which can also help with headaches and back pain.
Doing this for 5-10 minutes daily can revitalize your legs and bring a renewed pep to your step. You can do this before going to bed to get some peaceful slumber.
Sukhasana – Easy Pose
This pose activates the body's relaxation responses and deactivates the stress response simultaneously. It is the best pose to get in the meditation mindset, and pairing it with some deep breathing will help to reduce stress.
That is a calm-inducing pose which is why it is commonly associated with meditation, but this is an outstanding yoga pose for relaxation. When most people hear yoga and meditation in the same sentence, the image that comes to mind is of a person sitting cross-legged with their palms resting on their knees facing up, and that is precisely how you do it. You have to sit on the mat with your legs crossed, the right foot under the left knee, and the left foot under the right knee (sitting Indian style). You can bring your hands together before your heart or rest them on your knees. Once in the pose, it would help if you focused on your breathing, you could use some techniques like
Breathe in for the count of five.
Hold at the top for five.
Breathe out for the five counts.
Hold at the bottom for five.
You can add a bolster (or something similar) under your seat to lift yourself. Do this for one minute before switching legs. A pose this simple has surprising benefits like boosting flexibility, bringing you inner peace and happiness, reducing exhaustion (mental and physical), and also eliminating stress and anxiety.
Balasana – Child's Pose
Spend a few moments in this pose and feel the world's weight slide off your shoulders. It allows your body to relax and turn your attention inwards. This restorative pose can be practiced by beginners easily.
To get in this pose:
- Kneel on the mat and sit back on your heels.
- Bend forward with your belly resting on your thighs, your chest touching your knees, and your forehead touching the floor. If it is difficult to get in this pose, you can walk your knees apart and give your belly space.
- If you can't touch the mat with your head, put a pillow under your torso and rest on it.
Your hand can rest by your side, palms facing up, or you can fold them and use them to support your head.
This soothing posture stretches your ankles, hips, and thighs and elongates your spine. It reduces any pain in these areas and reduces fatigue. This posture allows your body to rest and heal as it awakens the body's connection to the breath.
Savasana – Corpse Pose
It is best to relax and do nothing when you are stressed, but that is easier said than done. It is challenging to stay still and do nothing when you are stressed. That is why Savasana is such a surprisingly great pose. At first, it seems to be nothing but lying on the floor. But that is where the beauty lies, in this pose's nothingness and the space it gives you.
To get in this pose, all you have to do is lay on the mat. Make sure your legs aren't touching, keep them hip-width apart, and your hands can rest by your side, palms facing up. With your eyes closed, gradually bring attention to each part of your body from the top of your head to the bottom of your feet.
That is a pose that offers you complete relaxation. It does this by allowing your mind and body to cool down, reducing your blood pressure, and making you do nothing.
To make this pose even more relaxing (Yes, that could happen), you can place a rolled towel under your knees, cover yourself with a blanket, cover your eyes with a cloth, or put a lightweight on your belly (a pillow or your hands will work). Do anything that makes you feel good; listen to your body.
Tradasana – Mountain Pose
As the name suggests, you need to turn yourself into a mountain to perform this pose! Well, not literally; you must be as still and strong as a mountain. It is a great pose to build your foundation as it shows if you have any imbalance in your body and then proceed to improve it. It promotes the connection of the body to the earth.
You must bring your feet together and stand up straight to get into this pose. Focus on all four corners of your feet and push down on them, bringing up the strength from there. Build the foundation and feel the connection of your feet (and body) with the earth. Keep your spine straight and chin parallel to the ground. You can bring your palms together inform of your chest or let them hang by your side with the palms facing your body.
It is a pose that promotes the connection to the earth. Doing this daily will improve your posture, and it can also give you confidence. Doing this in the morning may give you a positive and productive perspective and make you look forward to the day ahead.
The body's muscles are stressed at home and stored there, so the more you relax, the more your body and brain can calm down.
We were first sitting, then lying down, and then standing up. These are all things we do in our daily life and things that come naturally to us, but the difference is that we need to be mindful of them. The above poses, while straightforward, are effective at the same time, so the next time you feel stressed, try these poses and set some time aside daily for them, regardless of whether you feel stressed out or not.
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