4 Easy Yoga Poses to Reduce Stress
4 Easy Yoga Poses to Reduce Stress
As we approach the New Year and move through the thick of the holiday season, many of us are flying through these last few weeks of the year on edge and beyond stressed out...which is so uneccessary! Trust me, I know it's easy to get wrapped up in our holiday shopping lists, to do lists, and end of year goals; but the truth is this: if you allow yourself to be consumed by stress and worry you will most likely miss the JOY this time of year brings!
Keeping stress to a minimum can not only help you enjoy life, but it can also GREATLY impact your health!
Stress can directly effect:
....just to name a few!
Basically, the less you stress the easier it is for your body to function properly, and function at an optimal level at that! Stress and anxiety is stored in the muscles, and the more we can relax the body, the less stressed we can begin to feel in the mind. If the end of the year (or any time of the year!) has you feeling overwhelmed: try these 4 relaxing yoga poses that will have you feeling zen in no time! These poses will calm your sympathetic nervous system (responsible for the fight or flight reaction), and effectively take you from your whirlwind of stress into a calm state in no time. To recieve the maximum benefit of these postures be sure to hold each pose for at least 8-10 full breaths; repeat as neccessary!
Legs Up The Wall | Viparita Karani
Viparita Karani is a fantastic stress reliever! This mild inversion will drain lymphatic fluids from your legs, reducing swelling in the feet, ankles and knees; all while increasing the circulation in the upper body.
Sit close to a wall, (or you can use a block like I am- to do this start from bridge pose!) bring your buttocks as close to the wall as possible, and lift your legs up. You may have to scoot yourself closer to the wall once you put your legs up.
If you experience any discomfort in the lower back bring your sit bones a little further away from the wall. Make sure you don't lock your knees, and try your best to relax the legs and hip flexors. You can also place a blanket, yoga block or a bolster underneath your hips to increase the inversion like I am doing in the photo. If you have enough space on the wall feel free to open your legs into a V shape for a yummy inner thigh stretch.
Corpse Pose | Savasana
It can feel extremly pointless and challenging to do nothing, especially when we feel stressed or have tasks that are pressing...but sometimes that is EXACTLY what we (and the mind) need to be able to handle whatever it is that is stressing us out in the first place! Savasana is literaly like hitting the reset button! It has become my absolute favorite.
Start by laying down: allow the palms to open up towards the sky, relaxing the arms, hands and fingers; allow the feet to flop open, gently close down the eyes, relaxing the face, and find stillness. Allow the breath to move in and out through the nose organically without control.. and let go. If this pose is difficult for you know that you are not alone! Just like every other yoga pose it takes PRACTICE!
To help you relax into Savasana try dimming the lights and turning on some calming meditative music! You can also place a pillow or a bolster under your knees, cover yourself with a blanket or cover your eyes with a towel of some sort.
Reclined Bound Angle Pose | Supta Baddha Konasana
Supta Baddha Konasana is a great hip opening pose! It stretches the inner thighs while gently opening the heart and calming your central nervous system.
To get into the pose simply lay on your back and bring the soles of the feet together. Arms can be extended by the sides, hands open and relaxed with the palms facing up, or try placing one hand on the belly and one hand on the heart like I am doing in the photo. If you feel any discomfort in the knees, you can place blocks under your knees for support.
Gentle Reclined Twist
Twists are incredible detoxifying poses that can release tension in the spine while restoring balance in the nervous system. Gentle reclined twist is a passive and simple pose that is great for relieving stress and anxiety, as well as fighting fatigue and headaches.
Make sure to navigate through this twisting pose (and all twisting poses for that matter) with mindfulness and move gently. It is very important that you do not force the twist! Also, make sure you keep both shoulders on the mat!