For this weeks blog post I wanted to share with you some fairly simple yoga moves to help reduce anxiety, stress, worrisome, and so on! Trust me, you’re not alone. We all likely go through periods in our lives whether it’s personal or work related, where we’re feeling overwhelmed, helpless, unsure of ourselves, and so forth. There are so many natural remedies out there we can look to in order to help reduce the anxiety and stress we may experience from time to time. I myself have a strong type-A personality which leads me to put un-necessary added pressure on myself, which ultimately surfaces feelings of doubt, uncertainty and of course, can be the leading causes of my anxiety or stress I may experience.
As soon as I’m feeling any of these emotions bottled up, I now find myself naturally on the yoga mat – even if it’s for 10-15 minutes, to bring myself to the present moment, BREATHE, close my eyes, and truly feel myself and the stress go away as I flow through these poses. You only need just 10 minutes a day to incorporate these poses, whether it be first thing in the morning, mid-day, or just before going to bed. The last thing I want to call out is that no pose is PERFECT. We’re all at different levels, we all have various strengths and flexibility throughout the yoga practice. It’s important to not put to much pressure on whether your legs are straight or your back is perfectly curved – what’s important is to truly FEEL the stretch. Close your eyes and let your mind and body naturally connect. This feeling you will find is where yoga happens.
1) Dandasana – Staff Pose / Janu Sirsasana – Head to Knee pose
How to get into pose 1: Sit on the mat comfortably with your legs stretched out in front, flex the toes and try to keep your legs together. Place your hands by the sides of your hips and ensure your mounds of your hands are firmly grounded next to you. As you firmly press into the mat, you should automatically feel your spine elongate.
*This is a great post to begin with before moving into Janu Sirsasana (the next pose below).
How to move into pose 2: Firmly ground one leg long into the mat. From staff pose, bend one knee in and place your foot on the inner thigh of your opposite leg that is lengthened and grounded into the mat. It also helps to soften your belly, engage you butt, and then inhale up and lengthen your arms above your head. As you exhale, fall forward, placing your body over your lengthened leg. It’s OK to have a bend in your knees as you really want to feel this stretch lengthen your spine and stretch your lower back. It’s also helpful to use a strap as a variation!
Additional benefits: helps with digestion, relieves menstrual pain, calms the mind
2) Baddha Konasana – Bound Angle Pose
How to get into this pose: You can feel free to begin from staff pose (as explained above). From here, ensure your butt is firmly grounded and you bring your heels to meet. This will help to ensure you’re externally rotating your hips and this activation will help to intensify the stretch. Continue to lengthen through the tailbone through to your spine and grip your hands around the feet. Feel free to bend forward for a variation of this stretch.
Additional benefits: improved circulation, alleviates menstrual pain, hip-opener
3) Uttana Shishosana – Extended Puppy Pose
How to get into this pose: This will feel like a mix between child’s pose and downward dog! Begin in table top by coming onto all fours. You’ll want to be sure your shoulders are directly above your wrists and that your hips are inline with your knees. From here, you can begin to walk your hands out in front of you, keeping them lengthened. As you exhale further into the pose, you can begin to shift your hips back towards your heels. You should feel a nice stretch in your spine as you maintain a bit of a curve. Feel free to rest your head on a block or to the floor in front of you.
Additional Benefits: stretches spine and shoulders
4) Ustrasana – Camel Pose
How to get into this pose: **Before moving right into this pose, ensure you’ve properly stretched out your back with possible variations of baby cobra, upward facing dog, locust pose, or spinx!! This is important as the camel pose is a intense backbend stretch. To start, you’ll want to begin in a kneeling position, hip-width distance apart. Next place your hands on the inside part of your hips and push your chest open, while your shoulder blades then press towards one another (further expanding your chest open). From here, you can begin to gently lean your head backwards, but be careful of your neck, especially if you’ve had any injuries here! At this point, you can choose to move into a couple of variations as seen below. It tends to be easier with the blocks by your side or by curling your toes up to add extra length if you’re unable to move as deeply into the pose. Be careful not to hold this pose too long. Come up slowly and beware of dizziness and high blood pressure. You may choose to start with an easier variation and then move into a more challenging one on your second round.
5) Viparita Karani – Legs up the wall Pose (aka one of my FAVORITES)
How to get into this pose: First of all, this is easily my favorite pose to do. I love doing this while in bed right before I go to sleep. It’s such a calming pose and you can really feel the tingly benefits from it as it drains your lactic acid and circulates your blood. Before moving against the wall, you’ll want to think about your height/distance from the wall, your flexibility, and whether you’ll need any added support under your lower back for comfort. You don’t need to worry about being at a perfect 90 degree angle, just ensure you’re feeling comfortable with where your lower back and sit bones fall. This should NOT be a straining pose. You should be able to hold this pose between 5-10 minutes to soak up all of the amazing benefits. Try playing around with variations/different support using a blanket or a block, etc. Enjoy!
Additional benefits: insomnia, mild depression, headaches/migraines, digestive problems
Hopefully these moves help to reduce any of that stress and anxiety if practiced daily. Feel free to leave any comments, follow/message me on my instagram page @eatrunandallinbetween or email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions 🙂