With our everyday responsibilities, stress can build up until we feel as though we may bubble over. Yoga is an amazing daily option for stress release, and a way to avoid that overwhelmed feeling in our lives. Through continued practice of yoga, we can reduce stress, anxiety, headaches, indigestion issues, and help to promote an overall healthy lifestyle. We have curated a list of poses that you can easily do before, after, or in the middle your busy day to help you remember to just breathe in and out.
Downward Dog (Adho mukha shvanasana):
On hands and knees, place your hands underneath your shoulders and imagine a straight line from your hips all the way to your knees. Spreading your fingers apart, make sure that the weight among them is dispersed equally. Lifting your knees off the floor, straighten your legs slowly while pulling your pelvis up creating an upside down V with your body. Pushing your heels into the ground, you will feel your hamstrings stretch. Breathe in and out in this pose for as long as you feel comfortable holding it. Release this pose by slowly placing your knees back onto the floor or mat you are using.
Knee to Chest Pose (Apanasana):
Starting or ending your day with apanasana pose is beneficial for indigestion, and back pain. For this pose, begin on your back with your legs out straight and hands by your side. Slowly pull your knees to your chest and clasp your hands over them as if hugging your legs. While breathing in and out, let your back, shoulder blades, and neck completely relax into the floor with each exhaling breath.
Chair Pose (Utkatasana):
Begin standing with your feet shoulder width apart. Inhaling, begin to raise your arms above your head and let your palms meet in a prayer position above your head, arms straight. On your exhale, begin to bend your knees and let your tailbone fall down towards the floor as if about to sit in a chair. Don’t let your knees go past your toes! This pose helps to stretch shoulders and chest and helps to strengthen thigh muscles, calves, and ankles.
Extended Triangle Pose (Utthita Trikonasana):
This standing pose is known to strengthen your core, back, and thigh muscles as well as stretch your lower back, hamstrings, and shoulders. With regular practice, this pose can improve your balance and lower stress. To begin this pose, start by standing on your mat or on the floor with your feet directly beneath your hips. Slowly step your feet wider apart by about 4 feet. Point one foot towards the short edge of the mat while your other foot remains parallel with the short edge of the other end of the mat. Push both heels into the floor and lower the hand that is on the same side as the pointed foot down towards the ground, while the hand on the side of the foot parallel with the edge of the mat, rises high into the air. Turn your palm that is in the air towards the front side of your body. Turn your gaze up towards your hand in the air.
Bridge Pose (Setu Bandha Sarvangasana):
This inversion pose helps to open the chest and shoulders while releasing stress, headaches, and anxiety with the calming nature of the pose. Perform this pose by beginning on your back with your knees bent and above your feet. Place your arms on either side of your body with your palms pushing into the floor. Inhale in this position and as you exhale, lift your hips towards the ceiling. Gently move your arms underneath your body and put your hands together creating a fist and straightening your arms. Hold this position while breathing in and out until you feel ready to release, usually up to one minute at a time, but longer if you are feeling ambitious.