We all have stress in our lives, and this year, that holds more true than ever before. Stress is unavoidable, and come from all sides. Job-related stress is the most common source of stress for most people, but almost anything, from minor inconveniences to major upheavals, can put pressure on our peace of mind.
It’s important to have strategies for stress relief. Too much stress can affect your mood and even your health. It’s also an underlying cause of weight gain, . There are a number of quick and easy ways to stop stress in its tracks: exercise, mindfulness, and meditation, just to name a few. Yoga combines all three of these, and striking a few poses throughout your day can provide a powerful sense of inner calm. Even if you’ve never done yoga before, here are a few easy poses to help relieve unhealthy stress.
This is a quick and easy yoga routine that can be done in about 10 minutes. It’s a great way to take a break while you’re working from home, or to start or end your day once you get home from the office.
Find a quiet space and place your yoga mat on the floor—if you don’t have a yoga mat, . Begin in a comfortable seated position, legs crossed. Relax your feet and allow your pelvis to be in a neutral position. Take several deep breaths and allow your thoughts to come and go as they please for a few minutes before you start with the first stretch.
If you , or if you work at a desk at an office job, then you’ve probably experienced neck and shoulder pain. That tension can build up throughout the day and inhibit your sleep. Allow your head to fall toward your chest and slowly move your head around in a full circle to the right three times and then to the left three times, without forcing the stretch. Then, roll your shoulders in forward circular motions four times and then backward four times. When you are finished, inhale, bringing your hands together in prayer position, and then exhale.
For this spine stretch, begin in tabletop position, with your hands and knees on the floor. Place your palms directly under your shoulders and your knees under your hips. Center your head in a neutral position and soften your gaze downward. To go into Cow pose, inhale as you drop your belly toward the mat. Lift your chin and chest and look up toward the ceiling. Pull your shoulders down, away from your ears. This is followed by Cat pose: exhale and pull your stomach toward your spine and round your back toward the ceiling. Gently release your head and allow it to hang toward the floor. Repeat five times.
This position is an invigorating full-body stretch. Tuck your toes under your feet, press your palms into the floor and press your hips up toward the ceiling, keeping your back straight. Press your heels into the mat to feel your calves and hamstrings stretch. Allow your head to drop so that your neck is long. Stay here for a few deep breaths.
From Downward Facing Dog, slowly crawl your hands to your feet, and allow your body to hang, keeping your legs straightened. It’s okay if they aren’t completely straight. Place your hands on your knees and straighten your back to ninety degrees on an inhale, then release.
Bend your knees slightly, and roll your body up to standing, pulling your abdomen in as you roll upward. Once standing, raise your arms in an Upward Salute, extending them in a full stretch. There is an option here to release back into a Standard Forward Bend by falling forward on an exhale. Repeat the sequence as often as you need to.
Child’s pose is an excellent way to end a yoga practice. Softly come to your knees in a kneeling position. Extend your hands forward in front of you. Allow your torso to relax down and back onto your thighs. If it’s comfortable, let your forehead rest on the floor and remain there for a few long, deep breaths.
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