Yoga is an exercise for our bodies and minds that encourages us to relax on all these levels as well. This reduces anxiety and stress while alleviating pain, promoting flexibility, and relieving tension 100% naturally.
Regular practice may help you release physical blocks like knotted muscles, emotional blocks like resentment, and mental blocks like stubbornness. Doing the poses and practising the breathing exercise will also promote the release of endorphins, mood-boosting feel-good hormones that can positively impact how you handle stressors large and small.
Practise These Poses
While yoga in its entirety is good for destressing, there are certain poses that work particularly well:
- Marjaryasana to Bitilasana, or Cat to Cow Pose
This pose works to connect your movements to your breath which will help you calm your mind and release stress. Use your breath to guide the length of each movement:
- Start in bharmanasana, or tabletop, position, ensuring that your wrists are under your shoulders and your knees are under your hips.
- Inhale, turning your gaze towards the ceiling and allowing your stomach to move towards your mat, arching your back. This is Cow, or bitilasana.
- Exhale, drawing your chin in towards your chest, bending your spine towards the ceiling for cat, or marjaryasana, pose.
- Keep flowing between these two positions for a minute.
- Balasana, or Child’s Pose
Child’s pose may help you turn your focus inward and restore your energy, both important practices for dealing with stress. It’s also a wonderful relaxant, both mentally and physically:
- Kneel, placing your knees together or keeping them slightly apart, sitting back on your knees.
- Hinge at your hips as you fold forward, coming to rest your forehead on your mat.
- Extend your arms out in front of you or take them back, placing them alongside your legs.
- Allow the torso to sink into the thighs while you breathe deeply and focus on relaxing your body.
- Hold this pose for five minutes.
- Viparita Karani, or Legs-Up-the-Wall Pose
Viparita Karani promotes deep relaxation as it boosts lymph flow and circulation:
- Sit facing the wall on the floor, with your body as close to it as you can manage.
- Lie back, placing your legs up against the wall with straight but not locked knees.
- Position your hips as close to the wall as you can.
- Place your arms alongside your body or put one hand on your stomach and the other over your heart.
- Hold this pose for 15 minutes.
Using Pranayama, or Yoga Breathing, for Stress
Pranayama teaches us how to relax as we regulate our breathing pattern and take deep lungfuls of air into our bodies. This reduces stress as it calms your body and mind and you may find that, once you practise regularly, the quality of your sleep improves. You can practise pranayama during yoga or when you need to relax throughout your day or night. The techniques are particularly useful when you’re experiencing taxing situations such as waiting for the results of your NBA betting activities or facing uncomfortable emotions.
The most popular pranayama include kapalabhati, breath of fire, nadi shodhana, or alternate nose breathing, simhasana, or lion’s breath, sitali breath, and ujjayi breathing.