There must be something magical about yoga for it to be such a long-lasting exercise technique, right? Correct. For many, yoga acts as a stress releaser. Yoga can offer a way for anyone experiencing anxiety or tension to become calmer.
Roughly 40 million adults nationwide suffer from anxiety. Anyone looking for an activity to alleviate their suffering should try yoga. Yoga is a great way to relieve stress, get a great work out, and center yourself – all at the same time.
Regardless of your flexibility or athleticism, any beginner can attempt certain yoga poses. The benefits are paramount for anyone who gives yoga a try. But, determining where and how to start can be difficult. This is why we compiled a list of six yoga moves that will help you balance your emotional health.
1. The Salutation Seal
Practicing this pose is a great way to initiate a tranquil state of meditation. Most people perform this pose with their hands in the center of their heart, with both palms facing each other and fingers reaching upwards.
This balancing of the hands represents the balancing of our bodies, with the right and left side united as one in the center.
This balance is representative of our physical beings and our emotional as well. The idea of drawing our body together and becoming centered is something that helps us feel grounded and at peace.
This position helps to make us comfortable in a meditative state, or a particular form of contemplation.
How to Do It
This is the first pose, called The Easy Pose, or Sukhasana:
- Sit with your legs crossed on a comfortable, yet firm, surface. The floor with a carpet or cushioned mat would be ideal.
- Now, place both hands palms facing up on each knee.
- Close your eyes and take a deep breath in.
- Breathe outward and feel your body relax.
- Now, with your next deep breath in, bring your hands together with the palms facing each other and fingertips stretched upward.
- Continue your deep breathing technique, and welcome the tranquil state of being.
2. Marjaryasana—The Cat Pose into Bitilasana—The Cow Pose
This next pose helps to stretch and massage the spine and stomach organs. The Cat Pose, or marjaryasana, is a well-known pose to help eliminate stress and anxiety, as well.
Especially when paired with the Cow Pose, or bitilasana, these two moves help alleviate stress, anxiety, as well as support the digestive tract.
How to Do It
You will move between the two positions, the Cat and the Cow pose, gradually and slowly, ensuring that deep breaths flow throughout the movements:
- Begin on a firm surface, with only a carpet or mat on the ground.
- Lay on your belly face down on the mat, and stretch upward with your middle section. Leaving your knees on the ground, arch your back and feel the stretch in your shoulders and back.
- Be sure to take a deep breath as you move upward.
- Once you have moved fully into the Cat Pose, take a few deep breaths and feel centered.
- Once you are ready, you will move into the Cow Pose.
- The best time to move into Cow Pose from the Cat Pose is as you exhale.
- After a few deep breaths, lower your back and stretch your butt upwards.
- Create a curve in your spine, and really push for your belly button to reach the ground. But, your hips will not let it drop.
3. Balasana: The Child’s Pose
Perhaps the best-known pose of them all, the Child’s Pose is a great resting posture to help relax the body and ease stress and tension.
This pose can be a great break between poses, or a simple minute to relax during a stressful time during your day.
How to Do it
Because this pose is a resting pose, you should remain in the Child’s Pose anywhere from 30 seconds to a few minutes.
- On a firm and flat surface, kneel onto the floor.
- Move your big toes together and sit on your legs with your butt resting on your heels. Separate your knees as far as your hips, and take a deep breath in.
- As you exhale, move yourself downward between your thighs.
Feel your lower back broaden as your pelvis and hips narrow in towards your stomach. Move the base of your skull up and away from the back of your neck, and feel the stretch down to the base of your tailbone.
- Now, lay your hands on the floor next to your stomach with your palms facing up. Release the front of your shoulders so that they are facing the floor, and continue your deep breaths.
- Notice how the weight from your shoulders pulls your shoulder blades the length of your back.
Other versions of the Child’s Pose include the puppy pose. Follow all of the steps, but allow for the butt to rise to the highest point of the pose. Do not rest the buttons against the legs. Instead, raise your hind end into the air and feel the stretch throughout your shoulders. This pose helps to relieve stress, especially through the shoulders.
4. Adho Mukha Svanasana: The Downward Facing Dog
This is another favorite yoga pose that is popular for its stress busting powers.
How to Do it
- Start facing the floor on your hands and knees.
- Move your knees to be below your hips, and align your hands to be slightly ahead of your shoulders.
- Move your hands so that your palms are facing downward, and turn your toes under you.
- Exhale and lift your knees away from the floor.
- Keep your knees slightly bend with your heel lifted.
- Lift your seat bones toward the ceiling, and allow your ankles to move your inner leg towards the groin.
- As you exhale, push the top of your thighs backward and your heels down towards the floor.
- Try to straighten your knees, but do not lock them.
- Press your index fingers into the floor, and lift your inner arms through the wrist towards your shoulders.
- Allow for your shoulders to feel firm, and keep your head between your arms without letting it hang limply.
Remain in this pose anywhere from one to three minutes. To exit this pose, exhale and move into Child’s Pose.
5. Setu Bandha Sarvangasana: The Bridge Pose
This yoga pose provides a decent stretch to the back of the legs and a wonderful opportunity to alleviate stress.
This pose also helps to reduce anxiety, backaches, fatigue and insomnia. In fact, some doctors claim this pose can be highly therapeutic for those with high blood pressure.
How to Do it
- Lie on a firm, yet forgiving surface, such as a floor with carpet or a mat, facing the ceiling. Bend your knees, and set your feet flat on the floor with your heels as close to your butt as possible.
- Move your hands to be underneath your butt, and take a deep breath.
As you exhale, press the inner part of your feet and your arms firmly on the floor and push your tailbone upward.
- Lift your butt off of the floor, and keep your thighs and feet parallel to one another.
- Keep your arms and hands straight and remain on your shoulders.
- Continue to take deep breaths, and keep your knees directly over your heels.
- Continue pressing your hips and pubic bone upwards, and move your chin upward until it is pressing against your sternum.
- Remain in this pose anywhere from thirty seconds to a minute.
- Release from the pose on an exhale, and role your back slowly onto the floor.
6. Ultimate Relaxation: The Savasana
Referred to commonly as the Corpse Pose, the savasana is the go-to pose for relaxation.
Usually in a yoga class, this is the last pose, as it helps to relax and stretch the entire body and mind. This pose works to lower blood pressure and help the nervous system relax.
How to Do it
- Start on the floor with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor.
- Work your way back onto your forearms.
- Lift your hips off of the floor slightly, and push the back of your hips towards your tailbone. Now, return your hips to the floor.
- Take a deep breath and slowly extend your right leg.
- Push through your heels as you exhale, and do the same with your left leg.
- Relax your groin area, and relax the legs.
- Move the base of your skull away from the back of your neck by lightly lifting your head.
- Continuing with your deep breaths, reach your arms toward the ceiling in a perpendicular manner from the floor.
- Sway very gently side to side and lengthen the back of your rib cage.
- Release your arms to the floor as you exhale, and keep your arms along the side of your torso. The back of your hands should be against the floor.
The goal of savasana is to achieve physical and mental relaxation. In order to help your emotions relax, it is necessary to work on various organs.
Keep the base of your tongue soft in your mouth; relax the wings of your nose, as well as the skin of your forehead and bridge of your nose.
Allow your eyes to fall back into your head, and turn them down to look at your heart. Let go of your brain and allow it to move to the back of your head.
Remain in this pose for five minutes for every 30 minutes of yoga practice. This pose is perfect as your last pose of the session. To exit the Corpse Pose:
- Roll lightly to your right side on an exhale.
- Continue to take two or three more breaths before using your hands against the floor to lift your stomach.
- Let your stomach rise first before your head.
- Your head should always move last.
Discover the powerful healing powers of yoga today. All you need is a quiet, flat surface, a blanket or mat, and these stress-busting moves. Work your way through some of these moves and find out for yourself about how relieving the power of yoga can be.