Beginner Yoga Poses That Reduce Stress
By Isaac Christiansen
Practicing yoga is one of the best ways to bring calm and joy into your life. It helps clear your mind and strengthen your body for a overall wellness upgrade! Throw on your favorite athletic attire and try some of the poses below for a stress-free, happy day!
1. Extended Pigeon
This pose is great for those who sit in a car or at a desk for the majority of the day. This one will make your back and legs feel great after a long day of sitting, even if you are not very flexible. To do it, fold one leg in front of you and extend the other behind you, then lengthen through the spine. You can even put a block or blanket under your hip if it hurts too much. This accessible pose is great for gaining flexibility and will make your whole body feel awesome after it's been cramped all day
This back bend will help you feel energized and happy, so it is the perfect pose to do at the start of your day. The way it literally opens your heart can also help you release any pent-up emotions or thoughts you have been harboring. To do it, get on your knees, then carefully reach your hands back one at a time to grab your ankles. Push your hips and chest forward and revel in what your body can do! If you are not very flexible, warm up your back by doing a few torso twists first or just do one arm at a time; no matter what, your body will feel full of energy.
3. Happy Baby
This fun and easy pose is perfect for releasing all of your body's stress after a hard day. Lay on your back with knees bent, then grab your feet and open your hips out wide. You can rock back and forth or roll around, whatever feels good for you! This joyful pose is great for working out tight hips or backs and is sure to make you feel as carefree as, well, a happy baby!
4. Seated Spinal Twist
If you want to release the tension in your hips, back, glutes, and spine all in one pose, try this one. Sit with one knee bent, resting on the floor. Then bring your opposite foot across your leg, resting it behind the bottom leg's knee. Twist your spine forward and hold for a few breaths. Sinking fully into this pose will help you feel relaxed, rejuvenated, and stress-free, so it is the perfect pose for morning, noon, or night.
Bow pose is a great pose to do when you are sad, scared, or threatened because it counteracts our natural tendency to close up our chests when we are down. Opening your chest makes your body feel safe and happy. To do it, lay on your stomach, reach back and grab your ankles, then pull yourself up into a "U" shape using your abs. This pose also massages your digestive organs to release wastes that could be making you feel yucky.
6. Legs Up the Wall
This pose, also known as Viparita Karani in Sanskrit, is one of yoga's most accessible poses. Just scooch your bottom against a wall, straighten your legs, and let the wall support you. Inversions like this pose let the blood run to your brain, helping you think and make decisions. This pose also helps release tensions all over your body and changes your nervous system to "rest" mode. If you are feeling overwhelmed, agitated, or indecisive, this pose will help clear your mind so you can think rationally.
Keep in mind that yoga’s benefits go far beyond relieving stress. Yoga as a disciplined practice, has proven to provide people with a spiritual and meditative outlet. More practically, yoga can reduce arthritis pain and necessity for chiropractic care. Yoga can also be practiced as a source of exercise.