15 Sep Yoga for Stress Relief
Yoga for Stress Relief
Feeling anxious, tense, wired or just plain ‘blah’? Get out of your head & into your body with these simple feel-good yoga poses for stress relief:
Child’s Pose is a primal pose (think of a baby in the womb). It is also an instinctive position you put yourself in when you feel cold, scared or upset – you curl up. Super calming, super comforting, it’s a go-to for when you need some extra support & stress relief.
How to do it: Come to 4 point kneeling. Hands under shoulders, knees under hips. Sink your hips back to your heels as you walk your hands forward & soften & melt your chest & forehead towards the mat. Breathe wide & full into your back body.
Try a wide legged position: have the knees wide, toes touching.
Add support & comfort: try straddling a bolster (or two). Begin with your head turned to one side, & about halfway through turn to the other side, so that the pose feels balanced.
Allow yourself to linger in the curves & spirals of this luscious pose. Slowly wind & unwind, as you let go of tension & patterns of holding. You’ll feel refreshed & rinsed clean after a busy day.
How to do it: Lie on your back with your knees bent & your feet comfortably flat on floor, arms stretched out to the sides in a ‘T’ shape. Gently lower your knees to the left side of your body. Shoulder blades stay flush to the floor. Rock onto your right ear. Breathe into your top lung. Start to unwind, drawing your knees back to centre in the start position. Repeat on the other side – legs to the right, gaze to the left.
KNEES TO CHEST
With your body in a compact shape, your thoughts are more easily drawn inward, allowing you to calm your mind & rebalance your energy.
How to do it: Lie down on your back. Draw the knees gently in toward the chest. Take a breath in & release the knees slightly away from the chest; take a breath out & hug them in. Things to try: rock side to side or move the knees around in circles to explore releasing tension in the lower back.
This is a wonderful pose for opening the hips & stretching the hamstrings, inner thighs & groin. It releases the spine and sacrum, & is particularly beneficial in releasing, or decompressing, the SI (sacroiliac) joint.
How to do it: Lie on your back with your knees bent into your chest. Draw your knees wide towards your armpits. Reach your hands between your legs to take hold of your ankles, shins or the inside or outside of your feet – whichever feels best. Keeping your knees drawing down, start to straighten your legs until your shins are perpendicular to the floor. Flex your feet. Push through your heels as you gently pull the hands down to create resistance. Keep your spine long. Softly tuck your chin into your throat. Hold for 30 to 60 seconds. To come out of the pose, place your feet back onto the floor as you exhale.
This is a classic restorative posture that stretches the inner thighs, groin & knees.
How to do it: Lie on your back with your knees bent. Carefully lower the knees towards either side with the soles of the feet touching, making a diamond shape with the legs. Stay for five to ten breaths, or longer. To come out, roll onto your side & use your hands to help you back up to sitting. Arm options: let your arms fall wherever they intuitively want to – out to the sides, overhead or take your hands to your belly. Watch out for: if you have any pain in your knees or groin use cushions or yoga blocks under the knees or thighs to elevate them.