Yoga for Stress Part 1: Three Asanas to Relax Your Body and Mind
Image for representation.
Stress is a constant part of all of our lives, although the reasons for it may vary from person to person. While some stress about their jobs, others may be stressed because of some health issues. If you are a parent or have any other dependant, your stress may even be double that of other people. Sure, for most of us stress comes and goes and even makes us more productive at times. But when it starts to affect your day-to-day functioning, you have to try and manage it with stress-relieving activities. Yoga can be one way to do that.
Yoga helps in fostering harmony in the mind and body. Here are a few asanas to try with your yoga instructor that can help relieve your stress. If you are a patient of any health condition, please consult your doctor before doing any of these asanas.
Gomukhasana, also called the cow's face pose, helps in alleviating tiredness, tension and anxiety by relaxing the body.
- Sit on a flat surface with both your legs straight in front of your body.
- Bend your left knee and slide the left leg underneath the right leg in such a way that the left heel touches the side of the right hip.
- Now adjust your right leg that is over the top of the bent left leg in a way that your right heel touches the side of your left hip. Keep your right knee on top of your left knee.
- Now, turn your right arm behind your back in such a way that the back of your right hand is placed on the spine.
- Now raise your left arm, bend it from the elbow and place the hand at the back of your left shoulder. The palm of the left hand should touch the back.
- Now try to clasp the fingers of both hands behind your back.
- Bring your raised left-hand elbow to the back of your head so that the head presses against the inside of the left arm.
- Keep your spine erect, head straight and stay in this position for 2 minutes.
- Unclasp the fingers and come back to the starting position.
- Repeat the exercise with the opposite limbs.
Uttanasana, also known as the forward bend pose, helps in reducing stress and calming your mind. It also improves concentration and focus.
- Stand straight on a mat with your feet just slightly apart.
- Breathe in and raise your arms straight up in the air.
- Now breathe out and bend forward from your hips, bringing your arms down along with your torso. Try to bring your chest as close to your thighs as you can.
- Try to touch the floor with the tips of your fingers while making sure that your knees do not bend.
- If you are comfortable doing this, shift your weight towards the toes instead of the heels and try to put your palms flat on the floor.
- Hold this position for 30 seconds, then slowly roll your body back to the initial position.
- Repeat this asana twice.
Halasana, also known as the plough pose, helps in relaxing the mind and relieving anxiety. It helps in stretching the body, thus relieving all the tension.
- Lie flat on your back on the mat while keeping your legs and feet together and your arms beside your body. The palms should be facing down.
- Tighten your core and raise your legs straight up in the air into a vertical position.
- While the legs are straight up, roll your hips and spine off the floor. Bend your elbows and place your hands around the back of your ribcage so you can support your back.
- Try to move your legs over your head and lower them enough so that your toes can touch the floor, behind your head.
- Do not force the movement at once, make sure there is no strain on the back and legs. Go only as far as you can while maintaining balance.
- Hold this position for a while and then slowly get back to the original position.
- Repeat this asana at least five times.
For more information, read our article on Uttanasana.
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