Stress requires all of our energy. When our batteries are so down, that we start having trouble, and anything can make us lose control. It’s like staying on the verge of panicking all the time, where there is very little exhale, and the neck, head, and shoulders always stay tense. Yoga is a tool that can help us cope with the harsh realities of our troubled minds.
When you can’t find inner peace anywhere, it’s time to tune into the body. One technique is to learn to recognize where stress or panic sticks in the body, and take our mind and breath there. Eventually, you need to get into a forward bend, which increases the exhalation, and leads to the relaxation response. Forward bends are restorative in nature and helps in recharging our battery.
The following yoga asanas will help you address the symptoms of stress and bring you the inner peace that you want:
1. Easy Pose (Sukhasana) with Forward Bend
Sit down on the mat with your shins crossed so that your right shin is in front. Go into a slight forward bend. Stay in this position for 5 breaths, before putting the other shin in front. Put your hands on the floor, before straightening both legs into a Standing Forward Bend.
2. Standing Forward Bend (Uttanasana) with Shoulder Opener
Forward bends not only increase the exhalation, but also helps in relieving stress, they also turn us inward. Plus, keeping your arms behind your back releases shoulder tension. This pose helps in releasing the hamstrings that get bound up when your body is full of stress and tension.
When in Standing Forward Bend, use the front thigh muscles for consciously pulling your kneecaps up toward your hips. Keep your fingers interlaced and your arms behind your back, before lifting your arms away from your back. Hold this position for 5 breaths, before changing the interlace by putting the other index finger on top and holding for another 5 breaths. Place your hands on your hips, and your thumbs at the top of your behind. Drop your buttocks to the floor to propel you up to stand. Take a giant step out towards the right.
3. Wide-Legged Standing Forward Bend (Prasarita Padottanasana)
Turn your feet parallel to each other before placing your hands on your hips. Inhale, lift your chest, and with an exhale, bend forward from your hip joints and go into a forward bend. Place your hands shoulder-distance apart on the floor and keep your fingers in line with your toes. Bring your head toward the floor. Hold this position for 10 breaths. Inhale, go back to a flat back, before taking your hands to your hips, and dropping the flesh of your buttocks to go to a stand. Put your feet together and step to the front of your mat for transitioning into Child’s Pose. Bring your knees to the floor, sit on your heels, and fold forward until your head reaches the floor.
4. Rabbit Pose (Sasangasana)
From Child’s Pose, interlace your fingers behind your back, before lifting your hips, and rolling to the crown of your head. Press the tops of your feet down, so that you are in control of the amount of weight on your head. Pull your hands away from your back. Bring your hands down, change the interlace, lift your hips, before rolling to the crown of head again. Repeat 3 times on each side, making sure to switch the interlace each time. Make a rhythm using the breath and movement.
5. Thunderbolt Pose (Vajrasana) with Eagle (Garudasana) arms
Kneel down and sit back on your heels. Bend your elbows before bringing the right elbow into the left. Make sure the backs of your hands are facing each other. Next pass your right hand in front of your left before bringing the palms together, thumbs pointing toward the tips of your nose. Hold this position for 5 breaths, and reverse your arms and hold for 5 more breaths.
Stay healthy, stay safe 🙂