Yoga is becoming more and more popular these days. And it’s no surprise – the core of yoga’s philosophy is finding ease of mind through focus and effort. By concentrating on keeping your body in a specific pose, and breathing through any discomfort, you can relax your mind.
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There are a number of good yoga studios out there that specialize in a variety of yoga types, so it’s easy to find something that fits your needs. But sometimes you need a few go-to poses you can use at home, to relax and release after a stressful day. Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered.
Just find a quiet space you feel comfortable in and let your mind unwind…
Here’s a handy list of yoga poses suitable for all levels that will help you deal with daily stresses:
1. Mountain Pose (Tadasana)
Mountain pose is empowering, inspiring and yet – relaxing. Stand tall, focusing on the crown of your head reaching into the sky, while your legs, activated and strong, are grounded to the floor. Activate all your body and experience your own presence and abilities. Keep your arms strong, slightly lifted from the sides of your body, facing forward. Breathe and feel yourself growing taller with every inhale. Complete the pose by placing your palms together for a prayer position at your chest and bowing down for a forward fold.
2. Tree Pose (Vrksasana)
Tree pose is a popular balancing pose. Relaxation in the tree pose is achieved thanks to the focus required to maintain balance and strength through your body. Start by standing in Tadasana (see above) and slowly shift your balance to one of the legs, as you bend and lift the other knee. Draw your foot up and place the sole above your knee (or, if that is not an option, below your knee). Activate your legs, keeping the muscles strong; this helps to maintain the pose.
Place your palms together for a prayer position and then, keeping your balance and standing tall, reach with your hands upwards, palms facing each other. Add a micro-bend backward in your back, if you want get deeper in the pose. Imagine as if you are holding an object between your hands and activate your arms even more. Don’t forget to breathe.
If you’re new to balancing poses, it helps to pick one point to look at (point of Drishti); the focus aids with keeping your body grounded and balanced. Distribute your weight through all parts of your feet, and keep your toes spread for extra support and balance.
After 10-15 inhales in the tree pose, switch your feet and repeat.
3. Child’s Pose (Balasana)
Child’s pose is suitable for everyone seeking a cozy escape. Two variations are possible, both with great benefits. Sit on your heels with your knees together or wide apart. Slowly lower your upper body over your legs reaching forward with your hands, place your forehead on the mat in front of you.
Relax and breathe deeply, maintaining small amount of stretch through your spine and hips if your knees are apart. Balasana is frequently used in yoga practice as a relaxation and rest pose and will help you unwind even after the most stressful of days. Stay in the pose for at least 10 good full yoga breaths.
4. Rag-Doll (Uttanasana Variation)
Rag-doll is a type of standing forward bend, but a more relaxed, forgiving version of it. Stand with your feet parallel hip-distance apart and allow your upper body to fold over your gently bent knees. Hold your elbows with opposite hands and let them hang freely. Allow your head to fall forward, completely relaxing your neck; shake your head “yes” and “no” to further relax your neck. Breathe into the hamstrings and allow your mind drift away and let your worries disappear.
This pose is considered to be an excellent form of relief for tense and stressed minds and for those experiencing trouble sleeping.
5. Savasana (Corpse Pose)
Everyone loves Savasana – the dreamy peaceful dessert after your yoga session. It’s a surprisingly technical pose, despite its looks. It requires controlled relaxation, mindfulness and focus on completely “letting go” your body. Feel how your spine stretches on the mat and feet fall gently off to sides; feel yourself sinking deeper and deeper into your mat. An important part of this posture is keeping still and resisting adjustments or movement; feel content at where you are and be present in your body and your mind.
Yoga is about maintaining effort through the physical discomfort of challenging poses. This shifts your focus off your worries and problems into the present moment and your breath. Although some physical difficulty is welcomed and encouraged, you should avoid any pain, and refrain from pushing yourself too hard. Yoga’s true value comes from finding the balance between focus and relaxation and allowing the strength of your physical body and the soothing waves of your breath to still your mind.