It can be difficult to maintain sanity when you are overwhelmed by stress. There seems to be no way around it and you just have to deal with the anxious ticks or abnormal eating habits that come with the influx of stress hormones. Stress is hard to shake, but one technique has been proven to have a relieving effect.
Yoga has been a tried and true mindfulness practice to help reduce tension and establish a healthier mind/body connection. Unfortunately, stress is not something that magically goes away, but it is something that can be managed. Typically, yoga has a calming effect on the body, despite the fact that certain people may be dripping sweat in certain poses. There are specific poses, however, that have been known to promote the release of tension and assist the mind with entering a more relaxed state. Practice the following yoga sequence to help reduce stress levels.
Alternate Nostril Breathing
This practice assists with balancing both the yin and yang energy channels in the body. To start, find a comfortable seated position and straighten your spine, dropping your shoulders down away from the ears. Rest your left hand on your left thigh and bring the right hand up to your face, covering your right nostril with your thumb and left nostril with the index finger. Hover the index finger above the left nostril as you close the right nostril with your thumb. Inhale through your left nostril, hold your breath as you cover the left nostril, and exhale out of your right nostril. Now, inhale through the right nostril before exhaling out the left. Do this for five minutes.
By returning your body to the original curve that is present in the womb, child’s pose helps to promote feelings of relaxation, comfort, and security. Kneel on your yoga mat, bringing your big toes to touch as you widen your knees toward the sides of your mat. Sit back onto your heels and curl forward, extending your hands out above your head. If you need support, you can place a bolster pillow between your thighs and torso. Hold this pose for two minutes and breathe slowly.
Sit up from child’s pose onto your knees and sit back onto the heels. You can place a cushion between the heels and sit bones if this is more comfortable. Place your hands on your thighs and elongate your spine. Remain in this position for 10-20 deep breaths, feeling the connection between your slow breath and calm mind. This pose is also beneficial for the digestive system, which is where some people hold stress or tension.
Legs Up The Wall Pose
Inversion poses are beneficial for stress relief because they physically move the heart below the head, allowing your heart the chance to rest. Move your mat to a wall and sit sideways, with one hip touching the wall. Support yourself with your hands as you swing your legs up the wall, allowing your torso to lie down on the mat. Scoot your buttocks as close to the wall as possible; it may have moved in the swing. Close your eyes and hold this pose for five minutes.
This is the best pose for relaxation because it brings awareness to every part of the body. Lie flat on your back and let your arms and legs fall heavy. Relax your fingers, toes, arms, legs, neck, and back as you surrender to your breath. Fade off into relaxation and remain here for five minutes, or longer if you feel relaxed. Gently roll up into a seated position when you are finished to avoid any head rush.