Happiness may still seem unattainable for many of us but stress, not really. Anxiety and stress-related disorders have become an inevitable part of the modern era. Understanding the unhealthy effects of pill popping, more and more people are recognizing the importance of relaxation techniques that have no side-effects like yoga.
Yoga has been scientifically proven to modulate the physiological response to stress by reducing the heart rate, lowering blood pressure, and relaxing the respiratory rate. Daily practice of the following 8 yoga poses for relaxation has been proven to be effective in improving the body’s response to stressful incidents.1
Deep breathing is the foremost way to calm yourself when you are experiencing anxiety, panic attack or stress. Pranayama, where alternate nasal breathing is done, not only clears the nasal passages but also helps you relax and unwind.
Steps Of Pranayama
- Find a place where you can get some fresh air and sit criss-cross grounded comfortably on a yoga mat
- Close the index, middle and ring fingers of your right hand with just the thumb and little finger extended in the shape of ‘call me sign’
- Now, close your right nostril with the thumb and take a deep belly breath through your left nostril. Hold for 4 sec
- Close your left nostril now with your little finger and exhale through the right nostril
- Repeat until you feel relaxed and centered
2. Sukhasana Or Easy Pose
The easy pose is just a literal translation of sukhasana but it actually means a pose where your body and mind can find peace in mindfulness
Steps Of Sukhasana
3. Bitilasana Or Cat-Cow Pose
A very relaxing pose that connects the crown of the head with the spine and tailbone, the cat-cow pose is not to be missed in a relaxation routine.
Steps Of Cat-Cow Pose
- Assume the table-top position on all floors, with your palms pressing into the floor, your arms perpendicular, you back straight and your knees bent at right angles to the floor
- With your gaze on the floor take a deep breath while simultaneously arching your spine inwards with your tailbone tilted and chest and gaze forward. This is the cow pose
- Exhale to bring your pelvis back in line, your spine should arch upwards and your gaze should fall right below. This is the cat pose
- Repeat the cow pose with next inhale and then assume cat pose on exhalation
4. Adho Mukha Svanasana Or Downward Facing Dog Pose
This pose helps to energize and rejuvenate the entire body while promoting blood flow to the head. In this pose, you can experience that your hamstrings, shoulders, calves, arches, hands, and spine are all well stretched.
Steps Of Downward Facing Dog Pose
- Begin on all fours and with your spine straight and your arms bent at the elbow and palms flat on the ground
- Now slowly rock your upper body while inhaling and exhaling
- Then slowly raise the elbows (one elbow at a time) and then the knees from the floor
- You should assume an inverted V-shape pose with your tailbone sticking out and arms and legs stretched far out
- Gaze should be downwards and breathe rhythmically until you feel relaxed
- Exhale as you gently bend the knees and elbows
5.Uttasana Or Forward Folding Pose
Uttasana helps to promote circulation to the head and stretch the legs, neck, core, shoulder and hand muscles, thereby creating an overall feeling of relaxation.
Steps Of Uttasana
- Stand straight and take a few deep breaths to relax your body
- Inhale and raise your arms in the air with your feet balanced on the fleshy parts of the soles
- Throw your arms gently forward while bending your spine and keeping your knees as straight as possible
- While you are bend over, you will feel a good stretch in your hamstrings and shoulder joints, inhale to feel a lengthening in your arms
- Exhale to feel a relax your body. You can add variations to this pose by hugging the ankles as you become more flexible
6. Prasarita Padottasana Or Wide-Legged Forward Fold
Prasarita Padottasana is the next best yoga pose you can do after the uttasana. Being a combination of breathing and stretches, it is ideal to find relief from whatever is stressing you out.
Steps Of Prasarita Padottasana
- Stand with your legs at shoulder-width apart and your arms spread wide out
- Keep your spine straight and your shoulders outstretched
- Now bring your arms to your hips and start bending forward while breathing in deeply
- Once you have bend over as far as you can go, outstretch your arms with palms pressed against the floor
- Try to rest your head on the crown portion and move your arms even closer to the imaginary line between the feet depending on your flexibility
- Take a few deep breaths and exhale to gently raise your upper body back to standing position and then bring your feet together
7. Supta Matsyendrasana Or Reclining Twist Pose
A great way to decompress the knots and tensions in the body. The reclining twist pose spreads calmness in the body by stretching all the muscles and organs of the torso.
Steps Of The Reclining Twist Pose
- Lie down on the mat with your back parallel to the floor with your legs bent at the knees and raised close to the tummy
- Inhale and stretch your left hand and slowly move your legs towards the right. You will feel a good pull in your torso and shoulder joints
- Your right arm can help hold the left leg in place, gently exhale
- Now bring your folded legs back to the center and stretch them to the opposite side with the right hand stretched out.
- Repeat until relaxed
8. Shavasana Or Corpse Pose
The final relaxation pose of any yoga session, shavasana grounds the entire body and engulfs your mind with a sense of tranquility.
Steps Of Shavasana
- Lie on your back with your arms and legs spread wide out. Don’t keep your muscles stiff and tense.
- Close your eyes and breathe deeply
- Be aware of the breath rushing into your chest and raising your belly
- Hold and exhale through the mouth and feel all the stress leaving your body
- Repeat it until you feel you have released stress from each part of the body
- Meditate in the same pose and stay until you feel relaxed
These simple yoga poses can strengthen your body and mind thereby ensuring that you don’t let go of your serenity to succumb to daily stresses.2
|↑1||Yoga for anxiety and depression. Harvard Health Publications|
|↑2||Yoga poses (Asana, poses, postures) and dynamic movement (Vinyasa) for Ashtanga. AYI|