Have you been feeling a lot of stress and anxiety lately? With everything that is happening in the world right now, I wouldn’t be surprised if you are! Beyond being kinder to yourself and allowing yourself to breathe in such a messy time, there are other things you can do to help relieve stress—such as yoga.
Experienced yogis know how this practice can significantly reduce both stress and anxiety. If you are interested in giving yoga a try, here are a few poses that will get you started and may help to recenter you.
One of the easiest and most calming poses in yoga is the Child’s Pose. This resting posture helps to calm your mind and your body, resulting in significant stress relief. Here is how you can do the Child’s Pose:
- On your yoga mat (or rug—or even a blanket), kneel down with your legs together. Sit back on your heels.
- Lean forward until your chest is resting on your thighs. Allow your forehead to rest on your mat.
- Let your shoulders curl forward and your hands rest with the palms up, next to your feet.
Hold this pose for five breaths, then slowly sit back up.
Another calming pose you can try is the Puppy Pose. This pose has what yogis call a “heart-opening effect”, and can help to ease your slouching shoulders. Here’s how to do this pose:
- Get on all fours, with your shoulders aligned over your wrists, and your hips aligned over your knees. Allow the tops of your feet to relax down on your yoga mat.
- Begin to walk your hands out slowly in front of you, while simultaneously lowering your chest to the ground. Keep your hips over your knees. Your arms should be shoulder-width apart. Let your forehead come to rest on the mat. If you are a complete beginner, you can stop here.
- If you would like to push yourself, activate your arms by lifting your elbows and your forearms away from the mat. Push your palms down. Draw your shoulder blades onto your back and try to reach your hips up to the ceiling.
Keep this pose for around 5-10 breaths. You can then lift your forehead and start walking your hands back onto the all-fours.
One thing that you can do is alternate between the Child’s Pose and the Puppy Pose a few times! These two poses work well in a flow.
Surely, the name of this pose implies that it is perfect for beginners. And for good reason! The Easy Pose can promote inner calm while opening up the hips, lengthening the spine, and increasing serenity. Centering breaths will allow you to de-stress and relax your mind to fight off mental, physical, and emotional fatigue. Try this pose:
- Sit cross-legged on your mat, with your body straight.
- With your knees held wide apart, place each of your feet underneath the opposite knee. Slightly fold your legs toward your torso.
- Your hands should rest palms down on top of your knees.
- Evenly balance your body weight on your legs and sit bones. Then, align your head, your neck, and your spine. Gently gaze in front of you. It’s okay to “space out” here or close your eyes.
Hold the Easy Pose for up to a minute. Then, you can release and repeat with the opposite leg on top.
Don’t let the name of this pose deter you. The corpse pose offers benefits like slower breathing, lowered blood pressure, and a relaxation of the nervous system. Needless to say, this pose will help relieve your stress. Here’s how to do the corpse pose for complete beginners (remember to hold this for 3-5 minutes—it’s okay to drift off into a nap!):
- Lie flat on your back, keeping your legs together but not enough to touch. Your arms should be close to your sides with your hands facing palms up.
- Close your eyes and breathe slowly and deeply, allowing your face and body to relax.
- Recenter yourself by bringing attention to each part of your body, starting from the top of your head down to your toes.
The corpse pose is best done at the end of your yoga practice. It’s so relaxing, you might just drift off!
Yoga Offers Many Benefits
Give yoga a shot—you never know, you might actually fall in love with it. Even complete beginners find this relaxing and centering with many other benefits. If you feel that you’re ready to commit and learn more poses, you can check them out online. You can do virtual sessions for free with yogis, like Kassandra on YouTube, who has many videos of flows and practices for people of varying skill levels! Check out her programs here!
Have you tried doing yoga before? Was your experience a positive one?