Yoga offers a wonderful opportunity to relax the mind and release mental stress. The word yoga means “union,” and the practice of yoga asanas, or sequences, is literally a union of the body and the mind. Here are six yoga postures that can help banish stress and soothe the body. Follow along with the video, or brief yourself on the movements below.
1. Seated Forward Fold (Paschimottanasana): Find a seated posture with legs extended in front, toes flexed back towards the body. Allow the sit bones to root firmly to mat and inhale the arms up overhead. Keeping length along the spine through the crown of the head, slowly start to hinge forward from the hips. Only go as far as you can while keeping your legs straight.
2. Child’s Pose (Balasana): Sit on your heels, lengthening the spine through the crown of the head. Fold forward from the hips, resting your chest on your thighs and forehead on the mat. If you wish for a deeper stretch into the hips and low back, widen your knees and allow your torso to fold forward between your legs.
3. Supported Bridge Pose (Salamba Setu Bandha Sarvangasana): You’ll need a yoga block, a bolster or a rolled up blanket to place underneath your sacrum for this pose. Begin by lying on your back, bending your knees with your heels to your sit bones. Press into your feet to lift your hips off the ground, sliding your prop (block, bolster, blanket, etc.) directly underneath your sacrum.
4. Reclined Bound Angle Pose (Supta Baddha Konasana): Start by sitting at the short edge of your bolster. Bring the soles of your feet to touch, allowing your knees to fall outward. Place your strap around your low back, over the top of your thighs and underneath the feet. Tighten until it is snugly supported across your sacrum.
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5. Legs Up the Wall (Viparita Karani): Sit with your left hip against the wall and bend your knees. Supporting yourself with your hands, lean your torso backward and turn toward the wall, bringing your feet to touch the wall. Keeping your sit bones as close to the wall as possible, lie down on your back and extend your feet up toward the ceiling. Extend your arms out to the sides with palms facing up.
6. Corpse Pose (Savasana): Sit with legs extended and arms down at your sides. Slowly lower your torso down onto the floor, one vertebrae at a time. Relax your legs, allowing your toes to fall outward. Allow your palms to face up with your arms resting out away from your hips. Relax the face completely.