Restore Your Balance With Yoga

Yoga To Melt Your Stress Away:

The year has taken a flying start and we are now in February! For those of you who feel slightly overwhelmed and happen to be dealing with all manner of stresses, fear not! Below are a list of Yoga Asanas that are known to aid in relaxing and restoring one back to sanity. All it takes is 5 – 10 minutes of your time, a mat and a quite space void of distraction.

Yoga is an incredible way to relieve stress of the mind and body through the alignment of posture, breath and mental focus.

Let’s get right into your rescue remedies!

1. Adho Mukha Virasana

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Place the big toes together, knees with generous width to provide space for your lower abdominal region to move between. Flatten the spine till it’s neutral by contracting your erector spinae.

This posture is a push and a pull asana, the pushing aspect comes from the hands directing the buttocks towards the heels. The pulling aspect arises by allowing the scapulae (Shoulder blades) to flare down towards the tailbone, you may often hear the instruction, “Shoulders away from the ears.”.

Rest your forehead gentle upon the mat and allow the skin of the forehead to be softly shifted towards your brows, this can be achieved with stretching your through the crown of the head in the direction of the hands. Lastly follow your breathing whilst keeping the pose active, allowing your held stress to dissipate.

Benefits – Adho Mukha Virasana is a cooling, quietening and softening asana. Great way shed stress with minimal effort by aligning the spine.

2. Adho Mukha Svanasana:

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Commonly known as dog stretch, or even downward dog. This asana is slightly more active, and therefore requires more focus.

Not that this is a bad thing, in fact doing this asana well and with the real intent of reaping it’s benefits becomes engrossing and distracts one from present stress.

Begin on your hands and knees, hands directly underneath your shoulders and knees directly under your hips, feet hip width apart, lift one hand at a time and place the base of the palm at the end of middle finger’s length. This instruction is often termed as “Take hand’s distance forward.”. This should be a good starting place, now firmly place your hands into the mat, curl the toes under and assume the classical dog stretch position.

Ensure that the weight placement is on the thumb and forefinger side of the hand, you know you have this when you are able to briefly lift your pinky off your mat. Firmly flex the triceps, and in a single controlled movement drive your shoulders through towards the legs. Again the spine should be neutral (straight), avoid over exaggerating the spinal flexion.

With great awareness flex your Erector spinea to keep the neutral spinal position and flex your quadriceps, you may hear this instruction “Lift the knee caps.”. This secures the ligaments of the knee and provides the support to strictly stretch the hamstrings.

To elicit a favorable calf stretch descend the weight being driven from the hands, shoulders and entire torso into the calves. When you feel that your stretch plateaus, lift the Tibialis anterior (the muscle situated besides the shine bone), you may hear the instruction “Lift your toes and come onto the balls of the feet.”.

Lastly allow the crown of the head to flow through naturally towards the floor, to do this relax into your upper Trapzius muscles / neck muscles.

You may hold this asana anywhere from 15 – 50 seconds.

Benefits – Adho Mukha Svanasana creates a tremendous opening in the shoulder region, releasing into the neck, re-aligning the spine whilst engaging in large leg muscles. Especially good for hamstrings that are constantly in a shortened and compressed state often experienced by sitting for extended periods.

The Duo stress Demolisher

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As simple as it sounds, transition from Adho Mukha Virasana into an Adho Mukha Svanasana. Re-enter each asana till you are satisfied, refreshed and released.

Quick tip

If you are confined to an office much of the day, take a yoga mat, find a quiet area on your lunch / tea break. Assign 5 – 10 min to stretch prior to consuming and food or liquids, remove your shoes and socks. You may very well be energized and refreshed to continue performing much of the day!

To read more yoga articles click here.

 Watch Adho Mukha Virasana demonstrated:

Watch Adho Mukha Svanasana demonstrated: