The modern perception of yoga is that it creates a thin, toned body — and while it can certainly help whip you into shape, let’s not forget the psychological and emotional benefits of a carefully constructed asana practice. Spending a few mindful moments in these postures can quickly help to relieve the stress of everyday life.
If being physically healthy is one of your main priorities, you’re definitely heading in the right direction, but your emotional and psychological health is just as important! Yoga is an amazing workout that has the potential to fill every need.
Downward Facing Dog:
This is one of the most practiced poses in any yoga sequence. The effects of downward dog help stretch, strengthen and neutralize the spine while rejuvenating the mind with its slight inversion. The opposite flow of energy is great for respiration problems common with stress and anxiety.
Paschimottanasana (Seated Forward Fold):
Use a small pillow or blanket to raise the sit bones off the ground and dive into a seated forward fold. Staying in this pose for a solid three minutes can help relieve tightness in the hamstrings, which pull on the lower back. Many of us feel stress in our backs, so practicing this posture helps to relieve that tension.
Even if you prefer a supported child’s pose, the therapeutic benefits are endless. Calm your brain, relax the hips, and gently stretch into the ankle joints. Many find this pose in the middle of a practice simply to come back into their own body.
Savasana (Corpse Pose):
The pose to end a yoga practice has its many benefits. Allowing your body to melt into your mat and the earth helps to ground the mind. Slowing the breathing and becoming aware of the present gives a chance to surrender to the moment and release any stressful thoughts.
Find your way into a comfortable cross-legged seated position. Ground your sit bones, let your hands rest easy, close your eyes and enjoy a minute of solitude. The name says it all.
Viparita Karani (Legs Up the Wall):
This supported inversion drains the body of toxins and releases bad energy. Simply changing the path of blood flow creates new energy. Easy inversions like legs up the wall reduce ailments like headaches, insomnia and anxiety, and is even believed to help with mild depression.