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these 6 yoga postures can help you destress

June 12, 2021

6 poses to help you relieve stress

We are living in truly uncertain times. As we watch the news surrounding the outbreak of COVID 19, many of us face uncontrollable anxiety and fear of the unknown. It causes us unnecessary stress and racing thoughts. If unchecked, stress can cause a lot of damage, leaving us battered to pick up the pieces.


 A few years back, I experienced a similar stressful period in my life. I was working in a great company and was growing in my job. Overworking myself with events, brand deals, strategies and unlimited deadlines took a toll on my health. There was a constant level of stress with no work-life balance. Keeping myself busy was my way to deal with stress and personal problems at that time. Unfortunately, with time stress became a regular visitor in my life. Since I was working like a car without any brakes, the day finally came when my body had a breakdown. At the age of 23, I was diagnosed with a para-ovarian cyst, which really shook me.
 
I had always been an active person and a regular yoga practitioner but I didn’t know much about the restorative aspect of yoga. Stillness and breath work were not integrated into my daily practice. I started going deeper into the therapeutic aspects of yoga, adding restorative postures and mindful movements integrated with breath. I started seeing my life transform, making me more present, aware and peaceful in every moment.

I want to share with you these 8 asanas that helped me become more aware of my body and mind. 
 Cat and cow yoga pose

Marjaryasana - Bitilasana or Cat - cow flow | Riya in the Padma shorts and Vajra tank top


This is a short sequence wherein we flow our body between 2 poses, Cat Pose and Cow Pose.

These poses provide relief to the spine and all the muscles of our back. I love this posture because it allows me to steady the breath as I move from one pose to another, calming the mind as I flow.

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Cow pose - Come in a tabletop position, keeping the knees under hips and wrists under shoulders.
  2. As you inhale, start to sweep the chest forward, opening up the throat,  arching the back and lifting the hips up.
  3. Cat Pose - On exhalation, start rounding the spine toward the ceiling and allowing that movement to happen all the way down to the spine. 
  4. Lift the upper, middle and lower spine and start drawing the crown of the head down towards the floor.
  5. Flow through Cat and Cow, with every in-breath and out-breath.
  6. Move through this flow for as long as it feels good and comfortable.

    Feel free to practice this posture on the bed. If the mat feels hard on your knees, feel free to place a soft blanket or a pillow under your knees.

 Childs pose to relieve stress

Balasana or child's pose | Riya wears the Padma shorts and Vajra tank top

 
This is one of the most accessible asanas that can be practiced by anyone. It quietens the brain, reduces stress and anxiety. It also benefits our lymphatic and nervous system.
 
INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Kneel on the yoga mat with the legs together or a little apart.
  2. Sit back on heels.
  3. Bend forward towards the ground with chest touching the thighs and forehead touching the ground.
  4. Allow the hands to either rest on the side or extended forward with palms on the mat.
  5. Stay in this posture for 3-5 minutes or as long as comfortable.
      Modification:
  • If your buttocks are not touching the heels, place a soft cushion over your heels and rest your buttocks over the cushion.
  • If your head is not touching the mat, place a block/book/cushion under your forehead. 

 

 Yogic chair breathing for stress relief

Riya demonstrates Yogic Chair Breathing in the Padma shorts and Vajra tank top 

This is the most relaxing and rejuvenating posture. Regular practice of this pose reduces stress and improves overall health.


INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Place a chair on the mat or on the carpet wherever you are sitting.

  2. Begin seated with legs extended under the chair, keeping the spine straight.

  3. Using your hands, bring the chair closer to your chest.

  4. You can either hold the edge of the chair or simply relax the arms forward with the head resting on the chair. (Place a bolster on the chair if you cannot rest your head on the chair.)

  5. Your breath should be as deep and slow as possible.

  6. Hold this position for as long as comfortable.

  7. Follow this posture with Savasana for deeper relaxation.

Baddhakonasan for stress relief

Supta Baddha Konasana or reclined bound angle pose. Riya wears the Bhuj racer back tank and Bindu yoga pants.


This pose instils a deeper state of relaxation and is a fantastic posture for stretching the hip and groin region.

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Start with sitting in dandasana, i.e., sit with your spine erect and legs stretched out, feet touching each other and toes pointing upwards.
  2. Now bend your knees and bring your feet towards the pelvis. The soles of your feet should touch each other.
  3. Gently breathe in and move your chest a little forward to straighten the spine.
  4. Once you feel comfortable, you may gently place both your elbows down one by one and then slowly lie down, resting your back on the floor. Your arms can rest on your inner thighs or beside the body.
  5. Relax and rest your body in this pose for at least 5-10 deep breaths or as long as you feel comfortable.
  6. Follow this posture with Savasana for a few minutes. Then roll onto your right side and gently sit up.

        Modification -

    • If there is a gap between your lower back and the mat, then feel free to place a bolster/2 oversized square cushions behind your back and then slowly move your upper body backwards, taking the support of one elbow at a time.
    • If your knees are floating, then place bolster/cushion under both your knees.

    Happy baby pose for stress relief

    Riya wears the Bhuj racer back tank and Bindu yoga pants in Ananda Balasana bālāsana or happy baby pose
       
      This is an excellent posture to relax the body and mind instantly (just like a baby). It enhances mood, improves sleep, releases stress and fatigue.
       
      INSTRUCTIONS:
      1. Lie down on the back.
      2. Bend the knees towards the belly and stretch the hands to hold the feet/ankles/calf.
      3. Separate the knees from each other and stay in this position for as long as you feel relaxed.

       Shavasana for relaxation

      Savasana or corpse pose. Riya wears the Bhuj racer back tank and Bindu yoga pants

         
        Savasana is considered the most relaxing part of a sequence and is usually done towards the end of one’s practice. This pose elevates a sense of physical and emotional grounding, puts the whole body at ease, and leads to complete relaxation. Once we have mastered Savasana, it’s enriching, as it relaxes our breathing, improves concentration, calms the mind, and improves our mental health. It also helps with insomnia and is an excellent asana for stimulating blood circulation.


        INSTRUCTIONS:

        1. Start by lying flat on the back with legs apart shoulder-width apart. Keep the arms on either side of the body with palms facing up.
        2. Keep the eyes closed, face relaxed. (If you feel little tension around your knees while lying down, then go ahead and place a bolster under your knees.)
        3. Focus on breathing in deeply and breathing out slowly.
        4. Allow your mind to become aware of your body, starting with your head and then slowly moving all the way down to the feet. Release and relax the body with every exhalation.
        5. Stay in Savasana for at least five minutes.

        Go ahead and try these simple and restorative poses and tell us how you feel!

        Riya is a Certified yoga teacher and a Proyog ambassador. Do read more about her here and follow her on Instagram.


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