All types of exercise, particularly those that get your heart pumping, really do relieve stress. Exercise burns off the hormones of stress and replace them with hormones that make you feel good. When you can make it to the gym, that’s great, but it’s not always possible and neither is heart pumping, sweat drenching exercise. That’s when finding an alternative, like yoga poses for stress reduction can help relieve that anxiety and help you relax.
You don’t need a mat to do breathing techniques.
Sometimes you just need to take a deep breath and breathing techniques help you do just that. If you’re sitting at your desk with just a few minutes before the next big meeting, that’s one place yoga breathing techniques can help. It slows your heart rate and diverts your attention, putting it all on the calming effects of guided breathing. Combine it with a seated crescent moon pose. Relax yourself as you sit by focusing on your breathing. Lift your arms with your palms up. Put them above your head and interlock your fingers, then push your palms toward the sky. Lean your body slowly to the left as you inhale. Hold for ten counts and exhale as you move back toward the center. Repeat by leaning to the right.
If you’re at home, a cobra pose can relax your body and mind.
You’ll move like a cobra with this pose. Start by laying stomach down on the floor, the tops of the feet flat to the floor and palms on the floor with your arms bent and fingers pointing straight ahead. Lift your upper body as you press your lower body to the floor. Straighten your arms as you push your shoulder blades together, holding 30 seconds. Then slowly lower your upper body.
A child pose is easy to do and relieves stress quickly.
If you have a mat, use it, but you don’t need one. Get on all fours with palms and knees touching. Slowly exhale as you lower your hips to your heels until your chest lies on your thighs. Your hands should be stretched out in front of you and your forehead should be touching the floor. If you prefer, you can rest your head on the palms of your hands or just put your hands to your sides. Hold that position and relax. You’ll find the stress melting and focus on your breathing to quiet your brain. You’ll feel almost immediate stress relief.
- Do you want relief at your desk? Sit on the edge of your chair with your feet flat on the floor and spine straight. Reach backward and grab the back of the chair, lifting your chest and pulling shoulder blades back as you inhale. Take five deep breaths and return to starting position.
- One movement called the uttanasana can be done anywhere. As you bend forward, exhale slowly. Keep bending as you attempt to touch the floor with your fingers and pressing your head against your thighs. Hold for 8 breaths. Don’t push to reach the floor. Just relax into it and go as far as you comfortably can.
- Practice a breathing technique. Breathe in through the nose as you expand your belly then exhale through pursed lips as your belly contracts.
- Doing a cat/cow combination can help relaxation. You should be on all fours with knees and palms touching the mat. Do a cat pose, lowering the head as you arch your back and then move to the cow pose, dropping your belly with your head up.
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