Especially around the holiday season, stress can have such a huge impact on us that it almost seems like it can take over our lives. And in fact, sometimes it can. Too much stress can lead to decreased energy, headaches, stomach problems, and can even lower our immune systems, leaving us more susceptible to cold and flu season. Basically, stress is no joke.
While adaptogens can help relieve stress, we love complementing them with physical activity. Utilizing yoga can help your body and mind ease up on their stress levels. And just like incorporating superfoods into your diet doesn’t have to mean completely changing your lifestyle, neither does practicing yoga! Sometimes, a few minutes first thing in the morning or right before bed is just enough to prep you for a busy day or calm you down before a restful night.
Lucky for us, certain yoga poses in particular are known for helping with stress relief, and there’s no denying that those are the ones we’ll be practicing during the next few months to recover from all of those holiday parties. Click on the links below for more detailed information about each stress-relieving pose:
1. Savasana (Corpse Pose) - Our personal favorite, this pose is probably the simplest of all! To practice savasana, lie on your back, close your eyes, put arms by your sides with your palms facing up, and allow your ankles to fall to the sides. Savasana is great for stress reduction because it makes us completely stop what we’re doing - even on our busiest days - to calm our bodies and minds. Usually utilized as the last pose in a yoga practice, savasana offers us the time to accept what has already happened and clear our minds to prepare it for the next thing to come.
2. Balasana (Child’s Pose) - In child’s pose, you sit on your knees and fold your body over your legs, resting your forehead on the ground in front of you. The part of your forehead that touches the ground in this pose - in-between your eyebrows - is often referred to as your “third eye” in yoga. The stimulation of your third eye encourages your brain to relax, allowing you to focus on the pose and take deep, full breaths.
3. Salamba Sirsasana (Supported Headstand) - Headstands are considered “cooling” postures because they bring your attention to the internal parts of your body. By focusing internally both physically and mentally, you can clear your mind of everything happening outside of the pose - especially because it’s not easy! For a supported headstand, rest your head on your forearms and use your shoulders to support your weight as your lift your legs above your head. Be sure to practice this pose against a wall if you are a beginner.
4. Uttanasana (Standing Forward Bend) - Forward bends promote blood flow to the brain, giving your mind the power to deal with anything that may come its way! To fold effectively, focus on bending from the hips and pulling your belly button as close to your thighs as it wants to go, allowing your head to reach for the ground to let gravity do its job.
5. Anjali Mudra (Salutation Seal) - The salutation seal is a yoga pose in which your hands are placed palms together in front of your chest, with your thumbs resting on your sternum. This pose is often associated with meditation, and it has been shown to reduce stress and anxiety because it aids in the mental calmness one enters in the meditative state.
6. Sukhasana (Easy Pose) - Even though sukhasana is known as the “easy pose,” it provides real benefits for your mind and body. When you sit up, crossing your legs at the shins and placing your palms on your knees, you open your hips and lengthen your spine, increasing overall feelings of calmness. In yoga, the movement and opening of our hips is closely associated with our emotions, so feel free to let the stress and anxiety out in this pose - whatever that means to you.