Sometimes life can be stressful and overwhelming. When stress starts to affect your day to day it can be hard to function as you normally would, and you can easily feel tired and run-down. Being reluctant to exercise at this point is common, but moving your body even a little can often make you feel a little better.
If a full workout feels too much, working a few Yoga poses into your routine can provide you with some kind of exercise, whilst also providing you with some mind and body focus. Yoga has been shown to help alleviate anxiety and promote relaxation, so we asked Yoga teacher Jen Landesberg (@blessedyoga) to take us through some of her top yoga poses for beating stress. Check out her favourite poses below, and watch the videos below to see how it’s done.
How Yoga can help you beat stress
Yoga is a mind-body process that incorporates a number of stress-busting techniques, including breathwork, mindfulness, and relaxation. Combining these physical poses, controlled breathing and meditation can help to reduce stress, lower blood pressure, and lower your heart rate.
Breathwork is an effective stress reliever both on and off the mat. The basic premise of it is that it increases the awareness of the breath as a tool for relaxing the body, which allows you to achieve focus and ground yourself in the present moment. Although we breathe without thinking, practicing breathwork enables you to make a conscious choice to regulate and be aware of the breath.
Clearing the mind
Our minds are constantly active. By becoming mindful, we can tune in to the present and concentrate on our breathing and any sensation in our bodies as we move from pose to pose. Yoga poses are physical, so they require concentration. If we fully focus on each pose, and how our body feels at this time, other thoughts will be pushed to the side.
After yoga practice, it’s common to end the session with five minutes of relaxation in corpse pose. This helps you to easily transition back into day-to-day activities feeling as relaxed as possible.
Jen’s top Yoga poses for beating stress
Start in Table Top (on all fours) and walk your arms forward. Melt your chest towards the ground and lower your forehead to the floor. Keep your hips over your knees. To go deeper, look forwards and hold your chin to the ground. Hold for 5-10 breaths.
Start in Table Top and bring your feet together. Sit back towards your heels and lower your forehead to the ground. Keep your arms and elbows relaxed in front of you and hold for 10-12 breaths.
Wide leg fold
Separate your feet until they are arm width apart. Check your feet are facing forwards or slightly inwards and interlock your hands behind your back. Fold forwards and pull your arms away from your back, keeping your palms together. Hold for 5-7 breaths.
Reclined Bound Angle
Lie down on your back with your knees facing up to the sky. Put the soles of your feet together and let your knees fall to the side. Hold one hand on your belly and one on your chest and hold for 10 breaths.
Shoulder Stand or Legs up the Wall.
Start by lying on your back with your knees to your chest. Begin to rock your hips up off the floor, and do this a couple of times to build momentum. When you’re ready, try and catch your lower back with your hips. Keep your knees close and your head straight and begin to lift your legs slowly, squeezing your bum and tummy. Try and keep your legs straight and hold for 5-10 breaths. If this is too tricky, sit as close to a wall as you can, and move your legs up the wall. Hold her for 10-12 breaths.