As we know from our time management training, if there’s one feeling that almost everyone experiences – stress. Sometimes, it tickles us in small waves that we can easily overcome. Other times, it strikes us like a raging storm leaving us gasping for air. The World Health Organization (WHO) says stress has become a “World Wide Epidemic.” Amidst high-stress levels, yoga is like a sigh of relief. It is well understood that yoga reduces stress.
But, what causes stress? From technology, to environment, to management and relationships and so on, the list is endless. Due to technological advancements, we are constantly bombarded with information. Modern tech has a permanent presence in our lives, and we have become addicted to the point that it has started to impact our peace of mind and sleep. This in turn leads to stress build up throughout the day, and a vicious cycle of stress accumulation. Along with digital stress, workplace tension is increasing at an alarming rate. Longer working hours, jam-packed schedules, deadlines, etc. Stress is often accompanied by a sense of powerlessness.
Yoga is long understood to reduce stress and its effect on the body. The yoga postures taught during yoga teacher training in India, for example, focuses on three aspects – body, mind, and soul. The movements reduce the production of the stress hormone cortisol, help with heart rate, foster mindfulness, and ultimately promote peace. They impact physically, psychologically, and emotionally. Here are some poses to get you started…
1. Child Pose – Balasana
The child pose can be as soothing as a massage. As it is a forward bend, it has a deeply calming effect on the internal and external system.
How to: Kneel on the floor. Sit on your heels with your big toes together and knees as wide as the hips. On an exhalation, drape your torso between the thighs. Keep the back straight. Keep the arms on the floor alongside the torso, palms up. Rest the forehead on the ground and eyes closed.
2. Easy Pose – Sukhasana
The meditative yoga posture for relaxing and soothing the mind. With repeated practice of this pose, you move into a relaxed internal state.
How to: Sit on the floor with your legs stretched out. Cross the legs at the shins, with the right shin in the front. Lay your hands on the knees, palms up and fingers in Gyan mudra. Elongate the spine.
3. Standing Forward Fold – Uttanasana
A synchronized forward fold and deep breathing exercise, to offset the sympathetic nervous system. It also releases hamstrings thus making your body free from tensions.
How to: Stand straight on the floor. As you inhale, raise the arms up alongside the ears, and do not bend the elbows. As you exhale, fold forward, reaching down with your arms; try to touch your toes with your fingers or rest the palms on your calves. Keep the back straight during the fold.
4. Thunderbolt Pose – Vajrasana
When we are tense, our body constricts. The thunderbolt pose creates a broad back and aids your digestion which tends to get disturbed when we’re stressed.
How to: Get on all fours. Sit on your heels on an exhale. Gently rest the top of the feet on the ground. Sit tall and engage the core muscles. Keep your hands over your knees, palms down. Hold the pose as long as you feel comfortable.
5. Corpse Pose – Savasana
This yoga asana calms the nervous system and body by melting the tensions.
How to: Lie horizontally with the face and torso facing up. Keep your legs straight and heels apart. Keep the arms alongside the torso, palms facing up. Close your eyes. Breathe and feel tensions discharging from the body. Stay in this pose for 5-15 minutes.
Combine the practice of yoga postures with controlled breathing and meditation for unparalleled serenity!
By Bipin Baloni
Bipin Baloni is a passionate Yogi, Yoga Teacher and a traveler in India. He organizes 200-hour yoga teacher training in Rishikesh. Bipin conducts Yoga Teacher Training in India across various different cities. He loves writing and reading books related to yoga, health, nature and the Himalayas.