To relax our body and mind, we need to shift to a state of deep rest and calm. Only mind-body discipline of Yoga can do this. Part of yoga’s effectiveness comes from its proven ability to reduce stress and instil calm.
In Yoga Poses to Induce Calm – Part 1, we talked about such Asanas (Yoga poses) that release tension and lower cortisol levels. In Part 2 of the same thread, we’re sharing a few more Asanas that you should include in your existing Yoga routine to induce calm and lead a stress-free life.
Standing Forward Bend (Uttanasana)
Uttanasana offers many benefits to a yoga practitioner. It soothes the digestive and nervous systems, gets the blood flowing into your head, relaxing and revitalizing your mind and body. Avoid this if you have severe backache.
- Stand comfortably straight.
- Inhale and raise your arms.
- Exhale and fold forward from the hips keeping your spine straight.
- Bring your chest close to your thighs and keep the knees straight. At this point, it is more important to maintain a straight back than to be able to come closer to your legs, even if you’re only half-way through. You can keep your knees bent slightly if that feels more comfortable.
- Fold your arms in front and leave your upper body loose as if being pulled down heavily by gravity.
Downward Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana)
By stimulating circulation in the entire body and simultaneously giving a full body stretch, this is a perfect posture to both relax and energize. Providing a sturdy base, Downward Facing Dog is also wonderful for grounding other difficult yoga postures.
- Come into table position on all fours.
- Now exhale and lift your knees and hips up, keeping your legs straight and try to keep your feet flat on the mat with your heels touching the mat.
- Press your palms firmly on the mat.
- Press the shoulders towards your feet and look towards your heels.
Cat Stretch Pose (Marjariasana)
An easy stretch that removes all stiffness in the back and neck, stimulating circulation in the whole upper body. Cat Stretch Pose is a soothing posture during menstruation.
- Move into table position with knees directly below the hips and wrists below the shoulders.
- Inhale and raise the head, depressing the spine so that the back becomes concave. Expand the abdomen fully and fill the lungs with air.
- Then exhale as you lower the head between the shoulders and stretch the spine upward. Contract the abdomen slightly.
- Repeat this motion slowly and rhythmically a few times.
Reclining Bound Angle Pose (Supta Badha Konasana)
A restorative posture that brings total relaxation and is easy for anyone to do. This one too is very soothing during menstruation.
- Lie down and bend your knees placing both soles of the feet together.
- Let both the knees drop closer to the floor, experiencing a relaxing stretch in your groin. Pull your heels closer to your groin for a deeper stretch.
- You can place a thin soft blanket or pillow under your knees or lower back for support and deeper relaxation.
Half Lord of the Fishes Pose (Ardha Matsyendrasana)
This posture deeply stretches and relaxes your spine and back muscles from the top to the bottom. It gives a nice massage to your digestive and lower abdominal organs. Practice regularly for a stronger back and digestion. Avoid this posture if you have sciatica or slipped disc.
- Sit with your legs in front of you.
- Bend the right leg and place the right foot flat on the floor on the outside of the left knee.
- Bend the left leg under the right leg and bring the foot to the right buttock. Pass the left arm through the space between the chest and the right knee. Try to place your hand on the right ankle or calf. If that is not accessible then place your elbow on the right knee and fold your arm.
- Keep the right knee close to the left armpit. Keep your spine straight.
- Now twist your torso further to the right and back and place your right palm on the floor behind you. Keep the shoulders straight and in a straight line.
- Remain steady in this posture and breathe deeply and gently.
This Blog is contributed by Dr. Ruchi Phool. Ruchi holds a diploma in Yoga Vidya, a Diploma in Naturopathy and a Laughter Yoga Teacher Certification. Her skills include Hatha Yoga, Yoga Nidra, Laughter Yoga, Diet & Nutrition, Shuddhi Prakriyas (Cleaning of Mind, Body, Psyche), Pranayama and various Mindfulness, Meditation & Relaxation techniques.