If the coronavirus pandemic has left you more than a little anxious, you’re hardly alone. So many of us have experienced heightened levels of anxiety, insomnia, and depression as we worry about our health, the health of our families, our jobs, and whether or not life will ever get back to “normal.”
While you should always speak to a professional if you’re struggling with your mental health, studies have long shown that having a regular yoga practice is great for both anxiety and insomnia—and specific poses can be extra beneficial for treating it. Here are three (relatively easy!) yoga poses for anxiety.
Yoga for anxiety
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Balasana- Child’s pose Day 23 of #BLMyogiseeyogido! It’s my turn to host today!! Balasana is hands down one of my favorite asanas. It teaches me to stop and take a break. It signifies surrender and letting go for me. With every inhale I feel my lungs inflate and expand on my back and with every exhale my body surrenders to the earth, stretching my back and my shins. Bala means child in Sanskrit and asana means pose. It’s reminiscent of how we come into this world as fetuses in our mother’s womb and the easefulness of childhood, unfazed by the pressures of the world, and rarely living in the past or future. Children are one of our best teachers for living in the present. Look up the beautiful myth and symbolism behind this asana with Krishna (Vishnu incarnate, god of preservation). Benefits: Relieves fatigue, restores calm Eases anxiety, stimulates digestion Stretches ankles, hips and shoulders Lengthens and stretches the spine Can be done in bed and soo many more benefits! ❤️ Modifications: When getting into this asana, feel free to play around until you find your sweet spot. You can extend your arms over your head or along your body. You can place a block under your forehead to bring the ground closer to you or use a block under your sit bones if sitting on your heels is too hard on your knees. You can even widen your knees as wide as your mat (touching your big toes behind you) or keep them close together. It’s a counter pose, so it feels amazing after many other asanas. Whats your experience with balasana? @cloudesteva ✊✊ Everyday in August a new black yogi will be leading and posting an asana for the day. It’s how the #BLMRocketyoga family keeps in touch and enhances IG’s feeds with melanated yogis of all body types! Here’s how to join! ♀️ 1. Don’t forget to warm up your body first with a 5 surya namaskar (sun salutations) a’s and b’s. 2. Express the asana in the variation/modification of your choosing. 3. Use (and follow) the hashtags #BLMRocketyoga and #BLMyogiseeyogido and tag the host! Join us!
The pose: Child’s pose
How to do it: From a hands and knees position, bring you knees to the edges of your mat with your feet together. Bring your forehead to the ground, your butt back to your heels, and let your arms spread out in front of you.
Why it works: Child’s pose is booth soothing and grounding thanks to all the contact we have with the ground while we’re doing it, allowing us a moment of introspection. “In child’s pose, we activate the insula part of the brain, which calms down the heart rate and puts us in a more relaxed state,” explains yoga instructor Emma Sothern. “In doing so, we also can switch from the sympathetic nervous system (our ‘fight or flight’ response, linked to stress and high cortisol levels) to the parasympathetic nervous system, our state of ‘rest and digest’. The more time we spend in child’s pose, breathing deeply, the longer we can rest in that more relaxed, less anxious, state.”
Related: Everything You Need to Know About Coronavirus
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Desde que reintegré la práctica de Yoga en mi vida por recomendación de mi doctor, redescubrí la magia y la conexión que ofrece esta práctica. A través del Yoga aprendemos a conocer nuestra verdadera naturaleza, traspasando el poder del ego y desafiando las distracciones (vrttis). Vrksasana, postura del arbol, nos enseña balance, estabilidad. Igual que un árbol, a través de los cambios de estación, del día y la noche, permanece quieto y es paciente. Sus raíces lo conectan a la tierra y sus ramas al universo. Yoga calma el sistema neurologico y lo renueva. Desintoxica nuestros órganos y fortifica los músculos, ligamentos y tendones… y también, con mucha práctica, ayuda a callar esa voz interna que tanto nos distrae y vuelve locos. ♀️ . I reconnected with the practice of yoga bc my doctor recommended the movement and the meditation. I had forgotten how amazing one feels during and after practice! This is deeper than a physical practice, yoga is a path to oneself, to rediscovering your true nature through the veil of your ego and the distractions of the mind. This pose, vrksasana (tree pose), is a balancing pose. Brings stability and stillness to our minds and body. Trees are patient creatures, they live a long, quiet time and they know how to stand firm through all the changes of day and night, climate and season. Be calm and steady, this captivity is not forever ♀️ #treepose #vrksasana #yoga #posturadelarbol #stillness #focusedmind
The pose: Tree pose
How to do it: From an upright standing position, bring one foot to the opposite angle, calf, or inner thigh—just be sure to avoid the knee, as that can cause injury. Once stable, extend your arms upward with your palms facing one another. If this is too difficult, bring your hands to a prayer position at your heart.
Why it works: Tree pose is an incredible grounding posture. “Especially if you’ve been feeling anxious, more ‘in your head’ than your body, this pose is great for connecting again with yourself,” says Sothern. “You’re literally rooting your foot down into the earth, you’re focusing on your breathing (and your balance) and even if you feel wobbly that particular day, it is great for bringing your concentration elsewhere. Follow it up with malasana (squat) for an extra grounding practice.”
Related: Couples Yoga Poses
The pose: Legs up the wall
How to do it: Find a wall and lie flat on your back facing it. Scoot yourself toward it until your butt is touching it, and then extend your legs up the wall. Stay as long as you want.
Why it works: With legs up the wall, you’re giving your heart a break. “With the legs elevated, it places less effort on the heart to pump blood around the body and instead, blood flows to the heart from the legs. This means a lowered heart rate, which again triggers our relaxation/rest and digest response, helping to lower anxiety,” explains Sothern. “This is also a great pose to do if you’ve trouble sleeping or if you’ve problems like hypertension/restless leg syndrome as it’s great for circulation and gets fresh, oxygenated blood moving around the body to relieve aches and pains.”
Next up, here are the best quotes about yoga.