Yoga is widely practiced around the world for the purposes of health and relaxation, and the benefits can positively impact your mental, physical, and emotional health. Want a pick-me-up during the day? Working from home and need a break to re-energize yourself? Try practicing these yoga poses regularly to help boost your mood and get you feeling your best!
1. Butterfly Pose (also called Bound Angle Pose)
This is known to be one of the most grounding poses in yoga. It allows you to be focused only on the present moment and create a safe space. This stretch is used to clear the mind of any negativity or stress. Fun fact: a lot of our stress can be carried in our hips, which is what this pose targets.
How to do it: Sit on the floor, bring the bottoms of your feet together, and lace your hands around them. Utilizing the hold you have on your feet, lift your chest and lower your shoulders. Then, bend forward at the hips to bring your chest toward your feet. Take at least 5 full breaths and enjoy the stretch.
2. Cobra Pose
This pose helps your body by allowing you to open your heart. Cobra pose helps to relieve stress in the upper body and combats fatigue. In turn, these effects help to boost your mood and give you the pick-me-up you may need.
How to do it: Lay flat on your stomach with your palms below your shoulders, keeping your elbows tight against your body. Bring your feet together and firmly push the tops of your feet and legs against the floor. Lift your chest by pushing down into your palms, bring your stomach in toward your spine, and look toward the sky. Hold this stretch for at least 30 seconds.
3. Downward Facing Dog
This is a perfect stretch for beginners! It’s a gentle stretch that gets the whole body involved. This pose can help to calm your nervous system and relieve stress and depression.
How to do it: Start in a tabletop position. Press down into your palms and bring your hips upward, simultaneously straightening your legs. Keep your arms and legs straight (bending your knees slightly as needed). Drop your head toward your legs and keep your spine long. Stay in this pose for about 2 minutes.
4. Child’s Pose
This is one of the most comforting poses, which will help you feel safe and de-stressed. As you exhale in this pose, relax every muscle of your body and allow yourself to decompress.
How to do it: Sit on your shins, keeping your toes touching and your thighs slightly apart. Walk your hands forward on the floor until they are completely extended in front of you. Rest your forehead on the floor and sink deep into the pose. Rest in this pose for as long as you’re comfortable.
5. Standing Forward Fold
This pose can help you re-energize, relax your mind and body, and reduce sluggishness.
How to do it: Start standing up with your feet hip’s distance apart. Bend over, folding your body in half and letting your head hang down. Let your torso slightly sway from side to side to get a deeper stretch. Remain in this pose for around 15 seconds, then stand back up and repeat as needed.
6. Tree Pose
The goal of this pose is to change your perspective, while also lightening your mood and embracing the fun of this pose. Tree pose can help take your mind off of earthly problems and stressors (feet planted on the ground) and focus on the big picture (hands pointed toward the sky). This pose is beneficial for those moments when you’re caught up in taking life too seriously and stressing yourself out.
How to do it: Plant your feet firmly on the ground and ensure weight is distributed evenly on each foot to remain balanced. Bend one leg at the knee, bringing the foot of the bent leg and pressing it into the thigh of the other leg. Point the knee of your bent leg outward, ensuring the straightened leg is firmly grounded and balanced. Bring your hands together, and even lift them above your head toward the sky if you feel comfortable. Hold the pose as long as you’d like, then switch sides.
This pose is extremely calming, giving you a moment to truly decompress and clear your mind. Typically, this is the last yoga pose done in a session. While it’s common to fall asleep during this pose, it is a resting pose and it is best to stay present during this final pose when possible.
How to do it: Start by lying on your back and separating your legs slightly. Bring your arms to your side, keeping them slightly separated from your body as well. Tuck your shoulder blades behind your back to increase support. Then, release your limbs and relax your whole body, letting yourself feel heavy. For most effective results, inhale and release slowly through your nose to a count of 5. Stay in this pose for 5-10 minutes.
We hope these seven poses help you feel less encumbered by any stress, anxiety or tension that you felt prior and allow you to feel re-energized and ready to take on the rest of your day! Repeating these exercises daily makes them even more effective, so try implementing them into your daily routine. Taking care of your mind, body, and soul are crucial to living a healthy life, and practicing yoga on a regular basis can help you to achieve this goal.
To your Balanced Health,
Your friends at The Balanced Company