“It’s not the load that breaks us down, it’s the way we carry it.”
Are you feeling stressed? Lots of us do at one time or another, and while some of us are able to sleep on a stressful day and wake up re-charged in the morning, some of us find it hard to relax at all. That’s fine. We’re all different, right? But did you know that stress can actually be bad for your health? Aside from raising blood pressure, headaches and insomnia, stress can play havoc on your skin, hair and immune system, so much so that repeated stress can be one of the biggest causes of premature ageing!
So let’s agree to beat stress. And here’s one way to do it: yoga.
For centuries, yoga has been a way of life for many people and there are specific postures that have been proven to aid all manner of ailments and conditions. The act of breathing deeply and focusing on the body is deeply calming, and many believe that yoga helps to keep the body, mind and spirit perfectly balanced with nature. Yoga is a fantastic way to stay in shape, beat stress and relax, but not all moves are created equal. Some give you energy, some promote restfulness. Some beat stress.
If we’ve convinced you, then read on to find out which five yoga moves will help to beat your stress levels down.
Just like the name suggests, this pose is reminiscent of the way a child might curl up on the floor to hide from the world. A low intensity posture, this move allows the body to slow down, and allows you to concentrate on breathing deeply. Simply sit on your knees and lean forward towards the ground, until your forehead touches the floor. Let your arms drop to your sides and focus on your breathing. And relax.
Standing forward bend
This pose can be wonderfully relaxing and is an incredible stretch for the legs and lower back too. Stand with you feet together, lift your arms and reach as high as you can. Then reach forward and down, stretching long, until your head meets your legs. Hold the pose for as long as you can. During this pose, blood circulates towards the head and this helps to calm the body. And relax.
Otherwise known as the ‘corpse pose’- this one doesn’t really need much explaining. Simply lie flat on your back, close your eyes, and focus on your breathing. In and out. And relax.
Extended triangle pose
Another standing posture, and another spiritually calming pose. Stand with your legs wide apart and stretch out your arms wide. Turn one foot inwards, and stretch the other arm even further out to the side, so that your body stretches too. Then reach down to your leg as far as you can, bringing your other arm up to finish the pose. And relax.
Legs up the wall
So-called because it can be done up against the wall if you need the support. Lie on your back and support your lower back with your hands as you lift your bottom and raise your legs from the floor. Focus on your breathing. And relax.
If you can grab ten minutes in a busy day, try one of these poses to see how it affects your stress levels. Better still, enrol in a class and invest a little in your spiritual well-being. Your body will thank you in more ways than one.