Stress comes in many forms. For some, it is occasional and unpleasant on the few times that it arises. For others, it is chronic and debilitating. Whatever your stress load may be, yoga can help loosen your body and mind. Take some pressure off of your day with these six stress-relieving, beginner’s poses.
1. Standing Forward Bend
To do this pose, reach your palms high towards the sky, then exhale forward and bend your knees enough to be able to place your palms on the floor. Feel your spine stretch and bend in multiple directions as you further pull your head down and in. Hold this position for 8 comfortable breaths, then inhale back to standing. Repeat as often as you feel like.
2. Easy Pose
Sit down in a comfortable spot and straighten your back. Extend your legs in front of your body and, with your knees out wide, place each foot underneath the opposite knee and cross your legs in toward your torso. With your palms facing downward, put your hands on your knees. Lengthen your spine upwards, but soften your neck and relax your legs. Hold this position for a minute, or about 20 breaths.
3. Cat-Cow Pose
This is a two-position pose, where you alternate between two different positions.
For cat pose, start on all fours with your palms directly underneath your shoulders. While exhaling, round your back toward the sky and bring your belly-button up towards your spine. Bring back to neutral position, with spine and head aligned.
For cow pose, inhale and tilt your pelvis back so that your tailbone sticks up. Keep your abdominal muscles hugging your spine by drawing your bellybutton in.
4. Head to Knee Forward Bend
Sit up straight on the ground with both legs extended out in front of you. Bend your left leg and bring the sole of your foot to the upper part of the inside of your right thigh. With your left knee resting on the ground, put both palms on either side of your right leg and inhale. Then, turn towards the extended leg and exhale while folding forward. Hold for 8 breaths and repeat with the other leg.
5. Child’s Pose
Kneel on the ground with your knees together and slowly sit back onto your heels. Extend your torso up and bend forward from the hips so your chest rests on your thighs and your forehead rests on the ground in front of your knees. Let your shoulders curl around and rest your hands next to your feet with your palms facing upwards. Hold for 8 breaths.
6. Bridge Pose
Lie flat on your back and bend both knees. Place your feet flat on the floor, hip width apart. Slide your arms toward your ankles with your palms facing down. Inhale and lift your hips up, carefully rolling your spine off of the floor. Squeeze knees gently together to keep the feet hip-width paper. Press down into the arms and shoulders to open your chest towards the sky. Engage your legs and glutes to lift your hips higher. Breathe in and hold for 8 breaths.