Stress is no stranger to us. It visits us at any moment of our everyday lives: that could be the moment when you see a long list of unread emails after returning from holiday, when your children are testing your patience or when you’re stuck in traffic…
Stress has been linked to a wide range of health issues, including mood, sleep, and appetite problems and it can play a role in the causation of heart attacks. Therefore, it is important to relieve stress regularly to keep your heart healthy and maintain an emotionally balanced life.
Yoga is known for calming your body and mind through breathing and asanas (postures), but don’t be intimated by the sound of it as yoga can be easily practised at home. All you need is a yoga mat and 15 minutes every day.
Here are 7 easy yoga poses for beginners we tried that can help to relieve stress:
1. LEGS UP THE WALL
Set your legs up against the wall. Bring your hips closer to the wall as you let your hip flexors relax. Relax your shoulder and breathe through your nose for 2 minutes.
2. STANDING FORWARD BEND
Stand up, reach tall and exhale forward, then bend knees. Hold your opposite arms and hang loosely, or if you are flexible you can place your palms on the floor. Try to keep your head closer to your knees. For a deeper stretch, try straightening your legs. Hold this position for 6-8 breaths. Then inhale, stretch arms forwards, raise them and your torso back to the standing position.
3. CAT-COW POSE
This is a good pose to massage your spine and relieve tension. Cat – Start on all fours, then while exhaling, round your back towards the ceiling and bring your navel up towards your spine. Bring it back to the neutral position, with spine and head aligned. Cow – Inhale and tilt your pelvis back so that your tailbone sticks up. Keep your abdominal muscles hugging your spine by drawing your navel in. Keep rotating these two positions for 6-8 times. Try to feel your spine in each position as much as you can rather than trying to speed up.
4. CHILD’S POSE
Sit on your shins with your big toes touching and your knees sightly apart. Bring your palms to the front of your body and rest on the floor. Walk your hands forward until you feel like you can’t walk any further. Allow your stomach to rest on your thighs and your forehead to rest on the floor. Breathe and rest in the position for 2 minutes.
5. BRIDGE POSE
Place your feet flat on the floor, hip width apart. Slide your arms alongside your body with palms facing down. Inhale and lift the hips up, rolling your spine off the floor. Squeeze your knees lightly together to keep the knees engaged. Press down into the arms and shoulders to bring the chest upwards. Engage legs and buttocks to lift the hips higher. Breathe and hold for 4-8 breaths.
6. HAPPY BABY
Lie on your back and bend both knees. Catch the outside of your feet and breathe. Keep your lower spine touching to the floor, while keeping your chin closer to your chest. Gently rock left and right if you desire. Hold for 4-8 breaths.
7. CORPSE POSE
Lie on your back with your legs apart to yoga mat width, arms by your sides with palms facing up. Let your eyes and face soften and close your eyes while breathing deeply. Bring attention to each part of your body starting at the crown of your head, all the way down to your toes. Hold this position for 2-5 minutes. This pose will help bring relaxation to your whole body to end your daily 15-minute practice. Start taking care of your body and mind today if you haven’t yet. Remember, they are the only places you live in.