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Nine Yoga Poses to Help De-Stress

Posted on March 11 2019

A yogi in headstand outdoorsWhether you’re at your home for the holidays or just busy with life, experiencing stress is a great time to explore opportunities for “living” yoga rather than just practicing it. Since your workplace is probably powered down or powered off, you have the chance to think outside the box of your daily routine in order to create new patterns that serve you better. No matter how full your house is or how full your days are, you can begin to consider how much even a brief pranayama (controlled breathing) session after the alarm rings could change your outlook for the day. If you have any doubts that a few minutes could deliver some life-changing results, just think about the feeling you get after Savasana (corpse pose).  

You don’t have to wait to be on the mat to fully realize the calming benefits of living yoga. The beauty of the yogic lifestyle is that it can be done anywhere, anytime. You don’t need a mat or a lot of space. So, plan to give yourself the gift of peace each day with poses like these:


Poses To Start Your Day 

As soon as you wake up, try some gentle pranayama. Place one hand on your abdomen and the other on your chest. Start at the pelvic floor and draw a ribbon of breath up through the body. Connect with that rhythm as you feel your body rise and fall on that wave of breath. Turn your eyes inward and see the breath lighting every cell until the inner body glows. With every exhale, see the body releasing anything that is stale or stuck. Set an intention for your day. Breathe that in; exhale whatever would keep you from staying with your intention.

While still in bed, use these poses to prepare your mind, body, and spirit for the day:

How to Savasana  

Savasana (Corpse Pose) 

Lie on your back. Release your arms to your sides, palms up and open your feet. Connect with the rhythm of your breath. Raise your arms alongside your ears. Straighten your legs. Wrap your left fingers around your right wrist and pull gently. Simultaneously, stretch through your left leg, flexing your left foot and push through your heel. Release and return to Savasana. Reverse.


How to Reclined Bound Angle Pose

Supta Baddha Konansana (Reclining Bound Angle Pose) 

Position your arms along your sides, palms up. Draw the soles of the feet together so that your legs make a diamond shape. As you inhale, breathe into your hips and feel the entire area start to warm. As you exhale, allow your hips to soften and melt down. Hold this position for one to five minutes.


How to Bridge Pose

Setu Bandha Sarvangasana (Bridge Pose)

Lie sideways on your bed. Place one or two pillows under your hips. Bend your knees and place the soles of your feet on the bed. Hold for one minute or more, then remove the pillows and let the small of your back relax onto the bed.



Asanas to De-Stress All Day

You don’t need to literally “come to the mat” to weave the benefits of yoga throughout the day. Even in a home filled with company, you can retreat to a private space for 15 minutes and reset your inner harmony with poses like these:


How to Eagle Pose

 Garudasana (Eagle Pose)

Stand in Tadasana (mountain pose). Bend your knees slightly and, shifting your weight to your right foot, cross your left thigh over your right. Your left toes can touch the floor or you can lift your left toes and wrap them around your right calf to balance. Stretch your arms out in front of you parallel to the floor. Cross your right arm over left and bend your elbows. Bring the backs of your hands together. Press your right hand to the right and left hand to the left so that the palms are facing each other. Stretch your fingers toward the ceiling so that your hands are at the third eye in the center of your forehead. Hold 15 to 30 seconds. Then, unwind, return to Tadasana and reverse.


How to Down Dog

How to Up Dog

 Adho Mukha Savasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose) to Urdhva Mukha Savasana (Upward Facing Dog Pose)

From Tadasana, hinge at your hips and bend forward into Uttanasana (forward fold). Step your right foot back, then your left foot into Adho Mukha Svasana. If you don’t have space for your mat, use YogaPaws to keep your hands and feet from slipping. As you inhale, drop your hips, straighten your arms and roll your head and heart up into Urdhva Mukha Svasana (up dog).  Repeat this flow three times. Then breathe five breaths in Adho Mukha Svasana. Step your right foot forward, then your left. Roll up one vertebra at a time into Tadasana.

How to Chair Pose

Utkatasana (Chair Pose)

Stand in Tadasana (mountain pose). Inhale and raise your arms perpendicular to the floor. Exhale and bend your knees, keeping your glutes down as if you were sitting back in a chair. Hold the pose for 30 seconds to one minute. To deepen, release into Uttanasana (forward fold), then return to Uttkatasana, straighten your knees and return to Tadasana. Repeat that flow three times.




Poses for a Good Night’s Rest

As you know from the close of your yoga class, calming yoga poses invite relaxation and help you wind down. Try these poses in bed before your sleep:

How to Happy Baby Pose

 Ananda Balasana (Happy Baby Pose)

Lie on your back.  Bend your knees and grip the outsides of your feet with your hands. Draw your knees into your belly or into your armpits. Relax and soften as you inhale and exhale. Hold the pose for one-two minutes.

How to Reclining Hand to Big Toe Pose


Supta Padangusthasana (Reclining Big Toe Pose)

Lie on your back. Raise your right leg. Flex your foot. Interlace your fingers behind your right thigh and gently pull your leg toward your face. Then, allow your right leg to twist over the left side. Reverse to the left. Don’t exaggerate the movement. This is a gentle twist to relax the back.  The use of a strap can allow you more control in the posture, so you may, in turn, relax deeper into the movement. 


How to Corpse Pose

Savasana (Corpse Pose)

With your eyes still closed, lie on your back. Relax your arms along your sides, palms up. Let your feet fall open. Continue your breath work for one to five minutes. 



Though there’s never anything “routine” about yoga, finding places to practice and experiment with the benefits of these poses can help you find the tools to create the calm and peace that make every day a holiday. 


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