- 27 Feb - 05 Mar, 2021
Yoga flow for a happy, calm mind
- 07 Nov - 13 Nov, 2020
Yoga has a special effect on your brain chemistry beyond the general exercise high. Yoga is more than physical. There’s a contemplated aspect to it, as opposed to when you’re running and your mind can be chatting away.
In fact, according to a study, healthy people who did yoga showed better improvements in mood and anxiety than those who walked at an equivalent intensity.
Whether you’re in it for the stretch or the sweat – or the mood boost – to get the most out of your mat time, do each move to your breath. Count two or three breaths in each pose, and hold a pose a little longer until you feel your muscles wake up. So, give these soothing yoga poses a try to calm your mind and banish stress.
Deep breaths to seated cat-cow
Sit cross-legged on the mat, propping a blanket or block underneath hips if desired. Ground through sit bones and draw crown of head toward the ceiling. Take three deep breaths. Inhale to pull heart forward to form a seating cat spine, then exhale to draw heart toward the back of the room for a seated cow spine. Repeat twice more.
From seated cat-cow, return to a neutral spine, then inhale to lift hands overhead to touch in prayer. Exhale and rotate chest to the right, lowering hands so left hand is on the right knee and right hand is on the floor behind the hip. Inhale to return to center, lifting hands overhead, then exhale to repeat on the left side. Inhale to lift hands overhead and return to a neutral spine.
Child's pose with side stretch
From child's pose, walk hands over to the left side of the mat to feel a stretch across the right side of the body. Hold for one or two breaths, then repeat on the opposite side.
Rocking table top to child's pose
Move into a tabletop position on hands and knees, shoulders directly over wrists and hips over knees. Walk hands forward about an inch. Inhale to shift forward, drop hips toward the floor, and lift feet off the ground to form a slight backbend. Exhale to drop feet, shift hips back over heels, and drop chest into child's pose. Repeat twice more.
From forward fold, inhale to lift halfway up, extending spine straight forward, then exhale to fold forward over legs. Step back into a downward-facing dog, then inhale to shift forward to plank pose. Exhale to slowly lower body to the floor, keeping palms by sides and elbows squeezed in. Inhale to lift chest off the floor, then exhale to lower chest to the mat. Inhale to lift hips and push up to tabletop, then exhale to lift knees and shift hips up and back to downward-facing dog.
Alternate nostril breath
Come to sit in a cross-legged position, sitting on a blanket or block if desired. Using the right hand, place the right thumb on the right nostril, the middle and index finger onto the forehead, and the ring finger onto the left nostril. Close off the right nostril with the thumb, and inhale through the left nostril. Close off the left nostril, then release the right nostril, and exhale through the right nostril. Close the right nostril and inhale to repeat. Continue for three total rounds or for 30 seconds.
Rolling downward dog
From child's pose, tuck toes, lift knees, and shift hips up and back to for an upside-down "V" shape for downward dog. Pedal out the feet stretch calves. Inhale to lift heels off the floor and shift forward to high plank pose. Exhale to shift hips up and back into downward dog.
From downward dog, take baby steps forward with feet to reach the front of the mat. Pause here in a forward fold for two breaths. Slowly roll up one vertebra at a time to stand. Inhale to lift arms overhead, then exhale, throwing arms to the ground, folding torso over thighs, keeping knees softly bent. Repeat for three breaths, then return to a resting forward fold.
Bound locust pose
From vinyasa, shift forward to plank pose then slowly lower body to the floor. Reach hands behind hips to interlace hands with straight arms. Inhale to lift chest off the floor, then exhale to slowly lower forehead to the mat. Repeat three times; on the last rep, lift feet off the floor, too.
Shoulder release stretch
From locust, place hands on the floor on either side of the right foot, step the right foot back to plank pose, and then lower body onto the floor. Extend the left arm out to the side in a goal post position (elbow in line with shoulder and forearm parallel to torso; to modify, keep arm fully extended out to the side), press right palm into the floor next to right shoulder, and bend the right knee to reach right foot across torso to the floor on the left side of the body. Hold for two to three breaths. Return to center then repeat on the opposite side.
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