In stressful times, Yoga can help you to balance your nervous system. Whether you find yourself feeling anxious, tense or stressed out, try (one or all of) the Asanas below to calm your nerves and bring your mind and body into a state of balance.
Uttanasana – Standing Forward Fold
What makes Uttanasana so calming is the combination of both forward fold and inversion. With your knees bent or your legs straight, sway gently from side to side, relax the head and literally imagine your worries being released from the crown of your head into the earth. Stay here for a couple of breaths.
Vrksasana – Tree Pose
Being stressed often makes us feel disconnected. This is where balancing poses can be really beneficial, as you have to stay present when you don’t want to loose your balance. Tree pose can be super grounding, especially if you imagine roots growing down through your standing leg, connecting the sole of your foot to the earth. As you breathe steadily, you will feel how the Asana anchors you in the present moment.
Setu Bandha Sarvangasana – (Supported) Bridge Pose
Lying in a position with your head below your heart calms your nervous system. Moreover, by opening your heart, you direct the focus away from an overactive mind. Although Bridge Pose has the uplifting quality of an backbend, it also has a calming and quietening effect. To feel more comfortable in this position, place a block under your sacrum and rest the pelvis on this support.
Supta Baddha Konasana – Reclining Bound Angle Pose
Deep breathing with extended exhales will help you to quiet your mind in Supta Baddha Konasana. As you stay in this position for a while, see if turning down the lights, using an eye-pillow or simply closing your eyes will help you to relax even more. If it’s more comfortable for you, support each of your thighs on a block or folded blanket.
Eka Pada Rajakapotasana – Sleeping Pigeon Pose
Pigeon Pose can be a deeply relaxing posture that eases the emotions, if you allow it.
Lay your chest on a pillow or bolster, place a book underneath your forehead. Anything that allows you to pause and hold this pose for a while. Then switch sides.
Extra: Pranayama – Nadi Shodhana
Nadi Shodhana, or “alternate nostril breathing,” is a simple yet powerful technique that settles the mind, body, and emotions. Next time you find yourself doing too many things at once, or you sense panic or anxiety begin to rise, Nadi Shodhana can act as a reset button for your mental state.
Sit comfortably and tall, make sure your spine is straight and your heart is open.
Gently close your right nostril with your thumb. Inhale through your left nostril, then close it with your ring and little finger. Open the right nostril and exhale slowly. Keep the right nostril open, inhale, then close it, and open and exhale slowly through the left. This is one cycle. Repeat it several times allowing your mind to follow your inhales and exhales.