Stressed? 5 Ways to Let Go



The transition from summer to fall can produce stress, anxiety, or even sadness.

Maybe you are a parent, and you worry about how well your kids will fare in their new routines as they head back to school.

Maybe your summer didn’t include all the relaxation you were seeking. And now you’re facing a mountain of to-do items.

Clinical studies have shown that yoga effectively reduces your heart rate, calms breathing and allows you to relax and let stressful experiences go. (1) 

Professionals at the Mayo Clinic (2) suggest incorporating a small yoga break into your busy day enables letting go of stress and a chance to gather your thoughts.

Use yoga at home or work (not just at the studio) for immediate relief. Find a quiet area where you will not be disturbed for a few minutes. Put down a mat or towel. Set your mobile device to produce some soothing music or nature sounds. Then, try one or more of these poses (which you’ve probably practiced many times in class): 

Child Pose/Balasana

Begin by sitting on your knees with your calves and feet together. While remaining in a seated position, slowly lean forward extending your arms in front of you. Continue to reach and move yourself forward until your chest is touching the ground. Slowly inhale and exhale at least 12 times with each breath being deep and long.

Seated Forward Bend (4)

While sitting on the floor with your back straight, stretch your legs out in front of you. With your feet touching, slowly flex your feet and pull your toes back toward your body. Slowly inhale as you bring your heels off of the floor. Raise your arms over your head and slowly exhale. Stretch forward, extending your arms and reaching out to where you can comfortably grasp your thighs, ankles, or knees. Rest your head quietly and hold for approximately 12 breaths. Breathe deeply and release stress and anxiety as you exhale with each breath.

Bridge Pose

Lay flat on your back and slowly bring your feet up towards your buttocks. With your heels still on the floor, reach down and grasp them. Slowly lift your bottom off of the floor. Keep your thighs, hips and back elevated and in a straight line. Take approximately 12 deep breaths while in this position, releasing tension and anxiety each time as you exhale.

Viparita Karani

The viparita karani or “legs up the wall” pose helps re-establish circulation and elicit a feeling of groundedness. Sit next to a wall and slowly lay flat on your back, extending your legs up and resting them on the wall. Make sure your bottom is firmly pressed against both the wall and the floor. Lay quietly with your hands at your side and your back straight, and touching the floor. Breathe deeply 10 to 12 times, inhaling and exhaling slowly. As you breathe, the impact of your legs being elevated will cause your circulatory system to begin to work harder. Focus on how your body begins to feel as you continue to breathe, allowing your anxiety to slowly be released each time you exhale.

Corpse Pose

The corpse pose is one of the simplest in all forms of yoga and requires a high level of mental participation. As you lie flat on your back with your arms at your sides, slowly inhale and exhale regularly. Starting with your feet, breathe in and allow any stress you feel in the area to dissipate. Exhale and begin to move up to your ankles. Again, breathe in, concentrating on the area allowing any stress or negativity to dissipate. Continue to move up your body focusing on each area, calves, knees, thighs, hips, stomach, etc., until you reach the top of your head. Once you reach the top of your head, breathe deeply allowing yourself to completely relax. Clear your mind and enjoy the silence.

Whether used alone or in conjunction with one another, they can be performed at various times to prevent anxiety caused from dealing with your day to day obligations.

Sources

(1) http://nccam.nih.gov/health/yoga/introduction.htm

(2) http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/yoga/CM00004

(3) http://www.webmd.com/balance/guide/which-style-of-yoga-is-best-for-you

(4) http://www.care2.com/greenliving/yoga-moves-to-overcome-anxiety.html?page=3 

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