In honor of May’s Mental Health Awareness Month and my own experiences with anxiety, here are three yoga poses to relieve stress. It is always beneficial to prioritize for our own self-care. These poses offer grounding and relaxation. They are preventative as well alleviating.
  1. Easy Pose (Sukhasana) – This pose is excellent for grounding and relieving the constant banter of our busy minds. When you are ready, come to sit in a cross-legged (or another comfortable) seated position, grounding down through your hips. Root into the ground and rise through your spine. Crown of the head toward the sky. Feel the sits-bones supported by the earth. Relax the shoulders and jaw. Position the palms on your legs – palms up for energy and palms down for grounding. If you feel comfortable, feel free to close your eyes and breathe into space. Follow your breath.
  2. Child’s Pose (Balasana) – This is an incredible pose for relaxation and self-soothing. From a kneeling position, bring your big toes together with your knees wide. Extending your arms forward, sit back onto your heels.  Activate your arms by pushing your palms into the earth. Rest your forehead on the ground and breathe deeply. Bring awareness to the expansion and contraction of your lungs on your thighs. Stay with the sensations as they arise and pass.
  3. Mountain Pose (Tadasana) This pose is fantastic because you can do it anywhere and you can do it inconspicuously! Standing with your feet shoulder-width apart, begin to rock forward and back on your feet until the movement slows to a stillness. Spread your toes and root down through your feet and rise through your spine up to the crown of your head. Lift your kneecaps and engage navel to spine. Roll your shoulders down your back and relax your jaw. Gaze is forward; eyes may be open or closed. You may choose to activate your arms and fingers toward the earth or allow then to hang loosely by yourself. Try each one and find what works for you. This may change daily or open yourself to different possibilities for comfort.

So next time you have an office meeting, you have an exam, your carpool is running late or you just want to pull your hair out, give one of these a try.  Why are these poses specifically helpful? Remember: breath is life. Breath is calming, grounding and connecting. When life feels unmanageable in the moment, bring your awareness to your breath. Pranayama or breath control is a powerful tool for decreasing blood pressure and heart rate while balancing oxygen and carbon dioxide levels in the body. AKA we calm. Love your body, your body loves you.

Namaste y’all.

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