5 Poses for a Calm and Happy Mind
The first step toward relieving your stress is understanding what it is, and what it does to your mind, body and soul. The second step is unrolling your yoga mat. Yoga is not only a great stress reliever, but also helps overcome symptoms of insomnia, anxiety and depression. .
Yoga shifts the body from a state dominated by the sympathetic nervous system (the one that creates a stress response) to a state ruled by the parasympathetic system (the one that triggers relaxation). This may allow the fear-based part of the brain, the limbic system, to relax. This shift to relaxation is due to yoga's ability to soothe the vagus nerve, a major component of our emotional well-being. Studies show that people who practice yoga regularly tone the vagus nerve, which enables them to bounce back from adversity quicker and can more easily regulate emotions.
Practicing selective yoga poses regularly can help calm the mind and improve your mood. Here are a few of our favorite stress relief poses:
1. Anjaneyasana (Low Lunge Pose)-Start from a kneeling position. Step one leg forward, keep the ankle and knee in the same line. Lengthen your back leg.Reach arms out to the side and overhead. Lift your spine as you reach your heart back to create a crescent shape. Take 3 deep breaths in and out. Repeat on the other side and continue to alternate Benefits: Many people hold tension, stress and even emotions in their hips and groin. This pose stretches and strengthens the hips, front of the leg, muscles around the knee as well as the arms, neck and chest. Low lunge creates a feeling of calmness and peace.
2. Setu Bandha Sarvangasana (Bridge Pose) -Lie on your back with your knees bent and the soles of your feet flat on the floor. Extend your arms on the floor with your fingers reaching toward your heels. Keep your feet parallel as your press down into the soles of the feet to lift your hips off the floor. Slide your yoga block under your back directly under your sacrum, letting it rest on the block. Keep the arms alongside the body. Stay and breath for 1-2 minutes. Benefits: With the head and neck being lower than the heart, this pose promotes the parasympathetic nervous system. It helps open the chest for better breathing, and can aleviate low back pain.