When I was married, I never felt that I was allowed to take time for myself and it took me too long to realize that if you do not take care of yourself no one else will. Now that I am my own boss, I have made yoga a part of my daily routine.
Yoga has become my refuge. After a yoga session, I feel all of the worries of life melt away and I am able to deal with whatever is thrown at me with grace (instead of the screaming nut I once was). Believe me, this is necessary when going through a divorce or living any kind of anxiety filled life.
Yoga is not only relaxing, but I have never felt more powerful in my life, which is a great benefit. I am in great shape and I am more flexible than I was as a teenager. Here are my favorite stress reducing poses.
1. Child’s Pose: Balasana:
This pose is a resting posture used throughout a yoga session when you feel the need for a break. It helps relax your mind and your body while giving your back a gentle stretch.
Start from Table pose on your hands and knees. Make sure that your hands are under your shoulders and your knees are hip distance apart with you feet together. Push back, sit on your heels, and rest your forehead on the mat. You can place your arms along the side of your body as shown in the photo or extend your arms in front of you and press your palms against the mat.
2. Standing Forward Bend: Uttanasana with Elbow Grab
This pose stretches the legs and spine while relaxing the head, neck and shoulders. The extra weight of the folded arms is good for releasing tension in your back muscles.
Begin standing straight with feet together or hips distance apart (whatever is more comfortable for you). Inhale and raise your arms overhead. Exhale, bend slightly at the hips, bring your arms forward and down until you touch the floor. Then grab your elbows with the opposite hands and fold over your head. You can just hang or sway side to side. To come out of this pose, release your arms then curl upward one vertebrae at a time into a standing position.
3. Plank Pose: Kumbhakasana
A great full body toning pose. Increases stamina, strengthens arms, legs, and core.
Begin on your hands and knees, wrists directly under your shoulders with feet together and toes curled under. On exhalation spread your fingers and press away from the ground bringing your body forward as you straighten your legs. Tighten abdominal muscles, arms, and legs and keep your head and body in a straight line. Look down between your hands and breathe slowly for five breaths. Release back onto hands and knees. Child’s Pose is a great pose to follow with.
4. Revolved Abdomen Pose Variation: Jathara Parivartanasana
This pose stretches the back muscles and lengthens the spine.
Lying on your back open your arms into a T-shape on the floor and bring your knees to your chest. Exhale and lower both knees to the right side and turn your head to the left. Keep your shoulders on the floor, relax and let gravity do the work. Hold the pose for five breaths, then bring your knees back to center, and repeat on the opposite side.
5. Corpse Pose: Savasana:
The final pose and a wonderful way to end a yoga session. Complete relaxation for your body and mind.
Lie on your back with your feet slightly apart and arms by your side palms up. Close your eyes and take a few deep slow breaths. Then allow your body to fully relax and just breathe for about five minutes.
Remember to listen to your body and only perform poses you feel comfortable with. The basic idea is not to rush through the poses but to spend quality time in each one. There are many different types of yoga and many websites and books to help guide you. I hope you will learn to love it as much as I have. Namaste!
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