Yoga Poses for Stress Relief

Hey. Tough day? Let’s face it, stress is inevitable. Sometimes it’s hard to shake off.

I’ll let you in on a (not so) secret; yoga has a calming effect when practised regularly. But did you know that even if you don’t vinyasa (yoga flow) 24/7, you could still relieve stress by doing these 5 foolproof yoga poses that you can easily do at home (or anywhere really if the people around you don’t mind):

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Easy Pose

Steps:

  • Sit on the floor, cross your legs at the shins. Place each foot underneath opposite knee.
  • Relax your knees and place your hands on top of them. You have the option to place your palms face down on your knees or take a mudra (a gesture used in meditation), just like what I’m doing on the photo.
  • Align the head, neck and spine. Keep a soft gaze ahead or you can close your eyes.
  • Hold for 1-2 minutes and swap the cross of the legs.

Pukka Yoga tips:

  • If you have issues with your hips, try to prop your bottom on a pillow or on a thick book. This allows you to create space and eases your hips.
  • You can also try touching your thumb to index finger, then thumb to middle finger, thumb to 3rd finger and so on. This could assist you to focus on your body mindfully.
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Downward Dog

Steps:

  • Take a table top position by stacking your shoulders above wrists and hips above knees.
  • Slowly tuck your toes, straighten your legs and lift your hips to the ceiling. Aim to press the soles of your feet on to the ground.
  • Spread your fingers and distribute the weight evenly to relieve pressure on the wrists.
  • Relax your head and bring your gaze towards the navel, or towards the space in between the legs.
  • Take 5 long deep breaths in and out thru the nose, then release back to table top. Repeat as necessary.

Pukka Yoga tips:

  • You can bend the knees slightly if you have lower back and hamstring issues.
  • If you have wrist problems, you can take your forearms down to the ground and take a Dolphin pose instead.
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Child’s Pose

Steps:

  • Start in a kneeling position.
  • Allow your hips to sit on your heels. Hinge your chest towards the thighs and rest your forehead unto the floor.
  • Option to place a pillow between back of thighs and calves for comfort.
  • Relax shoulders down and rest arms alongside the body.
  • Hold for 1-2 minutes.

Pukka Yoga tips:

  • If you have lower backaches, take your knees to touch when you do the pose. This stretches the lower back and relieves pressure.
  • If your thighs are getting in the way of your breathing, take your knees apart.
  • You can also use a pillow or anything soft to support your forehead instead of directly putting it on the ground.
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Legs-Up-The-Wall Pose

Steps:

  • Sit against the wall, and roll unto the back. Take your legs up the wall.
  • Ensure that your bottom is pressed really close to the wall
  • Take your arms away from your body.
  • Hold for 5 minutes.

Pukka Yoga tips:

  • If you get tingly legs, bend knees and allow soles of the feet to touch bringing them closer to your upper body yet still resting on the wall.
  • Option to take arms overhead and grab opposite elbows to get a good stretch on the shoulders and chest.
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Reclined Bound Angle Pose

Steps:

  • Lie down on the floor, and take the soles of the feet to touch, making a diamond shape with your legs.
  • Allow the knees to flop down.
  • Take one hand on the belly, and other hand on your chest. Take deep breaths. Start noticing the rise and fall of your upper body as you breathe.
  • Stay for a period of time that feels comfortable.

Pukka Yoga tips:

  • If you have a lot of space between the knees and the floor and you find it uncomfortable, support your knees with pillows.

 

As you get into these poses, try to concentrate on your breathing. Use this opportunity to reinforce a positive message to yourself. Keep bearing in mind that you are where you need to be and everything will just fall into place. Stress is temporary.

 

What are your favourite ways of reducing stress?

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Disclaimer: If needed, please seek medical advice before attempting any of the poses.

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