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Do you suffer from stress? Do you ever feel overworked, tired, exhausted or lack energy? Maybe you are going through a particularly stressful period at home and lack support from your partner or family.
Feelings of overwhelm can leave you feeling stretched, undervalued and struggling to meet all the demands placed on you. When you feel like this, what do you? Do you come home and slump on the sofa and snack on fast food? Or go for a drink with your colleagues and end up spending money you do not have and panic how you are going to make it through the next few days?
If you are a yoga beginner, you have probably heard that it is good to practice yoga as a way to cope with stress and stressful situations. There are numerous health benefits from practicing yoga as a form of stress relief, these include reduced feelings of anxiety and worry, slower respiratory and heart rates and it can also help soothe tension related headaches and eyestrain.
The following simple yoga sequence is ideal for you to practice in the evenings to help you unwind from the stresses of your day. As with all exercises, please consult your doctor if you have any medical conditions and show respect and patience with your body.
1. The Child Pose. A classic yoga pose which gently stretches the whole spine and calms and soothes your mind. Kneel on the floor with your knees together and sit back on your heels. Stretch your trunk forward over your thighs and rest your forehead on the floor. Place your arms back beside your body with your palms facing up so your hands are resting by your feet. If this feels uncomfortable, spread your knees apart and rest a small cushion between your thighs and then sit on your heels and stretch your trunk forward as before. Breathe slowly and deeply for at least 2 – 3 minutes.
2. Downward Facing Dog Pose. A beautiful pose which rejuvenates the whole spine. Bringing your head low increases the blood flow to your brain and helps to clear and calm your mind. Start on your hands and knees with your knees directly under your hips and your hands in line with your shoulders, fingers facing forward. Lift your hips and stretch the legs, heels down. Press the palms of your hands down. Relax and open and broaden your shoulders. Stay in this pose for 5 – 10 breaths.
3. Mountain Pose / Tadasana. The mountain pose helps to ground your energy and teaches you correct posture, balance and encourages you to be still, steady and strong – even when your mind is all over the place. The mountain pose helps to calm and steady your nerves. Stand with your feet together. If it is comfortable for you, have the big toes, inner ankles and inner heels touching. Spread the weight evenly over the feet. Tighten your kneecaps and pull up the thigh muscles and your lower abdomen. Breathe and feel your spine lengthening, let your tailbone sink and lift in front of the body. Feel your chest opening. Allow your arms to hang down the sides of the body with the palms facing the legs, fingers gently extending towards the floor. Relax your shoulders and allow your shoulder blades to slide down. Relax your face, lengthen the back of your neck and look straight ahead. Stay steady in this pose for 3 – 10 rounds of deep abdominal breathing.
4. Corpse Pose. Lie on the floor on your back, arms stretched out a few inches from the sides of your body with the palms facing up. Have your feet slightly wider apart than your hips and relax your ankles. Gently close your eyes and allow your whole body to relax. Stay still for at least 5 – 10 minutes. Slowly stretch your body, roll over to your side and come up to a comfortable sitting position.
This simple yoga sequence is ideal for yoga beginners to help you to relax, release tension and relieve stress, especially at the end of a busy day. Enjoy!