Unfortunately, stress is part of modern life. We all experience stress and need to find ways to relieve the buildup of tension to reduce the impact that stress has on our bodies and our lives. These three simple yoga stretches and breathing exercises will help restore your sense of inner calm, balance and release the negative energy.
1. Half-Spinal Twist
Take a seat on the floor with your left leg out straight as you bend your right knee and cross it over your left thigh and place your right foot flat on the floor next to your left knee. Place your right hand flat on the floor behind you with your arm straight as you raise your left arm straight up above your head. Now twist to the right, focus on keeping your buttocks on the floor. Slowly bring your left arm around the right knee to hold your right ankle. Hold this position as you remain still and focus on your breathing. Hold for a minimum of 3 -5 cycles of steady deep breathing. Relax and return your body to center and repeat on the opposite side.
2. Seated Forward Bend
Remain seated on the floor with your legs straight out in front of you and toes pointing up. As you inhale slowly and deeply, raise both arms straight above your head and stretch your spine upward. Now lean forward from your hips, keeping your back straight grab your legs as far down as comfortable. Allow your head, neck and shoulders to relax and keep your eyes looking forward. Hold for a minimum of 3 -5 cycles of steady deep breathing. As you inhale, stretch your arms upward and repeat the pose once more.
3. Cobra Pose
Lying face down on the floor, bring your heels and legs together while keeping them relaxed. Place your hands flat on the floor beneath your shoulders as you tilt your head forward until your forehead touches the floor. While keeping your elbows and shoulders tucked in at your sides, inhale and slowly raise your head, neck and chest off the floor using only the muscles of your upper back. Press your hips down into the floor and only lift your upper body. Breathe slowly and deeply for 3 – 5 cycles. Relax and repeat.
The half-spinal twist, seated forward bend, and cobra pose are an ideal combination of yoga poses to practice when you feel stressed out. Take a few minutes to stretch and release any built up stress and tension in your body and return to a relaxed and balanced state.