We all suffer from stress or anxiety at some point – and if you’re a type A person like me, you know how hard it can be to unwind.
The good news is there are things you can do!
After practicing yoga for the last year, I’ve found there are certain poses that do the trick pretty quickly and easily. My favorite poses for stress busting are called inversions.
Inversions are poses that put you upside down in some way. There are many benefits to doing inversions including activating the parasympathetic nervous system – which causes you to feel a sense of calm and clarity. They also encourage blood flood through the body, improving circulation.
Another thing about being upside down is that you feel a bit vulnerable.
Vulnerability is a good thing – it’s important to find comfort in being uncomfortable. It teaches us to face tough situations.
Here are a few inversions to try the next time anxiety sneaks up on you. Just be sure to warm up by doing a few stretches first!
#1: Dolphin Pose
Start on hands and knees, with your wrists directly under your shoulders and your knees directly under your hips. Lower your elbows to the floor directly underneath your shoulders, keep your forearms parallel to each other. Tuck your toes and lift off the floor reaching your pelvis upward, like you would in Downward Dog.
Begin with your knees bent, then slowly straighten your legs (or keep your knees bent if you have tight hamstrings). Relax your head and keep your gaze to the floor.
Hold for five breaths then release.
#2 Forward Fold
From standing straight up, bend forward at the hips to lengthen the front of your torso. Keeping your feet hips-width distance apart, grab hold of opposite elbows, allowing your head to hang heavily.
Press your heels into the mat. DO NOT to lock your knees or hyperextend your hamstrings in this pose.
Keep your hips over your ankles and hold for five to eight breaths.
#3 Legs Up the Wall
Lying on your back, bend your knees with your feet flat on the floor. With your arms alongside your body and your palms on the floor, press your palms down and bring your knees into your chest.
Straighten your legs as you begin to raise your hips up. Bend your elbows and slide your hands onto your lower back for support. Make sure your feet are above directly above your head.
Press your elbows and the backs of your arms onto the mat for support. Hold for five to eight breaths.
The next time you feel stressed out try going upside down! Not only will it physically help your body but it’s also fun!