Yoga to Calm the Mind

The Practice: 5 Yoga Poses to Calm Your Mind

By Sophie Addison
July 3, 2017

In today’s world, where people are prone to stress, anxiety, and depression, it’s more important than ever to search for ways to relax your mind. Relationships, work, school, and/or financial worries all take a toll on our bodies and minds, and yoga can be a welcome break from the pressures of everyday life. According to one study, a regular yoga practice may help you fight stress, anxiety, and depression.  While yoga overall is very useful for calming the mind, we’ve selected five poses, which, when practiced mindfully, can make a big difference in your overall stress levels.

 

Child’s Pose

This pose stretches your lower back and hips, which can be very relaxing and help decrease fatigue. To try out this pose, first sit on your heels, leaving a gap between your thighs. Then, extend your upper body on the floor, your midsection resting between your thighs, and your arms fully extended on the floor. Take several long, deep breaths in this position. This position can be held for up to five minutes, or longer if you wish.

 

Cobra PoseYoga to Calm Your Mind

This pose is challenging, but it’s very effective at the same time. It enhances your energy level and mood, and strengthens your back. For the cobra pose, lie face down, position your palms on the floor shoulder width apart. Keep your lower body and pelvis grounded at all times, then inhale and lift your chest off the floor, while your lower body stays in place. Keep your attention on lifting from your core, rather than simply resting on your arms. You can hold the pose for a number of long, deep breaths, then let your body rest on the floor as you exhale.

 

Warrior II

Yoga to Calm the Mind
There are three warrior poses. Warrior II Pose is a simple yoga pose, which can help release stress and tension. When doing this pose, let yourself be reminded of your inner strength and ability to stand strong against the challenges of life.

 

Dancer’s PoseYoga to Calm Your Mind

This is a cool yoga pose, and it’s not only for dancers. Anyone can implement this pose into their yoga routine. It’s a beautiful pose that symbolizes grace and elegance. You can do this pose with a light and happy feeling, as though you were a dancer. Not only can it release stress, but it also opens up the chest.

 

Crow PoseYoga to Calm Your Mind

This is a very effective pose, but it’s not an easy pose to try. Although it takes some time to master the crow pose, you will be proud of yourself when you finally get the hang of it. This pose can enhance your focus, strength, and concentration. When doing this pose, let the mind be happy and calm. In Sanskrit, this state of mind is called prasanna chetana, a pleasant, relaxed awareness. Having a strong mind can also help you overcome the symptoms of depression.

Mental and emotional health is just as important as physical health. When ignored, stress can affect our physical well-being, as well as our mental peace. Making yoga a regular part of your life can help you manage stress and lower the risk of stress-related health problems.

 

Sophie Addison is a blogger and skincare expert, and is passionate about sharing her knowledge. She has written about everything from wrinkles to joint pain treatment, weight loss, and fitness news. She loves to garden and listen to music. Contact Sophie on Facebook or Pinterest.

 

Interested in learning more about the programs at the Art of Living Retreat Center? Check out our annual catalog here! 

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TAGS: anxiety , art of living , art of living retreat center , calm , depression , healthy lifestyle , mindfulness , stress , yoga , yoga practice

The Practice: 8 Simple Yoga Positions for Back Pain

By Sophie Addison
April 6, 2017

If you suffer from chronic back pain, then yoga could help you find relief. A systematic review published in the Journal of Orthopedics & Rheumatology concluded that yoga was a safe and effective back pain remedy. This ancient practice, which combines gentle stretching with deep breathing and meditation, can help address back pain from multiple angles. And while the perfect yoga sequence will combine different postures to help stretch every major muscle, you probably want to keep your focus on your achy back for now.  Here are 8 easy-to-do yoga poses known to mitigate back pain.

 

Cat/Cow Pose

Yoga for Back Pain
This gentle stretching exercise is the perfect way to warm up for more challenging poses. To start the cat-cow stretch, first, you need to get on all fours. Make sure that your wrists, elbows, and shoulders are aligned, and your knees are set below your hips. At an inhale, life your tailbone and chest upwards while your belly moves towards the floor. Slowly exhale, rounding your spine towards the ceiling while keeping your knees and palms firmly on the floor. Repeat ten times.

 

Triangle Pose

Yoga for Back Pain
Because one of the main focuses of yoga is balance, it’s a good idea to balance out the previous posture with spine stretching in the opposite directions. Triangle pose will help you do just that, by allowing you to stretch your lower spine from side to side gently. Start the pose by standing straight, then place your left foot out. Turn your chest towards your left side, stretching your left arm towards the ground and your right arm towards the ceiling. Keep your knees straight during each movement. If you feel comfortable enough, look up towards your right and and hold the position for 5-15 seconds. At an exhale, return to the initial position and repeat on the other side.

 

Upward-Facing Dog

Yoga for Back Pain
Lie prone, with the tops of your feet on the floor. Now, bend your elbows so that your palms are placed beside your waist. Inhale and press your palms on the floor to straighten your arms while lifting your torso as well as your hips just a few inches from the floor. Do not tighten your buttocks or push your ribs forward, as this only strains the lower back. This pose is very effective for back pain relief, as well as improved flexibility, according to a study published in the Journal of Physical Therapy Science. 

 

Child’s Pose

Yoga for Back Pain
This pose helps ease upper and lower back pain while also providing stress relief. To get into this pose, kneel on the floor and sit on your heels. Separate your knees wide apart, and at an exhale, lay your torso towards the floor with your hands above your head. Gently stretch your arms forward as much as you can, and hold this position for up to 15 seconds. This is essentially considered a resting pose, and is perfect to use between more difficult postures. However, this pose may not be suitable if you are pregnant.

 

Supine Twist

Yoga for Back Pain
Another relaxing pose that will help release your lower back and improve overall spinal mobility. Lay on your back, and place your knees on your chest. Gently turn your knees to your right side with one leg resting on the floor and the other laying on top of it. Turn your head to the opposite direction, and spread your arms wide apart at a 90-degree angle. Remain still as long as you like, and repeat on the other side. This relaxing pose is perfect for those with lower back pain, as well as neck stiffness and shoulder pain.

 

Downward-Facing Dog

Yoga for Back Pain
Downward-facing dog stretches all major muscle groups while also gently extending the spine. The pose is also said to open the chest and help build upper body strength. Start the pose by placing yourself on all fours but with your hands slightly in front of you. Start lifting your knees and tailbone towards the ceiling. Push your upper body towards the floor the stretch the upper back and hold the position for up to a minute, breathing deeply. The pose is considered safe, but you may want to skip it if you suffer from arthritis, due to the added pressure on the hand and ankle joints.

 

Locust Pose

Yoga for Back Pain

The locust pose will provide you with a deep stretch in your back, while also firming your buttocks. This is also the only posture in this sequence to involve a back bend. Start by lying flat on your stomach with your forehead pressed against the floor. Place your hands behind you and at an inhale, lift your head, torso, arms, and legs away from the floor. Stay in this position for as long as you feel comfortable, and unlock at an exhale.

 

Eagle Pose

Yoga for Back Pain
You need strength and balance to tackle back problems completely. This is why we’ve included the eagle pose here, but also because this pose helps stretch the shoulders and upper back. Stand straight up, bend your knees slightly and lift your left foot, placing it behind your knee and keeping your balance on your right foot. Place your arms right in front of you, your upper arms parallel to the floor, and your forearms wrapped around each other.

Back pain is the most common type of pain, accounting for the majority of doctor’s visits. Taking pain medication can help ease back pain, but you will experience some side effects. This is why it is a good idea to take a more natural approach to treating back pain, such as with regular yoga practice. The postures listed here provide gentle stretching to the back muscles, helping improve posture and reducing the stress caused by back pain.

 

Sophie Addison is a blogger and skincare expert, and is passionate about sharing her knowledge. She has written about everything from wrinkles to joint pain treatment, weight loss, and fitness news. She loves to garden and listen to music. Contact Sophie on Facebook or Pinterest.

 

Interested in learning more about the programs at the Art of Living Retreat Center? Check out our annual catalog here! 

Yoga Retreat Catalog for NC

TAGS: art of living , art of living retreat center , back pain , beginning yoga , healthy lifestyle , yoga , yoga practice

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