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4 Simple Yoga Poses Help Relieve Stress

Whether it's tight shoulders, a tense spine, or a seemingly never-ending headache that can make you sleep restlessly at night. And numerous scientific studies have shown that yoga can effectively relieve physical and mental stress and improve physical health. Some gentle asanas are perfect for bedtime practice, which allows you to tone your whole body, release muscular tension, and ease the pain. Also, yoga can lower the levels of cortisol or stress hormones, helping you fall asleep faster and ending stress-caused insomnia.

Yoga Poses for Stress Relief

Cat Pose/Marjaryasana

Cat pose, a prep for forward bends, is commonly paired with Cow pose (as mentioned below) to warm up your body and strengthen your core. As one of the simplest backbends, it is the basic one for many other postures. 

Yoga Poses for Stress Relief

Pose Benefits

+ Gently massage the spine and belly organs.
+ Warm up your spine, shoulders, and hips.
+ Stretch your back and neck.

Step by Step Instructions

+ Start on all fours (hands and knees), then make sure your hips are directly over your knees and your wrists are under or slightly ahead of your shoulders.
+ Spread your fingers and press down firmly through the base of your fingers and fingertips.
+ Exhale and draw your belly up and in, round your spine toward the hanging lamp, and drop your head towards the bed or mat into cat position. Also, remember to lift your side waists and tuck the tailbone.
+ Actively push down with your hands and feel the stretch in your shoulder blades. At the same time, always keep your hips over your knees and your arms straight.
+ Finally, as you inhale, return to your neutral starting position, or better, move into Cow pose on your inhalation.

Practice Tips

+ Keep the wrist creases parallel to the front of the mat.
+ Do not move the wrist too far from your shoulders.
+ The key point is to round your spine, tuck your tailbone, align your hips and release your neck.

Cow Pose/Bitilasana

Cow pose, as a counterpose to Cat pose, helps stretch the chest & torso and warm up the spine. With a few minutes of Cat-Cow poses, you will relax your tight muscles quickly. 

Yoga Poses for Stress Relief

Pose Benefits

+ Warm up your spine, shoulders, and hips
+ Relax your tight muscles.
+ Stretch the chest and torso.

Step by Step Instructions

+ Start on all fours (hands and knees), then make sure your hips are directly over your knees and your wrists are under or slightly ahead of your shoulders -- the same as Cat pose.
+ Spread your fingers and press down firmly through the base of your fingers and fingertips -- the same as Cat pose.
+ Inhale and lower your belly to arch your back. Also, lift your chin, chest, and hips. And extend your collarbones.
+ Make your eyes gaze up and keep the back of your neck long.
+ Finally, as you exhale, return to your neutral starting position, or better, move into Cat pose on your exhalation.

Practice Tips

+ Before starting or after finishing, rotate your wrists or shake your hands out.
+ Go better with Cat pose (Cat-Cow pose).

Child’s Pose/Balasana

Child’s pose, a forward fold pose, can be used as a resting pose any time to relax the full body.

Yoga Poses for Stress Relief

Pose Benefits

+ Give your mind and body a break.
+ Stretch your hips, thighs, lower back, ankles, and knees.

Step by Step Instructions

+ Kneel on the bed or mat and sit back on your heels. At the same time, make sure your big toes touch together and your knees have a separation distance about as wide as your hips.
+ Exhale and bring your head down. Rest the forehead on your mattress or mat. And inlay the torso between your thighs.
+ Slightly tuck in the chin, allowing the cervical spine to extend to keep the base of the skull away from the back of the neck.
+ Extend your hands toward the front of your head with your palms facing down. Then sink your shoulders and feel the shoulder blades widen.
+ To finish, return to the original sitting status and keep spine neutrally.

Practice Tips

+ Stay in this pose for up to 5 minutes.
+ If necessary, use some soft things under your knees or ankles.

Legs-Up-The-Wall Pose/Viparita Karani

Legs-up-the-wall pose is an inverted pose type, helping relax your whole body.

Yoga Poses for Stress Relief

Pose Benefits

+ Calm and relax your mind and body.
+ Boost circulation and help reduce swelling or varicose veins in the lower extremities.
+ Release lower back tension.

Step by Step Instructions

+ Sit on the mat facing the wall. Lie on your back and place and straighten your legs up to the wall comfortably.
+ Adjust the position with your hips close to the wall or a few inches away.
+ Position your arms comfortably (maybe alongside your body with palms up or down, or place one hand on your chest and one hand on your abdomen).
+ Relax your shoulders, arms, and legs. Feel the spine stretching.
+ At the end, bend your knees, roll to one side and sit up after a few seconds.

Practice Tips

+ Stay in this pose for 5-15 minutes.
+ Better to use blankets/pads under your head and hips to maximize the benefits of this pose.

This guide/article is for informational purposes only and should not replace the professional advice from your doctors and medical consultants.

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