If it’s been a busy day and looks like it’s gonna be another late night, you’re likely feeling the effects of the constant stress mounting up and know you need a stress reliever. But with looming deadlines and unexpected demands, so much for getting to the gym for your workout or outside for a run. Which really stinks because you could really use the stress relief right now! Even thought the situation isn’t optimal, there’s still hope! If you have 2-10 minutes you can give your body and mind a brief break. Even if you just have 1-2 minutes, there’s a yoga pose or two you can do that can have an immediate effect on your sense of well-being.
Yoga to the rescue!
These few yoga poses are so simple and adaptable, you don’t even need to change clothes or keep a yoga mat handy, or anything! You can do them right now; many of them from your desk chair or really anywhere you have space to stand!
Opens the chest, releases stress and sadness, increases feelings of happiness and well-being.
1. If you are in your desk chair, simply reach for the lower back of the chair and lean forward. Take 3-5 breaths. Notice the stretch and opening of your chest.
2. If you are standing, reach behind your back and either press hands toward each other or clasp hands by interlacing fingers. Draw yours shoulder blades toward each other and notice the stretch in your chest. Take 3-5 breaths.
Releases the low back and hamstrings, refreshes blood flow to the brain, soothes the nervous system.
1. If you are standing, soften your knees and hinge forward right at the hips, keeping your spine nice and long. As you fold forward soften the knees until you are able to rest your ribs on your thighs and then relax your head towards the floor.
2. If you are seated, scoot back in the chair and fold at the hips, resting your upper body on your thighs. Keep relaxing forward and let your arms and head hang toward the floor.
Equal ratio breathing
Soothes the nervous system, increases efficiency of oxygen/carbon dioxide exchange. This one can be done anytime, anywhere – even in a meeting or driving your car.
1. Notice your breath. Don’t try to change anything just yet. Just notice.
2. After a few breaths, begin to count how long each inhale and exhale is. And notice if one is longer than the other.
3. If this is the case, lengthen the shorter one so that each inhale and exhale are the same length.
4. Continue this for as long as you like, 1-10 minutes.
5. For even more relaxation, increase the count of both by one. So if you were inhaling/ exhaling for equal counts of 4, increase them both to 5.
6. For video instruction on breathing techniques, check out this video:
Something you may notice is that your stress manifests in different ways. Sometimes you may feel anxious and nervous – this is an “airy” expression. Other times you may find yourself irritable and argumentative – this is a “fiery” expression. And still other times, you may feel so overwhelmed that you don’t want to do anything at all – this is an “earthy” expression of stress. Learning and understanding more about these three expressions can help you combat stress with even more specific breathing techniques and yoga poses. You can dive deeper into this study in the YogaFit for Balancing Moods, available in-person and online via Zoom. YogaFit.com for more info on this and other courses.
Yoga is a great tool to use anytime anywhere – designer yoga clothes are not required! Any time you take a few moments to care for yourself, you are equipping yourself to also better serve your country and give your best to friends and family. Enjoy!
You can dive deeper into this study in the YogaFit for Balancing Moods Training, available in-person and online via Zoom. Go to YogaFit.com for more info on this and other courses.