How do you know that you are stressed? Most cell phones can measure our stress levels if we place our index finger on a sensor and according to that, our stress levels are pretty high all the time even when we’re not feeling any strain. The level of stress you can endure is dependent upon the type of personality you have. Some individuals can walk through a major hassle without a glitch but crash afterward while others can have a panic attack.
Cortisol is the hormone that is secreted in response to a stressful state and it causes a rise in our heartbeat, blood pressure and breathing rate. All these measures prepare us to face the situation, whatever that may be. However, the current lifestyles of the civilized era have introduced different kinds of stresses in our lives that we cannot seem to undo. The overwhelming anxiety can lead to headaches, insomnia, digestive issues, unexplained aches and pains that can develop into chronic diseases.
When you are weighed down with circumstances as trivial as everyday chores, you should know it is time to destress and relax. Exercise is a great way to let go of uninvited anxiety but if you do not have time for hitting the gym, doing some yoga poses can help. The great thing about yoga is that you do little but achieve a lot.
Simple acts like taking deep breaths relax you, in yoga breath known as ‘pranayama’ or ‘life force’ nourishes your body. Clinically deep breathing activates the parasympathetic system of your body that relaxes you. According to a Harvard research, deep breathing aids at the system level of our body; it lowers the blood pressure and may change the expression of some genes.
So take a deep breath and get ready to let go of your stress with these three easy yoga steps.
1. Child Pose or Balasana
Derived from Sanskrit, bala meaning ‘child’ and asana meaning ‘pose’, Balasana is an easy pose for the beginners and is usually adopted as a resting position between more difficult yoga rituals.
Balasana helps to stretch the hips, thighs, and ankles, gently relaxing the front muscles of the body. In doing so, it passively relaxes the muscles of the back thus greatly alleviating the signs of fatigue. The cerebral benefits of this pose include a calming, soothing and aligning the brain. Apart from these benefits, as the neck and torso are supported, it relieves any tension and pain in these regions making the pose a therapeutic one. Done regularly, Balasana regulates breathing as the front of the body is supported on thighs, the ribs and abdominal muscles are slightly compressed, thus allowing the lungs to expand at the back.
Begin with your hands and knees; spread your knees wide apart with your big toes touching and your buttocks on your heels. Sit up straight and as you exhale bow forwards with your heart and chest on your thighs and bring down your forehead to the ground. With palms facing downwards, extend your arms forwards and soften your back. Keep your eyes closed, breath softly for a minute or so and then bring back your body tracing the steps backward.
2. Warrior II pose or Virabhadrasana
A standing pose, the warrior II is all about strength, stability, and concentration.
It stretches your legs, groins, and chest and imparts stamina by releasing back strains in addition to improving digestion. Warrior pose II specifically caters for stability and concentration via its physical adaptation.
Stand with your feet hip-distance apart and arms at your side. Exhale and move your feet wide apart. Turn your right foot at 90 degrees with your right toes pointing towards the top of the mat, pivot your left foot inwards. Raise your arms with palms facing downwards until your shoulders’ height, aligned directly at your legs. Bend your right knee and press back at the left leg. Keep your gaze on your right hand and draw in the abdomen, straightening the back and extending your neck. Keep at it for few breaths and then swap sides.
3. Yogi swat or Malasana
Get grounded with yogi swat or Malasana. It taps into the downward energy flow known in yoga as the Apana Vayu and it specifically brings a calming effect.
Squatting is a very powerful pose for strengthening the quadriceps, hamstring, glutei, and calf muscles of the legs, and, it strengthens the lower back and core. It eases the tension and increases the blood circulation in the lower limbs, which is often the case of sitting for a longer period.
Standing with your feet and legs apart, spread the soles and toes of both feet. Start bending your knees slowly as you exhale, once completely bent, spread your knees and move your chest between your thighs. Bring your arms forwards and move your ribs forward and then down, bringing the elbows closer to the floor. Widen your arms and reach for the heels. Hold for few breaths and return.