Using yoga as a form of stress relief has been popular for thousands of years, some say up to 5,000 years!  As a result, I thought talking a little about yoga and its ability to relieve stress would be a great complement to the (also very old) herbal remedies we’ve been talking about for the last few weeks.  After all, April is Stress Awareness Month and what better way to commemorate it than with a series of posts about some tried and true stress remedies.

Yoga Poses for Stress Relief

Cobra Pose (Bhujangasana)

This pose takes its original name from the Sanskrit word for snake ‘bhujanga’.

  1. Lie on your stomach on the floor. Stretch your legs back, tops of the feet on the floor. Spread your hands on the floor under your shoulders, keeping the palms on the floor below the shoulder blades and the elbows touching the middle part of the body. Bend the head and neck backward.
  2. Press the tops of the feet and thighs and the pubic bone firmly into the floor.
  3. Inhale, begin to straighten the arms to lift the chest off the floor, keep your legs and pubic bone/naval area on the mat. Firm but don’t harden the buttocks. Tighten the legs all over from the waist down to the toes.
  4. Hold the pose anywhere from 15 to 30 seconds, breathing easily. Release back to the floor with an exhalation.

Cat Pose (Marjaryasana)

This pose takes its original name from the Sanskrit word for cat ‘Marjari’.

  1. Start on your hands and knees in a “tabletop” position.  Bring the hands shoulder-width apart and the knees hip-width apart. Center your head in a neutral position, eyes looking at the floor.
  2. As you exhale, round your spine toward the ceiling, making sure to keep your shoulders and knees in position. Let your head drop towards the floor, but don’t force your chin to your chest.
  3. Inhale, coming back to the neutral “tabletop” position.

Salutation Seal (Anjali Mudra)

‘Anjali’ means salutation or reverence in Sanskrit and ‘Mudra’ means seal.

  1. Sit comfortably on the mat in a Siddhasana pose.  This pose is a basic yoga pose and can be achieved by sitting upright with legs crossed at the shins and your feet under your knees or thighs. Inhale and bring your palms together. Rest the thumbs lightly on your sternum.
  2. Press the hands firmly but evenly against each other. Make sure that one hand doesn’t dominate the other. If you find an imbalance, release the dominant hand slightly but don’t increase the pressure of the non-dominant hand.
  3. Bow your head slightly, drawing the neck towards the center of your head. Rest in this position for a while.