Incorporating a few moments of reflection and meditation into your day can help you escape anxiety and regain focus. We’ve picked out the six best yoga poses for relieving tension and building strength along the way.
1. Lotus Pose – Padmasana
Lotus is the traditional pose for meditation. By adding an arm bind, you’ll instantly feel a deep stretch in your shoulders, traps and lats; many people carry stress in these areas of the body, which builds up throughout the day. Feel that tension melt away while you focus on your breathing.
2. Upward-Facing Dog Pose – Urdhva Mukha Svasana
Up Dog is one of the gentler backbending poses. It is said to have therapeutic benefits in addition to promoting strength in the arms, wrists and spine. Some people believe Upward-Facing Dog can help alleviate symptoms of depression, fatigue and sciatic pain.
3. Child’s Pose – Balasana
Generally considered a resting pose, balasana allows you to decompress the lower spine in a soft forward bend. The pose also provides a gentle stretch to the hips, thighs and ankles. Perform child’s pose to calm the mind and body and return your breathing to a steady state.
4. Low Lunging Pose – Anjaneyasana
Also known as the crescent lunge, the low lunge pose utilizes every muscle in the body. You’ll recruit your lower body and core for stabilization while actively reaching arms into the air creates a lengthening stretch from the torso up. The hip flexors, in particular, get an excellent stretch in this position, and the offset lunging pose requires balance and physical calm to perform.
5. Pigeon Pose – Eka Pada Rajakapotasana
Pigeon pose is an intense hip-stretching posture. It can take some getting used to, but after practicing pigeon a few times you’ll begin to feel a lightness in your hips and the ability to fold even deeper into the pose. Pictured is an advanced pigeon pose, where the back leg is lifted to create an even deeper stretch in the quadriceps; this pose calls on increased core stability to keep you from falling over.
6. Side Plank Pose – Vasisthasana
Side plank has great benefits for core strengthening, but it also forces you to concentrate on technique and posture whenever practicing it. Extend an arm up toward the sky, contract the muscles in your back and try to keep the chest open. Deep breaths in this balancing posture promote calm, body awareness and focus.