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10 yoga positions to relieve anxiety
Here are 10 beneficial postures to relieve the tensions of the body and the spirit. They are explained by Vanessa Salvatore, veteran yoga instructor (hatha / ashtanga, restorative and pre-natal yoga, yoga for cancer survivors) and yoga teacher for stress and anxiety management at the Center for Psychology. Montreal .
“Yoga helps to get rid of certain automatic behaviors and thoughts, often related or dictated by anxiety. It is therefore an excellent stress management tool, accessible to all-provided you adopt a regular practice. It is also important to take the time to assimilate postures properly to practice safely, “she says.
Material: Comfortable clothing, no socks, a yoga mat, 2 blocks, a strap and a pillow (optional). Some positions can be done using a wall.
Breathing: Try to pay attention to your breathing throughout these postures. Inhale and exhale gently and deeply through the nose, mouth closed but relaxed. Allow yourself a break at the end of each inhalation and expiration. Note that in most positions, inspiration is a resting position and exhaling, moving or moving.
Frequency: Begin practicing this routine 2-3 times a week If possible, try doing a daily routine either early in the morning, in the afternoon or before bedtime.
Balasana (position of the child)
Instructions: Make sure you have a rug under your legs. Get on your knees, feet parallel. Your ankles should not point outward but rather tend inward.
Inhale and, on the exhale, drop your rear ischia (bone that support you in a sitting position, noticeable in the glutes) on your heels. Your belly and your chest rest along your thighs. Your arms are lying in front of you, hands extended and flat on the carpet, palms down.
Benefits: Releases tension in the back, shoulders and chest and gently relaxes the hips, thighs and ankles. Helps relieve stress and anxiety, encourages easy and regular breathing.
Supta padangusthasana (stretching position of the stretched leg)
Instructions: Lying on your back, place both feet against the wall in front of you, feet apart at hip width.
Make sure to keep the natural curve in the lower back and back of your neck.
Inhale while pushing against the wall with the soles of your left foot.
On the exhale, bend the right leg, place the strap around the heel and hold the strap with both hands.
On the next expiration, slowly lighten the right leg.
Repeat on the other side.
Benefits: Relaxes the nervous system and stretches (while opening) the hamstrings, hips, and groin.
Virabhadrasana I (position of the warrior I)
Instructions: Start standing in the mountain posture (tadasana): the back straight, the feet apart at the width of the hips, shoulders relaxed, arms along the body.
Make sure the soles of your feet are firmly anchored to the ground, gently squeezing their ends into the carpet. Inhale and lift your arms straight over your head.
Exhale and step back the left foot at a 45-degree angle to your body, while moving forward and bending the right leg so that it forms a right angle, knee over the ankle and parallel feet.
Repeat on the other side.
Benefits: Relaxes the chest (chest and lungs), shoulders, neck, belly and groin. By opening the upper body, this posture facilitates breathing. It also strengthens and stretches the shoulders and arms, back muscles and thighs, calves and ankles.
Prasarita Padottasana (position of forward flexion while standing legs apart)
Instructions: Standing in the mountain position (tadasana), place both hands on the hips. Spread the legs, make sure the ankles are placed under the wrists, at the same distance. Squeeze your feet firmly in the rug and stretch your legs.
Inhale, lengthen your spine and, on the exhale, lean the upper body forward, head down.
Place your forehead on a chair or block.
Make sure the skin of your forehead is moving downward, directly from your nose.
Hold the position and breathe deeply.
Benefits: Strengthens and stretches the back, the inside of the legs and the spine. Calm the brain and increase blood flow to the upper body
Uttanasana (position of the stork)
Instructions: Standing in the mountain position (tadasana), place both hands on the hips. The feet are spread to the width of the hips. Pressing your feet firmly into the mat, stretch your legs. Inhale, lengthen the spine and, on the exhale, lean forward.
Place your head on a chair or block. Make sure the skin on your forehead is moving down towards your nose. Stay here and breathe.
Benefits: Calms the brain and helps relieve stress. Reduces fatigue and anxiety, relieves headaches and insomnia. Stretches the hamstrings, calves and hips while strengthening the thighs and knees.
Baddha Konasana (butterfly position)
Instructions: Sit on your carpet or against a wall, with your back straight, both legs outstretched in front of you. Be seated on your two ischia.
Exhale, bend your knees, bring your heels as close to your pelvis as possible, then drop your knees to the sides while pressing the two soles of your feet together.
Benefits: This posture relaxes the body and promotes healthy circulation in the pelvis and lower abdomen. It also helps to slow down and deepen breathing.
Instructions: Sit on your carpet, legs on the floor and stretched out in front of you.
Place two blocks behind you, flat and horizontal, so that one block is under your head and the other under your shoulder blades as you lie down.
Place your hands next to you, on each side of your hips.
Inhale, gently squeeze the mat with your hands and on the exhale, lie back on both blocks.
Keep your legs active (tight, bent dowels).
Rest and breathe deeply here for a few minutes.
Benefits: Opens the upper body and chest, frees the spine and stimulates the sympathetic nervous system.
Viparita karani (position of the half-candle)
Instructions: Close to a wall, sit on your side, so that it is on your right or left. Place your ischions (buttocks and back of the thighs) against the wall, using your hands as needed to get as close as possible.
Exhale and place your legs against the wall, letting the shoulders and head rest gently on the ground.
Bend your knees and press your soles on the wall. Lift your pelvis and slide a block below your sacrum.
This position should allow you to rest: make sure you are resting on the top of your shoulders and not putting weight on your shoulder blades or your neck.
Benefits: Relieves tired and tense legs and feet. Slowly tightens hamstrings, anterior torso and back of neck. Relieves mild back pain and soothes the mind.
Supta Matsyendrasana (position of torso stretching left and right)
Instructions: Lie on your back, arms outstretched on each side (perpendicular to the body), knees bent.
When exhaling, move your pelvis to the left and drop your knees to the right.
Gently turn your head in the opposite direction to your knees.
If you need a support for your knees, place a block or pillow underneath.
Make sure your head is gently turned in the opposite direction.
Rest and breathe deeply in this position.
Benefits: This position stretches the muscles of the back and glutes. It relaxes the hips and back, allows the spine to stretch and realign. Twisting also promotes blood flow to the abdominal organs, improving the health and function of the entire digestive system.
Shavasana (rest position)
Instructions: Lie on your back, arms along your body and slightly apart, palms up to the sky. The legs are also apart, the feet relaxed, falling on each side to the outside.
Place a pillow or block under your head. Close your eyes gently, relax your face and rest.
Benefits: Calm the brain, relax the body and help relieve stress.
This position allows your body to fully rest and absorb all the benefits of the positions practiced.