Best Yoga Poses for What Your Mind and Body NeedsJune, 2021
Whether you’re looking to feel the burn with an energetic flow or wind down before bed with gentle stretches, yoga has many uses and benefits like decreasing stress and improving overall wellness. Practicing different movements that are in tune with your needs can help strengthen your mind and body connection. These poses can help when you need them most.
When You Need to Energize
As you’re fumbling out of bed or before you reach for a second cup of coffee, energizing yoga poses can help stretch away some of your exhaustion by increasing flexibility in your spine and stretching your chest to encourage blood flow.
Upward Salute: Stand tall with your feet evenly planted on the ground. Inhale and raise your arms up toward the ceiling, palms facing each other and look toward the ceiling. Engage your arms and fingertips as you hold for 3-5 breaths and bring your arms back down on an exhale. For more of a stretch, clasp your hands together and add a backbend.
When You’re Feeling Stressed
Yoga is a powerful way to destress. If you’re feeling overwhelmed or anxious, some yoga poses can promote calmness and decrease cortisol levels – the stress hormone. Ease into a feel-good pose to calm your mind and body and practice mindfulness.
Standing Forward Fold: From your neutral standing position, bend your knees and hinge forward from your hips, placing your hands in front of your feet. Engage your core and exhale as you fold while shifting the weight to the balls of your feet. Bend your knees slightly if you need. Grab hold of each elbow with opposite hands. Focus on softening your jaw, neck, around your eyes, and clearing thoughts from your mind. Hold the pose for five breaths, then slowly rise back up.
If you have the time, your mind and body could benefit from this 20-minute stress relief yoga workout.
When You Need to Wind Down
If you’re tossing and turning or just want to wind down before bed, yoga is a great way to prepare your mind and body for a good night’s rest by adding in mindfulness, breathing awareness and movement. Avoid any high-activity forms of yoga that elevate your heart rate. Try gentle body postures and breathing techniques to encourage relaxation.
Reclined Butterfly: Lie on your back, press the soles of your feet together and let your knees fall to either side. If you need extra support, you can use a pillow under each knee. Place one hand on your heart and the other on your belly. Focus on slowly breathing from the belly up on your inhale and from the chest down to the belly on your exhale, like a gentle wave.
Bookmark these poses for when you need them or follow a guided yoga video for a more in-depth flow!