Yoga Poses to Help Refresh Your Mind…
Namaste my beautiful yogis! The popularity of this 5,000-year-old tradition has skyrocketed in the US as men and women across the country swarm to their gym’s yoga classes to reap the physical benefits that yoga promises. The meditative aspect of yoga, however, opens up any yoga practitioners to the restorative properties yoga can have on calming your soul and refreshing your mind. Here are 5 poses you can do anywhere to help refresh your mind for the week ahead!
Childs Pose – Balasana
To get into child’s pose, begin by taking three deep breaths while bent over on your hands and knees. Slowly lower yourself so that your buttocks is resting on your heels. Depending on your flexibility, you may widen your knees as far as you’d like to deepen the pose until you are in a position where you feel comfortable. Drape your upper body over or between your thighs so that your third eye- aka your forehead- is resting gently on the mat. You may place your arms however you like, but for deeper relaxation, place your arms along the sides of your thighs with your palms facing up.
Close your eyes and center your breath. You may hold this position as little or as long as you’d like. To come out of the pose, gently walk your hands to your torso until you are upright and sitting back on your heels. Child’s pose is a deeply soothing pose famous for relieving stress and restoring balance and equanimity. The action of resting your third eye on the mat centers, calms, and soothes the brain to aid with relaxation unlike any other.
Lotus Pose – Padmasana
Undoubtedly one of the most recognizable yoga poses, lotus is a staple to any yoga class and for good reason too. Lotus pose prepares the practitioner for deep meditation and has been traditionally known for its calming effects on the mind and body.
To get into lotus pose, sit on the floor with your legs extended in front of you and with your arms resting at your sides. Carefully bend your right knee and place your right ankle on your left thigh so that the sole of your foot is facing the ceiling. Then, repeat with your left leg so that your left angle is on your right thigh and the sole of your foot is facing the ceiling. Lengthen your spine, rest your hands on your knees with your palms facing the sky, and focus on your breath for a minute or so.
When you are ready to get out of the pose, simply extend your legs and return to your initial pose. Lotus pose may be difficult to get into if the practitioner is not yet flexible enough. If you find yourself in pain or struggling to get into lotus, half lotus is an alternative pose that only brings one foot onto the thigh while the other foot is folded underneath it (much like sitting crisscross-applesauce the way you did in kindergarten).
Legs Up the Wall – Viparita Karani
As wacky as this pose may seem, legs up the wall is one of the best poses for deep relaxation. Apart from bringing relief to the legs, feet, and spine, this pose has been praised by ancient texts claiming that it destroys old age. Although it may not actually destroy old age, legs up the wall has been proven to relieve anxiety, headaches, insomnia, and mild depression.
To get into legs up the wall, grab a bolster or a firm pillow and set it against the wall you will be using. Begin by sitting next to the wall with the left half of your body against the wall and your lower back against the pillow. Slowly lower your upper body and rotate your body to he left so that you legs are propped up onto the wall. Extend your legs and adjust the pillow so that it is resting underneath your lower back. This provides the pelvis with extra support and releases some of the strain on your spine. You may choose to sit as close to or as far from the wall as you would like depending on your flexibility. Widen your legs into a V position to get a deep leg stretch. To get out of the pose, simply slide your legs along the wall until they are resting on the floor, and sit up.
Corpse Pose – Savasana
Savasana is another classic pose for any yoga class and is crucial when closing your routine. As simple as it seems, many yoga instructors agree that this is one of the most difficult poses to master due to the necessity of its practitioners to truly empty and relax their minds without falling asleep. Corpse pose has been shown to align your body and helping you to relax while reducing headache occurrences, relieving fatigue and insomnia, increasing energy levels, and much more.
To get into yoga pose, simply lie on your back with your legs extended and your arms resting at your sides. Relax your feet and place your hands about six inches away from your body with the palms facing up. Consciously relax every inch of your body, from the bottom of your toes to the crown of your head and invite peace into your mind. You may stay in this pose as long as you please, and to exit the pose, simply deepen your breath to bring back awareness and sit up.
Reclining Bound Angle Pose – Supta Baddha Konasana
This classic restorative pose is perfect for taking the load off after a long day. It can be adjusted to any flexibility level for the practitioner’s comfort. To get into the pose, begin by sitting on the floow with your knees out and your heels together (this is called Baddha Konasana). Take three deep breaths and slowly release your body so that your back and torso are resting on the floor. You may choose to place a pillow or other support underneath your lower back as you would with Legs on The Wall Pose. Your knees should be facing opposite directions and your heels should still be together.
If you feel uncomfortable because your knees cannot touch the floor, simply place supports, like more pillows, underneath them. To get out of the pose, walk your hands up so that you are sitting straight again.