7 Yoga Poses To Banish Stress

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Stress and mood swings are in high gear — especially depression and anxiety, which appears to be on the rise.

According to the World Health Organization, 300 million people around the world have depression16.2 million adults in the United States (that equals 6.7 %!) have experienced a major depressive episode in the past year. Nearly 50 % of all people diagnosed with depression are also diagnosed with an anxiety disorder.

And, if you think, “that’s not me, ” it is also estimated that 15 % of the adult population will experience depression at some point in their lifetime.

It is also true that not all levels of challenges may show up in this way. It is no coincidence that self-help books, natural mood stabilization supplements (i.e. CBD oil), and even stress balls are everywhere. Even your local convenience store sells them.

You probably know someone who is struggling with the oppression from the cloud of stress raining down on her. Maybe it is even you. It can feel exhausting at it’s best and debilitating at it’s worst.

There are many reasons that stress can impact you. How you perceive a situation, your unique chemical breakdown in the brain, and even the foods you choose to feed your body — it is much more complicated than it appears. And, you are a human living a very different experience than the human next to you. Exercise does seems to be a prescription that helps most.

Looking at depression and anxiety specifically, it is really a result of long-term stress and mental fatigue. This is exactly why certain styles of exercise are so effective. Running, for example, has been linked to being just as effective as psychotherapy in treatment.

But, not everyone likes to run or should be running. You may respond better to exercises that bring you into a parasympathetic state and help to lower your stress levels. If part of your main struggles revolve around too much stress and/or adrenal fatigue, practicing a stretching or yoga program may be the perfect combination.

If you feel stuck and struggle with seeing an end to the depression, nervousness, fears, and worries, then a meditative stretch may just be what the doctor ordered. Yoga, in particular, helps by calming the nervous system, decreasing heart rate, lowering blood pressure, slowing the breath and relaxing the muscles. Gentle body movement can boost the brain’s dopamine level and provides endorphins (dopamine is the precursor of serotonin). Yoga redistributes the blood flow, oxygenates the entire body and improves the function of the circulatory system.

Even though this light activity can give well-needed relief, choosing specific poses or stretching positions can enhance the effects. Here are 7 to help decrease stress:

(Click on each title below to discover how to perform each exercise)

Mountain

This is a good warm-up exercise because it revitalizes your system and lifts your spirit. It also creates a sense of empowerment and stability (two areas that significantly decrease with depression and anxiety).

mountain_pose

 Reverse Warrior

Reverse Warrior pose helps relieve lower back pain and creates an alignment throughout the body. It stimulates blood flow to all parts of the body. Since it calms your soul, it also helps to alter your mood. Reverse Warrior helps to improves self-esteem and perseverance.

reverse_warrior

Downward Dog

Downward dog enables fresh blood to flow into your body. It strengthens your abdominal muscles and improves your digestion. A calm belly is a happy belly. It also stretches the neck and cervical spine, releasing the stress in them, thereby reducing anxiety and calming your entire being.

downward_dog

Cobra

Cobra pose stretches out the abdominal area/core and awakens the fire within your soul allowing you to concentrate and focus better. It increases energy and decreases anxiety as it strengthens the back.

cobra_pose

 Shoulder stand

Shoulder stand is an inversion pose and that allows for blood to flow into the brain, bringing you a feeling of vitality. It also helps to relieve irritability by quieting and nourishing the nervous system. If you have neck issues, be careful with the pose or don’t do it at all.

shoulder_stand

 Fish

This pose is used to counterbalance the shoulder stand, so follow shoulder stand with fish. Fish pose helps stimulate the pituitary and pineal glands located in the brain — therefore also regulating emotions and provides a sense of well-being.

fish_pose

Child’s Pose

Child’s pose helps calm your brain. It gently stretches your lower back and hips, enabling your body to relax even more. Peace and calm take over your entire being, helping you deal with your stress better.

childs_pose

Learning new ways to exercise and to open up your energy, to strengthen the right muscles, and allow your body to connect into the mind may be exactly what you need to help ease some of the stress. 

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