By Hope Zvara
No matter what age you are, the word stress is widely known. I teach kids yoga, and when I ask if they know what stress is, they often give just as good of an answer as an adult would.
Why is it we get so stressed anyway?
Are we taking on too much?
Are we strapped too thin?
Are we a perfectionist?
Are we feeling unbalanced and out of our body that the idea of feeling or living any other way just seems, well...too stressful to consider.
Yoga has helped me a great deal with the handling of stress and the management of the side effects of stress.
Anxiety, restlessness, bursts of anger, depression, irritability, sleeplessness, brain fog, tension, tightness, pain. I could go on and on, but this is a blog not a book.
So to help you on your path here are three of my favorite poses to help banish stress. Now mind you, if you have never done anything like this, note to self, that you may feel more stressed or anxious at first because it is new and different. But I assure you that the edge will soften and you can find peace.
Devotional Pose. This pose is such a surrender for me. When I go here I instantly let go. Feeling my breath on my face and as I work to slowly widen my knees I relieved to feel such space (even if it doesn't look like it). the freedom of my body letting go into the safety of the floor for a few minutes is all I need to feel a bit more like myself.
Legs Up With Support Pose. This pose is a go to for the physical symptoms of stress alongside the emotional and mental ones. The feeling of my sacrum flat to the hard floor and my spine realigning without the stress of gravity is truly liberating. Here I let go, here I totally give in to the fact that in that moment I am only human and not superwoman, and that is O.K. In doing this and feeling my body in this pose I am able to collect myself enough to get up and go again. What often starts out an just a minute easily ends up as ten-and I'm not complaining.
Seated Forward Bend Pose. This pose is often used in yoga therapy to help manage depression. The feeling of bowing forward for me brings an ease to my mind even though my hamstrings and spine feel tight. My warm breath against my thighs brings me full circle to the simplicity that I am O.K. the way I am and as long as I am truthful, honest and working to the best of my ability-that's enough. I use to pull in this pose, and then wonder why my hamstrings strained. Be gentle to yourself, so life can be gentle back to you. Stay here as long as you need and feel free to bolster up on your legs to give your spine the ultimate rest spot.
Making things drawn out and complicated only stresses us out more. Sometimes you just don't have the time, or the mental discipline to hop onto your mat for an hour practice-and that is O.K. But what I have discovered is that one pose really does help. Really! But the catch is you do have to do it!
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