By Faye Martins
A regular practice of Yoga poses, breathing exercises and meditation techniques is a very effective and hopefully enjoyable way to ease feelings of anxiety. There are many different Yoga poses that will help to release tension and anxiety. You may have heard about heart opening asanas (backbends), but forward bending Yoga poses are also soothing and nourishing. Forward Folds also help to calm you down because they encourage you to relax into the pose while pulling your senses inward, which allows you to rest for a few moments in your own inner essence. Forward Bending Yoga poses also allow you to curl your body into itself while protecting your heart and abdominal areas. Additionally, Forward Folds open up your hips and first chakra area, which releases stagnant survival energy and helps you to feel more empowered and grounded.
Supported Standing Forward Fold
This is a very accessible and easy Forward Fold that may be practiced in any private location. To practice Supported Standing Forward Fold, come to a wall in your home, office or Yoga studio. Place your feet approximately one foot from the wall and rest your bottom against the wall. With an exhale, slowly bend forward and hang over your slightly bent knees with your arms hanging over your head and resting gently on the floor, if your flexibility permits. Close your eyes and breath deeply and fully for several breaths. When you are ready, with your next inhale come back up to a standing position. Pause and reflect on how you feel. Do you feel quiet or energized? Is your mind clearer? Do you feel more relaxed? Notice the state of your being before moving back into your day.
Restorative Child’s Pose
This is one of the most relaxing and nourishing Yoga poses for alleviating anxiety. To practice Restorative Child’s Pose, you will need a Yoga bolster or thick blanket. You may also wish to place a blanket under your knees if you are practicing on a hard surface. If you have a Yoga bolster, place it lengthwise on your Yoga mat. If you do not have a Yoga bolster, roll a blanket up to approximate the same size and shape as a Yoga bolster. Place your knees on either side of the bolster and lay your entire torso over the length of the bolster with your arms stretched out in front of you. Turn your head to one side and rest on your cheek. Feel the support of the bolster underneath you and breathe deeply. Hold the pose for several minutes. When you are ready, slowly come out of the pose and pause for a moment and become aware of how you feel. If you have the time, rest in Shavasana for five to ten minutes after practicing Restorative Child’s Pose.
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