3 Yoga Exercises to Relieve Stress and Anxiety
We live at a time where more than ever, we are extending our energy to many different channels in our life – work, friends, family, partner etc. These are busy times for how we maintain and manage our energy! With more reason, it is important to recharge and nurture our Self regularly. The main obstacle seems to be that we may not always have time to do so and feel the full effects.
I’m a strong believer in keeping everything practical, especially when it comes to our health. In the long-run, this is an investment of our time towards living a life where we can be fully connected to our Self – on a physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual level. The more we take care of our Self, the more energy we have to give to those around us.
The good thing is that it doesn’t have to take long to invest in our health and well-being. There are ways to add simple and quick exercises that will make all the difference to us. I want to share 3 easy yoga exercises that take less than 5 minutes to do!
As always, listen to your body and go at your own pace with each exercise. The main goal for these exercises is about bringing awareness to what is coming up for you, not needing to suppress your thoughts. In fact, allow this space for anything that comes up to be present.
• You can use a journal to explore what comes up for you and release it in a safe space. Try writing every time you finish your yoga exercises.
• Start with just 3 minutes a day for a week. You can slowly increase your time afterwards by the same amount each week (for example: add 5 minutes for the following week). You can use a timer to keep track along the way.
• You can do this at any time. I recommend that you try this in the morning so you set the energy tone for the rest of the day!
• If anything challenging comes up, use your breath to release it as you exhale deeply. Imagine that your challenging emotions and energy are being released this way.
3 Quick & Easy Yoga Exercises To Try
Alternative nostril breathing
Our breath is one of the most fundamental reasons that we are alive right now. Connecting and exploring the quality of your breath is a sure way to keep your body and energy levels balanced, especially as most of us tend to breathe shallow throughout our day.
Sit in any comfortable seated position. Relax the body and breath naturally for a few moments, allowing your mind and body to settle.
Rest your left hand on your lap or knee.
Make a peace sign with your right hand. Fold the two extended fingers toward the palm or rest them lightly on the bridge of your nose. Place your thumb gently onto your right nostril. Place your ring and little fingers gently onto your left nostril.
Close your eyes and begin by softly closing your right nostril (using your right thumb) and inhale slowly, deeply, smoothly, gently and without strain through your left nostril.
Close your left nostril (using your ring and little fingers) and release closure of your right. Exhale through your right nostril. Inhale through your right nostril.
Close your right nostril and release closure of your left. Exhale through your left nostril.
This completes one round. Continue the pattern from steps 4-7 for as long as you wish. When you’re finished: relax both arms, sit and breathe naturally for a few moments before opening your eyes.
Meditation for emotional balance
Our emotions can tell us so much about our Self. For many of us, we tend to shift our emotions. Keeping in tune with our emotional Self and releasing what no longer serves us, allows us to be in a space where we can be neutral and observe what is going on.
This is a great regular practice to calm your stress levels, to get in touch with your emotions and slow everything down.
Before practicing this meditation drink a glass of water.
Sit in Easy Pose. You can also use support by sitting on a pillow or block.
For the arms and hands, place the arms across the chest and lock hands under the armpits, with palms open and against the body. Raise the shoulders up tightly against the earlobes, without cramping the neck muscles. Gently tuck your neck in.
Close your eyes throughout the meditation and breathe deeply. Notice how your breath becomes slower.
This a very grounding position to hold. It also works to connect deeper to your intuition, wisdom, and Identity. Use this if you are in need of grounding, to feel strongly present in your body and to enhance your intuitive Self.
Bring the right foot forward so that the feet are 2-3 feet apart. The right toes face forward while the left foot comes to a 45-degree angle, with the heel back and the toes forward. The left leg stays straight and strong as the right knee bends until the thigh is almost parallel to the ground (do not let the knee go beyond the toes); tuck the tailbone.
Curl the fingers of both hands onto the palms, thumbs pulled back. As if pulling back a bow and arrow, lift the right arm up, extended forward parallel to the ground, over the right knee. The left arm, bent at the elbow, pulls back until the fist is at the left shoulder.
Gently tuck the chin in. Gently push the chest out. Feel this stretch across the chest area.
For the eyes, direct your gaze in the direction of the thumb and beyond.
Hold this yoga position for 3 minutes on each side.
Hope these exercises have you feeling more relaxed and calm!
Breathe Easy, Queens (and Kings)!
Tera Kaur is a TCK (Third-Culture-Kid) and International yoga and meditation teacher for Tera Kaur Yoga (www.terakauryoga.com). She is currently based in Barcelona and London. When she's not teaching on the beach or local parks of Barcelona, she loves to spend her free time writing for OM Barcelona (www.OMBarcelona.com) and travelling and hiking.