Stress affects us all and sustained chronic stress can wreak havoc on all systems of the body. Luckily there are simple yoga techniques that will help to calm frayed nerves and stretch the major muscles of the trunk and legs to alleviate the pain of tense muscles.
Make a soft fist with the thumb tucked inside. Turn palms down and rest on knees.
Benefits: Calms nervous system, facilitates breath in lower abdomen
Practice Tips: Use when feeling anxious or insecure
Contraindications: Low blood pressure
Nadi Shodhana (Alternate Nostril Breath)
Inhale through right nostril, exhale through left nostril, inhale through left nostril, exhale through right nostril, repeat for 10 rounds at a time, monitoring the effects.
Digital Method: With right hand touch index and middle fingers to forehead, close right nostril with thumb and left nostril with ring finger in the sequence above. Do not turn head toward hand but bring hand in front of face. This method has a stronger affect and is best done in a seated position.
Psychic Method: Breathe in and out through alternate nostrils using your imagination. This method has a subtler affect but is easier to do lying down.
Benefits: Balances the sympathetic nervous system (fight or flight) and the parasympathetic nervous system (rest and digest), increases communication between the right and left hemispheres of the brain.
Prasarita Padottanasana (Wide-Legged Forward Bend)
Stand with feet wide apart. Bend forward from hips placing hands between feet. Release spine forward with crown of head facing floor.
Hold up to 1 minute, then return to standing by drawing hands onto hips and lifting entire torso up as a single unit.
Therapeutics: Intense hamstring stretch, opens back of body
Supta Balasana (Supported Child's Pose)
Kneel straddling a long bolster. Place a second bolster over first with end of bolster in front of your low abdomen. A third bolster can go under the far end of the second bolster or use a folded blanket or block to support under it. Extend front of body over second bolster and rest forehead on backs of hands. Rest up to 5 minutes.
Therapeutics: Creates a calm, grounded space to get away from the demands of daily life