I often remind people during the classes I teach that it doesn’t matter if your pose isn’t perfect- afterall it’s just yoga. We are doing it to help us relax- not cause additional stress because our downward dog has room for improvement. We all have anxiety and stress that slips into our everyday life. Take a few minutes and drop into one of these poses the next time you feel anxiety creeping in.
Here are 5 poses I like to revisit time and time again to ground me in what really matters when it comes to my practice:
Tree: The name says it all. Trees are grounded and connected to the earth below them and yet their trunks and branches sway freely- we could all benefit from emulating a tree. The secret to an awesome tree is to stretch your toes. I even like to draw a pencil between my toes before practice to energize and wake up my feet.
Stand tall. Focus on the grounding connection of your feet with the floor. Hold for three minutes while focusing on the breath. Don’t worry about swaying or the waves of balance that come and go… trees sway. Focus to reduce anxiety: “I am grounded.”
Half-moon: Come into a triangle. Allow the hand that is on the bottom to come to your knee without putting any weight on in. Lift up your back leg, flex your foot and open the hips. Extend your arm and open your heart. I wonderful modification to give you more stability is to use a wall for support. Focus to reduce anxiety: “I am open.“
Seated Forward Bend: Sit and extend your legs out in front of you. Flex the feet to keep the legs strong. Extend the arms overhead and inhale deeply. As you exhale bring your belly towards the thighs. Soften the head down to feel the stretch in your neck. Observe the difference between the right side and the left side of the body. Soften the shoulders and surrender to gravity. Focus to reduce anxiety: “I surrender and let go.“
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