3 Poses to Help You Manage Stress

3 Poses to Help You Manage Stress

 Supported Child’s Pose

This a wonderful restorative pose that encourages a sense of quiet and security, invites deep connection, and helps relieve low back discomfort as well as menstrual cramps . (If you have chronic back pain, disc disease, nerve issues, knee injuries or are more than 3 months pregnant, this pose may not be for you. As with any physical/exercise program you should always consult your doctor before trying a new practice.) 

Basic set up

  • Place a bolster (or use 2 pillows stacked one on top of the other or 3 to 4 rolled-up blankets to make a bolster) on the floor lengthwise. Place a blanket folded in half or a pillow across one end of the bolster to act as a pillow for your head.
  • Wedge a yoga block or a thick book under the pillow-end of the bolster to raise the area where your head will rest (about a 45 degree angle is good).
  • Sit on your shins facing the bolster with your knees slightly separated, straddling the bolster between your thighs (about hip-width apart). Point your toes straight out behind you. If your knees or ankles are sensitive, place a blanket under your shins with the tops of your feet off the blanket edge. You can also sit on a yoga block, thick book or firm pillow.
  • Fold forward, resting your torso on the bolster. Your belly and chest should be completely supported by the bolster. If they are not, add more blankets until they are easily resting on the bolster.
  • Release your tailbone toward your heels. Your spine should have a nice even roundedness from the back of your head to your tail with your tail slightly lower than your head.
  • Allow your arms to rest easily either alongside the bolster or wrap them underneath the bolster.
  • Turn your head to one side making sure your head and neck feel supported. Remember to turn your head to the opposite side halfway through your stay in the pose.

Go Deeper

  • Breathe slow deep breaths, allowing your shoulders to melt away from your ears. Feel the breath massaging the back of your body.
  • Allow your belly to soften and release onto the bolster.
  • Close your eyes and pay soft attention to the rhythm of your breath.
  • Enjoy the sense of quiet and introspection.

    Stay here, letting go and relaxing anywhere from 2 to 4 minutes.

 Viparita Karani (variation with legs on chair)

This a wonderful pose to help relieve tension in your feet, legs, and low back.  Plus, by placing your head lower than your heart, you stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system, inviting a deep sense of quiet to your nervous system and mind. (if you have low back issues, reflux or are pregnant this may not be the pose for you.

As with any physical/exercise program you should always consult your doctor before trying a new practice.)

Basic Set UP

  • Place a chair at the edge of your mat. 
  • Fold 1 blanket so it makes a rectangular shape about 7 inches wide and 24 inches long – or use a bolster.
  • Stack one folded blanket on top of the other.
  • Roll onto your back and onto the blanket set-up so that your legs rest on the chair, your hips are on the blanket and your spine and neck are on your mat.
  • Make sure your spine and neck are fully supported.  If you need support, feel free to add an additional blanket.
  •         Make sure the curve in your low back is fully supported.  Your tailbone will gently drop toward the ground into the space between the chair and the blanket – your tailbone should not be not touching the ground, however.
  •         Your arms can either release out to the sides or make a cactus shape.
  •         Allow the back of your neck to lengthen by softening the chin towards the throat.  This will help activate the parasympathetic nervous system – the more quieting, restful part of our nervous system.

Go Deeper

  • Notice your legs draining of tension.
  • Feel your thighbones melt into your pelvis.
  • Feel your spine lengthening and releasing with each breath in and each breath out.
  • Watch and enjoy the rise and fall of your breath.

Lie here and rest anywhere from 5-15 minutes

Savasana

  • Lie on your back (if you have back issues or are more than 3 months pregnant try lying on your side, knees bent with a blanket or two between your knees/shins).
  • Place a pillow or folded blanket under you head.
  • Roll up a blanket or use a bolster and place it under your knees.
  • Feel free to cover up.
  • Rest your arms by your sides.
  • Close your eyes.
  • Breathe gently and steadily allowing each part of your body to rest and relax.
  • With each breath, soften more and more  - inviting your mind to gently watch the rise and fall of your breath.

Stay here 5-20 minutes letting body rest, letting your mind quiet, letting your nervous system calm down.

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