In Yoga Journal’s online course, Yoga for Inner Peace , Colleen Saidman Yee—acclaimed yoga teacher, fashion model, and the wife of yogi Rodney Yee—offers 3 yogic practices a week for 12 weeks to transform your body, mind, and heart. Here, she demonstrates 8 poses that help relieve stress, plus a daily practice challenge in honor of National Yoga Month.
Last week I crumbled in the shower after I dropped the razor and broke off the handle. I could barely breathe as I sat down in the shower with my head in my hands. I didn’t even have enough energy to cry. What the heck? I had endured a lot in my life and a broken razor was taking me down? It had been a stressful week of deadlines that weren’t met, disappointing people that I felt were counting on me, family bad news, a broken phone, and I felt like I couldn’t even spare a couple of hours off for date night with my husband. I was running as fast as I could but was coming up short on every realm. My fuse was spent and the trigger just happened to be the razor. Can any of you relate?
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Stress demands all of our energy. When our batteries are so depleted, we can’t deal, and anything can push us over the edge. It’s like being stuck in semi-panic mode, where there is very little exhale, and the neck, head, and shoulders are likely to be tense. Yoga gives us tools to cope. When inner peace is nowhere to be found, it’s time to tune into the body. One technique is to notice where stress or panic lands in the body, and take our mind and breath there. Eventually, we want to get into a forward bend, which increase the exhalation, leading to the relaxation response. Forward bends are also restorative and move the needle of our battery back to the black. The following forward bend sequence can help address the symptoms of stress.
Daily Practice Challenge for National Yoga Month
In honor of National Yoga Month, we’re offering 7 variations of this sequence to emphasize the importance of a daily practice —and show how easy it is to vary your routine with simple tweaks. Plus, a daily yoga practice is one of the best ways to beat stress! Join Colleen for Week 1 of our Daily Practice Challenge .
8 Yoga Poses for Stress Relief
YOU WILL NEED 2 blocks
1. Easy Pose (Sukhasana) with Forward Bend
Adding a forward bend increases the exhale, leading to the relaxation response.
Sit in Easy Pose, shins crossed with your right shin in front. Come into a slight forward bend. Stay for 5 breaths, then put the other shin in front. Put your hands on the floor, then straighten both legs into a Standing Forward Bend.
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