Strike a yoga pose to strike down stress

Jan 05, 2009

When hyperventilating sometimes seems the only option to stress, Petri Brill has a healthier suggestion: yoga.

"Yoga is not just a practice of poses, but of your breath work," says Brill, a Dallas certified yoga instructor. "The practice of slow, controlled, rhythmic breathing helps bring down blood pressure, rest the heart, clear the mind, energize the body and relax the muscles. Combine this with some relaxing yoga poses, and peace and serenity are just around the corner.

We asked her for poses to help ease stress. Yes, poses even those of us with the flexibility of a pencil can do. Here are five: Do one or two or all five poses for a deep inhale and exhale of a minute or two. Or longer.

Or, as she puts it, "You never want to stay and struggle in a pose. Feel the benefits; you don't want to feel like you're going to pass out or rip in half."

1) Bridge Pose. This is designed to calm the brain, rejuvenate tired legs and relieve spinal tension.

To do it: Lie on your back with your feet hip-width and flat on the ground. Press down with your feet; lift your glutes, hips, pelvis and back off the ground. Keeping your arms flat, with your shoulders on the floor, lock your fingers under your glutes. Inhale and exhale.

2) Standing Forward Bend. This stretches tight hamstrings and relieves tension in the hips and lower back.

To do it: Stand straight, feet hip-distance apart. Exhale and bend, bringing the crown of your head toward the ground. You're far enough when your hamstrings are stretched, but not tight. Put your right hand on your left elbow; release and switch.

3) Seated Spinal Twist. This helps aid digestion and opens up the spine to release tightness and tension.

To do it: Sit comfortably cross-legged. Inhale, bringing arms overhead and pressing palms together. As you exhale, twist to your left. Reach your left hand behind your back to the ground. Put your right hand on the outside of your left knee. Use it to leverage the twist to your left, taking your gaze over your left shoulder. Repeat on the right side.

4) Salutation seal. This helps reduce anxiety and stress, calms the brain and clears the mind.

To do it: Sit cross-legged. Relax shoulders back and down. Draw chin slightly toward chest. Bring palms together. Take 10 deep, rhythmic inhales and exhales.

5) Seated forward bend. This brings energy to the body, improves digestion and helps insomnia.

To do it: Sit on the floor, legs extended. As you inhale, bring your arms overhead. As you exhale, reach up and out, slowly folding over your legs. Hold the position, making sure your shoulders and neck are relaxed. Deeply inhale and exhale a few times. Inhale, slowly rising up to sitting position.

___

© 2008, The Dallas Morning News.
Visit The Dallas Morning News on the World Wide Web at www.dallasnews.com/
Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.

Explore further: Self-reported daily exercise associated with lower blood pressure, glucose readings

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Crops help to drive greater seasonal change in CO2 cycle

Nov 19, 2014

Each year in the Northern Hemisphere, levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) drop in the summer as plants inhale, and then climb again as they exhale and decompose after their growing season. Over the ...

How dinosaurs shrank, survived and evolved into birds

Aug 01, 2014

That starling at your birdfeeder? It is a dinosaur. The chicken on your dinner plate? Also a dinosaur. That mangy seagull scavenging for chips on the beach? Apart from being disgusting, yet again it is a ...

Recommended for you

Tooth loss linked to slowing mind and body

1 hour ago

The memory and walking speeds of adults who have lost all of their teeth decline more rapidly than in those who still have some of their own teeth, finds new UCL research.

Hot flashes linked to increased risk of hip fracture

6 hours ago

Women who experience moderate to severe hot flashes and night sweats during menopause tend to have lower bone mineral density and higher rates of hip fracture than peers who do not have menopausal symptoms, according to a ...

Core hospital care team members may surprise you

6 hours ago

Doctors and nurses are traditionally thought to be the primary caretakers of patients in a typical hospital setting. But according to a study at the burn center intensive care unit at Loyola University Health System, three ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.