Summertime and the living’s been easy. But the chill vibes of summer are about to fade into the actual chill of fall, which means fewer Fridays off and more rigid schedules. But taking a few moments to yourself each day to stretch and focus on your breathing can weed out worries.
“Yoga is an excellent form of stress relief and stress management,” said Brittany Wall of Emerge Yoga & Wellness in Massapequa. “In the hustle and bustle of Long Island life, there are few opportunities for people to actually slow down and connect to their bodies.
Wall shared five yoga moves to reduce stress.
Wide-Legged Forward Fold (Upavistha Konasana)
Why it works: From a seated position on the floor, extend both legs wider than 90 degrees. Inhale. Sit tall to extend the spine and draw shoulders down from the back. Exhale. Walk fingertips forward in front of the hips to forward fold. Continue to move hands forward if flexibility allows without rounding the spine.
How to do it: “Wide-legged forward fold lengthens and stretches the muscles at the backs of the legs, alleviating tension from the lower spine. This forward fold also calms the nervous system and relieves stress, allowing the body and mind to relax.”
Child’s Pose (Balasana)
Why it works: “Connecting the center of the forehead (what’s often referred to as the ‘third eye’) to the ground gives a signal to the brain and nervous system that you are safe. Child’s pose has an instant calming effect on the body and brain.”
How to do it: Get into a tabletop position with shoulders directly above wrists and hips above knees. Exhale. Sit hips back onto knees. Bring arms alongside torso with backs on the hands of the mat and elbows softly bent. Hinge forward at the hips and relax the forehead down to the mat.
Legs Up the Wall (Viparita Karani)
Why it works: “[This move] is an excellent way to experience the many benefits of inversions in a more passive way, [such as] increasing blood circulation toward torso and head, which promotes a sense of clarity. This pose also relieves tired, cramped legs and feet, making it the perfect way to unwind at the end of a long day!”
How to do it: Start seated with one hip pressed up against the wall and knees bent. Feet should be on the floor. Inhale. Lift one leg up onto the wall and then the other. Exhale. Relax the shoulders and head lightly down to the floor. Relax the arms alongside the torso with palms facing up.
Reclined Goddess Pose (Supta Baddha Konasana)
Why it works: “[It’s] a great way to release tension from the lower back and facilitate a gentle stretch across the hips and body…It promotes a sense of receptivity and openness while combating our tendency to round the shoulders forward, which closes off the heart center and often causes pain and muscle tension across the upper back.”
How to do it: From a reclined or supine position, bend knees into the chest. Inhale. Bring the soles of the feet together. Exhale. Allow the knees to splay out to the sides and rest the pinky toe sides of the feet on the floor. Relax the inner thighs and feel the front of the pelvis soften. Rest arms alongside the body with palms facing up.
Corpse Pose (Savasana)
Why it works: “This final resting pose is a way to allow your yoga practice to integrate and fully feel the benefits of the practice. These benefits include reducing fatigue, headaches, lower blood pressure and [stress relief].”
How to do it: From a supine or reclined position, extend legs long and allow feet to splay out to the sides. Extend arms alongside the torso with palms facing up. Relax the back of the head into the floor and soften the eyes closed.