I have a love/hate relationship with the phrase "Just relax". Arguably, it should be that easy. But if it were that easy we'd never be stressed right? The thing is, even if our heart is in on the whole relaxation thing, our brain often doesn't know how to come along for the ride.
All too often we look to Netflix, a glass of wine, scrolling social media, ice cream, or some other external way to help us deal with feeling stressed, but these external buffers can sometimes exacerbate the stress we feel. They keep our minds active, enable us to seemingly avoid the stress instead of release it, and can bring along their own set of stressors at times.
A huge part of managing and reducing stress is giving your mind some space to turn off the chatter and your body some time to metabolize the hormones that produce our stress response in the first place. Yoga provides accessible tools available any time, anywhere to do just that.
Check out 3 simple poses that reduce stress and leave you feeling calm, centered, and clearheaded.
Child's pose (Balasana) is great for getting out of your head and into your body. This is right where you want to be when you're feeling stressed. This resting pose centers, calms, and soothes the brain. The inward fold of the body, with the eyes looking back towards you, sends a signal to your brain that you’re safe, and that it’s OK to rest, making it a therapeutic posture for relieving stress. It's also great for the adrenal glands, which work overtime when we're stressed.
Seated (or standing) Forward Fold
Forward folds, seated or standing, create space between each and every vertebra, increasing circulation to all those nerves that send message to and from the spinal cord. This extra space not only helps them do their job, but it soothes the system, helping us get out of the flight or fight mode stress can cause. It also gives us a moment to turn our gaze inward, physically and emotionally, tuning in to how we're currently responding to stress and giving us pause to consider how we'd like to show up instead.
Didn't expect hand yoga, did ya? If you've never heard of mudras, think of them like yoga poses for your hands. Different areas of the hands are connected with areas in the body and the brain. Yoga mudras stimulate different areas of the brain and create or closing a specific energy circuit in the body, helping to direct the energy we feel and generate a specific state of mind, all at the same time. Gyan mudra is the most commonly known mudra and is believed to help increase concentration, knowledge and memory.
Stress affects us in different ways, but is always accompanied by the release of hormones like adrenaline and cortisol. Using yoga to manage and reduce your stress gives your body time to metabolize those hormones, lowering the amount of them coursing through the body, relieving physical tension as well as the feelings stress inspires like fear, anger, overwhelm, to name a few.
As you learn to manage your stress response you'll become better able to identify your stress triggers in the first place. When you come across a stress trigger, try taking 2-3 minutes for yoga or breathing first, before it takes you over.
What are your favorite yoga poses or other tools to manage and reduce stress?
I'm Tonia, a Midwesterner transplanted to Colorado. I'm a mom of two lovely littles, a yoga instructor, DIY-er, teacher, stay at home mom, and a doTERRA Wellness Advocate. I blog about a little bit of all of these and everything in between!
Are you looking for natural health options, but don't know where to start? Book a 1-on-1 appointment with me! We'll spend about 30 minutes getting to know your health goals and concerns, learn a bit about doTERRA, and go over the most commonly used oils that meet your needs. You don't have to buy anything, but if you see something you like, of course I can help you!