With all the stresses of life it is hard to find ways to let go. I hear it in my Woodbridge, Dale City Virginia chiropractic office all the time. We all wind up picking up different stresses throughout that eventually beat us down. Chiropractors work with all aspects of a patient’s health and being able to let go of those stresses help you spiritually feel better, which in return can physically make you feel better.
Through asanas (postures), meditation, relaxation and breathwork, yoga helps students deal with fear, change, uncertainty and other factors underlying their stress, anxiety and depression, increasing their coping ability. By focusing on the present moment and not on the mistakes of our past or the potential problems ahead in our future, yoga encourages us to accept change and uncertainty as necessary elements that take us to the next step in our evolution. We experience fear when we don’t trust that things will work out, but as we go through life, we learn that things do work out…even if not in the way we expected. We also learn to love and appreciate ourselves—and to trust ourselves. Yoga teaches us to notice our unique personal gifts and contributions to this world and to accept them as features that distinctively make us who we are.
Asanas for Relief of Stress, Anxiety and Depression:
Consider incorporating one or a few of these postures into your daily routine to assist in relieving distress.
Legs Up the Wall (Viparita Karani) helps calm anxiety and release depressing thoughts.
– Sit sideways with one hip touching the wall. You can sit on a bolster or folded towel or blanket for back support.
– On an exhale, roll onto your back and extend both legs up the wall.
– Flex the feet and press through the heals, drawing your feet toward the ceiling.
– Push down through the hips and pull the hips toward the floor.
– Draw the backs of the thighs toward the wall.
– Soften the throat and draw the base of the skull away from the neck, creating space. You can place a rolled-up washcloth at the base of the skull.
– Allow the arms to relax, palms facing up at the sides of the body or overhead.
– To exit the posture, gently roll the legs to one side and lift the upper body from the floor.
Standing Forward Bend (Uttanasana) calms the central nervous system.
– Stand tall with feet hip distance apart. Inhale to reach the arms and crown of the head toward the ceiling.
– Exhale, and reach forward through the arms and crown.
– Draw the shoulder blades down the back, and draw the belly toward the thighs – heart towards the knees.
– Reach the palms around the legs to the backs of the ankles or shins. Bend elbows to draw the upper body in toward the lower body.
– Let the head and neck relax and hang.
– With each inhale, draw the hips into the air and the crown of the head toward the floor.
– With each exhale, use the bent elbows to pull the upper body toward the lower body. Work to stretch the legs.
– To exit the pose, draw your hands to your hips, stretch the spine, and lift the head forward and up with a flat back.
Child’s Pose (Balasana) provides a feeling of security and calming in the mind.
– Drop onto the hands and knees and let your hips glide back over your heels. For extra padding, place a blanket or towel under the knees or between the thighs and calves.
– Gently lower the forehead to the floor.
– Allow the arms to walk back beside the body so the palms face up near the feet. Let gravity pull the fronts of the shoulders toward the floor.
– Stay in the posture for 30 seconds to several minutes, slowly inhaling and exhaling.
– Notice any thoughts or feelings that come up, and allow yourself to sit with them.
– To exit the pose, use the strength of the back to gently lift your torso away from the floor.
Happy Baby (Ananda Balasana) – In addition to opening the back, this posture releases stress and encourages calming. Smile as you roll from side to side in the posture for a playful approach to relaxation.
– While lying on your back, pull the knees in and to the sides of the rib cage.
– Reach the palms of the hands under the feet and grasp the soles of your feet with your hands.
– Flex the feet, and simultaneously press the heels into the palms as the hands pull down on the soles of the feet.
– Extend the hips and crown of the head away from the body.
– Draw the base of the skull away from the neck, stretching the neck and spine.
– Breathe for 30 to 60 seconds.
When selecting a yoga teacher or class, take the time to determine what you are looking for. Depending on your personality and approach to handling stress, the following types of yoga may be beneficial:
Yin yoga – Often considered the moon phase or calming side of yoga, it focuses on holding postures for a longer period to stretch and exercise the bone and joint areas of the body and allow for emotional release.
Restorative yoga – A nurturing approach to yoga that draws from Yin and typically uses many props to ensure comfort, relaxation and release during practice.
Yang yoga – Often considered the sun phase or energetic side of yoga, it includes practices such as vinyasa, power or ashtanga. The focus is on alignment as you move more quickly through a series of postures stimulating muscle and building strength. While this is not traditionally considered a gentle or relaxing approach, it may provide an outlet for excessive energy.
Yoga therapy draws on a mix of yoga philosophy and psychology to assist students in identifying and dealing with deeper issues. Yoga believes that we hold many emotions and feelings in our body, which often leads to pain or discomfort, and that by working through the physical practice, we can find and confront the emotions that are causing such problems.
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Woodbridge VA 22192
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