Yoga is an ancient Indian discipline which instils mental and physical discipline in a practicing individual. Yoga was born in India, and is often associated with Hinduism, however that’s not always the case. Yoga is an ascetic discipline, a part of which involves immense control over breathing, and flexibility of body. Most of the people use Yoga as a gateway to relaxation and health benefits. The term Yoga originated from Sanskrit, and means “union”. True to its name, Yoga has proven to effectively “unite” the body, mind, and soul.
As mentioned previously, Yoga signifies the union of body, mind and soul. Not only does Yoga cure a lot of diseases and illnesses, it also proves to be an effective prevention strategy against a lot of diseases. Not only physical diseases, Yoga also cures certain mental illnesses such as depression, anxiety, etc. Here are a few points describing the importance of Yoga in one’s life:
- Yoga manages to harmonize the body, mind and soul.
- Yoga also slows down the process of aging, so you look younger than ever before.
- Yoga facilitates self-healing processes.
- Yoga helps practitioners deal with anxiety and stress in an effective manner.
- Yoga also improves one’s concentration and focus.
- Improved blood circulation.
- Yoga also aids weight loss.
- Increased body flexibility and improved functioning of the nervous system.
8 best yoga poses for relaxation:
- Balasana – Also known as the “Child Pose”
The term “balasana” is comprised of two Sanskrit words, i.e., ‘bala’ which means child, and ‘aasan’ which means pose. Balasana is also known as the Child Pose. This is one of the best yoga poses for beginners as it is simple to do, and has quite a few benefits for the body. Balasana has been known to relieve pain in the shoulder, neck, lower back, etc.
How to Perform Balasana Safely:
Balasana also has a calming and soothing effect on the mind, which means that it is an excellent pose for relaxation. Of course, one mustn’t forget that Balasana has to be performed at least 4 hours after a meal, like most yoga poses. Kneel down on your yoga mat, bring your knees together and rest your buttocks on your feet. Now, very slowly and naturally lower your torso over your thighs, towards the floor in such a manner that your forehead touches the floor, and your extended hands touch the floor as well. Keep concentrating on your breath, and hold this position for about 30-60 seconds. After having held it for a while, return back to your starting position.
Repeat this 3-4 times, and you’re golden.
- Uttanasana – Also known as the “Standing Forward Bend”
Uttanasana is an intense forward bending pose in Yoga, which helps relieve pain and stress in the spine and lower back. Uttanasana also improves the efficiency of the nervous system, which is proven by better blood circulation throughout the body. Described in simple and literal terms, Uttanasana is the “standing forward bend”. Uttanasana is the ideal pose for instant relaxation.
Uttanasana so effective in aiding weight loss that it is recommended by a lot of doctors when guiding their patients through weight loss journeys.
How to Perform Uttanasana Safely:
It goes without saying that one should do this pose only on an empty stomach, or at least maintain a gap of 4 hours. To do Uttanasana, stand with your legs feet closed. Keep your arms on the side, and then raise your hands up. With your hands raised, you should now slowly bend your torso towards the ground. Try to rest your hands on the floor, while maintaining straightness of the legs. Hold this pose for about 25-35 seconds.
As with most Yogasanas, you should concentrate on your breathing when you hold the pose. Return to your normal position. Do this 6-8 times a day to induce relaxation.
- Adho Mukha Svanasana – Also known as the “Down Dog”
Adho Mukha Svanasana is also known as the downward facing dog position or simply the “down dog”. Adho Mukha Svanasana is known to refresh the senses, as well as relaxing the mind completely. Physically, this pose stretches the shoulders, traps, neck, spine, legs, etc., among a lot of other small muscle groups. The “Down Dog” is also known to particularly relieve stress and fatigue, improve digestion and overall blood flow in the body.
Apart from the above-mentioned benefits, the Down Dog also has other benefits such as improvement in bone density, osteoporosis prevention in women, etc.
How to Perform Adho Mukha Svanasana Safely:
To do Adho Mukha Svavasana, you basically have to make an inverted “V” shape with your hips. To do this, you will first have to get on your knees and hands in such a manner that your back remains parallel to the ground. Push your hips up, with the support of your legs. Push your hips up, while straightening your legs and elbows. This will form a natural inverted “V” shape. You should ideally hold this pose for about 30-45 seconds for one repetition. Repeat this pose four or five times a day to rejuvenate yourself.
- Setu Bandha Saravangasana – Also known as the “Bridge Pose”
The Bridge Pose of Setu Bandha Saravangasana is an excellent yoga aasan for relieving stress and fatigue. Setu Bandha Saravangasana stretches the muscles in the back and legs, effectively reducing the stress that one faces. The bridge pose is also said to be amazing for toning thigh and hip muscles. This yoga pose stretches out back and leg muscles which helps in reducing muscle fatigue. Apart from all this, Setu Bandha Saravangasana also helps in controlling high blood pressure, and reducing headaches, backaches, sleep disorders, etc.
How to Perform Setu Bandha Saravangasana Safely:
Lay down flat on your yoga mat, and bend & lift your knees while your feet remain rested on the ground. Effectively, at this stage your feet should be near your buttocks, with your knee bent above. Ideally, your feet should be placed at hip-width.
Now, lift your hips up by pushing your arms on the ground. As you keep pushing your hips up, also raise your breastbone while keeping your head still, facing the ceiling. Hold this position for about 30 seconds, or longer if you can and then return to your normal position. Repeat this yogasana about 4-5 times and you’ll feel the difference within a week’s time.
- Utthita Trikonasana – Also known as the “Extended Triangle Pose”
Roughly translated from Sanskrit, Utthita Trikonasana means Extended Triangle Pose. The term Trikosana comes from two words, trikon which means “triangle” and asana which means “pose”. Utthita Trikonasana is the ideal yoga pose when you want to relieve yourself of stress, while stretching your whole body. This yoga pose is known to help with problems of the digestive system, depression, anxiety, fatigue, etc. As with the “Down Dog” pose, Utthita Trikonasana also helps prevent the onset of osteoporosis in women. Along with all of these, the extended triangle pose also helps in increasing flexibility, reducing fat, and toning the oblique muscles.
How to Perform Utthita Trikonasana Safely:
In this yoga pose, you’re basically going to have to go sideways with your arms wide open. To do that, you will first have to stand with your feet approximately 3.5-4 feet wide apart. In this position, raise your arms towards the side of your body, parallel to the ground. In this position, slide your right foot out by about 90 degrees, and bend your torso towards your right side. Use your right hand to hold your calf, while the other hand is high up in the air. Your face should ideally be turned at the neck, towards the left, and above at the ceiling if you’re bending towards the right. Hold for about 25-30 seconds and then return to your earlier position. Also, this pose has to be repeated twice for one repetition, simply because it has to be done on both right and left sides. Repeat this pose thrice every day.
- Marjaryasana – Also known as the “Cat Pose”
Marjaryasana is great for relieving stress, stretching the spine and toning abdominal muscles. Marjaryasana is also known as the “cat pose”. The cat pose is great for solving digestive problems, and is particularly helpful for women to deal with issues related to their menstrual cycle.
How to Perform Marjaryasana Safely:
To correctly perform marjaryasana, you need to get down on all fours on a yoga mat. Place your wrists directly underneath the shoulder, and the knees directly underneath the hips. In this position, you should now exhale and pull your spine inwards, so as to form a curve towards the ceiling. You should ideally also bend your neck towards the floor when performing this pose. Hold this position for about 30 seconds or even a little longer, and then return back to your original position.
Marjaryasana should ideally be done with the “Cow Pose” to reap the most benefits. Hold each of these poses for 30 seconds, and repeat it all 4-5 times more.
- Uttana Shishosana – Also known as the “Extended Puppy Pose”
Uttana Shishosana is one of the simplest, and most basic yoga poses, but is one of the most effective yogasanas to relieve the body of stress. The pose involves stretching of the shoulder, neck, back muscles and the spine, which helps relax the body. Uttana Shishosana is also known as the “extended puppy pose”, and is one of the best yoga poses a mother can use to shed those extra kilos after pregnancy. For starters, this pose helps in correcting body posture while increasing flexibility. It is also extremely rejuvenating for the mind, and also helps in toning hip and back.
How to Perform Uttana Shishosana Safely:
As stated previously, this is one of the simplest yoga poses. Get down on all fours on yoga mat, and then slowly keep lowering your chest towards the floor by sliding your arms out in the front of your body. Let your head touch the floor, and keep your neck relaxed. Hold this pose for 30 seconds, and then come back to your original position. Repeat these steps 5 or 6 times per day.
- Savasana – Also called the “Corpse Pose”
Savasana or the corpse pose usually signifies the end of a yoga session. This is undoubtedly the best pose for relieving the body of stress and anxiety. Savasana transports you to a state of complete bliss, and relieves your body and mind of stress completely. Apart from calming down your nervous system, Savasana also helps in lowering high blood pressure, and promoting better sleeping patterns.
How to Perform Savasana Safely:
To perform Savasana, you should lie down on your yoga mat, and ideally have your feet a little away from each other. Keep your arms by your side, with open palms facing the ceiling. In this position, you should now close your eyes, and concentrate on your breathing. Do this for 10 minutes, to end your yoga session on a relaxing and rejuvenating note.
Yoga is undoubtedly one of the best practices you can choose for setting a discipline, and enjoy the added benefit of relaxation. The ancient art (and science) of Yoga has quite a few poses that help deal with different kinds of stress, and in different parts of the body. Mentioned above, were some of the best yoga poses for relieving the body of stress, and instantly relaxing your body and mind. Yoga isn’t like other physical exercises, where the goal is to reach failure. In Yoga, you are supposed to do what is comfortable. The way these poses have been designed, it gradually increases strength, flexibility, etc., while working very effectively on combating stress, and giving you instant relaxation.