Between getting the kids to school, yourself to work, answering emails and phone calls, organising dinner and catching up with the family, it’s understandable why we can feel overworked, tired and stressed. It’s times like these that your commitment to a healthy lifestyle can start to take a back seat. What strategies do you have in place to help you manage stressful situations?
Studies have shown that yoga can have positive effects on stress reduction among healthy adults[i]. Yoga focuses on the mind and body and involves a combination of stretching exercises, controlled breathing and relaxation. And the best news is that there are many different levels, so don’t worry, you definitely don’t have to be able to stand on your head before you can get involved.
Here are a few of our favourite yoga poses for you to try.
Knees to Chest
Beat stress by lying on your back, bringing your knees into your chest and hugging them. Slowly rock back and forth and breathe deeply to relax your lower back.
Calm the chaos in your head with this popular yoga position. Place your hands and knees on the floor, with your knees and feet hip distance apart, then sit back on your heels and reach forward with your arms and torso. With your arms stretched out, if you can, lay your forehead (support your forehead with your hands if needed) on the ground and hold for a couple of minutes to stretch your back and relax your neck.
Legs Up the Wall
Lay on your back and position your buttocks against the wall. Extend each leg up the wall and flex your feet backwards towards your body. Have your arms stretched out on the ground at shoulder height. Hold this pose for a minute while concentrating on your breathing. For a variation, widen your legs by dropping your knees outwards towards the wall and slowly stretch your inner thighs.
Erase a bad day and relax your whole body with the corpse pose. Slowly lie down on your back on the ground, extending your legs and placing your arms at your side with your palms facing upward. Focus on breathing deeply and as you breathe out try to release any tension you’re feeling and relax your muscles, try doing this for 5-10 minutes.
Need a yoga position to help relieve stress while you’re at work? Try the reverse prayer pose, which can be done while standing or sitting. With your hands behind your lower back, try to move them into prayer position, sliding your fingertips up until they are between your shoulder blades. Stay in this position for up to a minute.
Downward Facing Dog
This basic yoga pose will stretch your hamstrings and relieve stress. Begin on your hands and knees on the floor. Then, lift your knees and hips upwards, pressing your toes and heels into the floor and straightening your legs. Extend your torso and arms, creating an inverted-V shape with your body. Focus on pressing your chest to your knees with each exhale.
For more advanced poses, we recommend seeking the guidance of an instructor who can show you the correct technique for each pose.
Remember that it’s ok to take time out for yourself to relax and re-charge. Try taking some ‘me-time’ to practice these poses and you may surprise yourself and find you’re able to cope better with everyday stresses and looking after yourself and others.
For more ideas on how to de-stress during your weight loss journey, chat to a friendly Jenny Craig consultant.
[i] (Chong CS 2011)