The lazy days of summer are drawing to a close, and as things start amping back up at work and school, it’s easy to get a little bit overwhelmed and very stressed out. No matter what your source of anxiety, these yoga moves will help you relax, refocus, and release some of that pent up tension.
1. Controlled Breathing
This is a great way to start your practice. Sit in a seated, cross-legged position. Lengthen your spine as you inhale, and as you exhale place your hands on your knees, palms facing up. Take a moment to think about the intention of your practice and relax into the seated position.
On your next inhale, breathe in deeply to a slow count of four, but don’t exhale just yet. Hold your breath for four counts, then exhale for a slow count of eight. Repeat this controlled breathing for up to a full minute to calm your mind.
2. Downward Facing Dog
Come onto your hands and knees, and on your next inhale, straighten your legs, so your body forms an inverted V. Let gravity pull your heels toward the ground, and leave your neck in a neutral position.
Relax into this posture, letting gravity release built up tension in your neck and the backs of your legs. You can hold downward dog for 10 deep breaths or up to five minutes! Start out with what’s comfortable for you, and work up to holding the pose for a bit longer as you practice more.
3. Extended Puppy
Move back to all fours, then walk your hands out in front of you and lower your chest toward the floor with your bottom still in the air. Rest your forehead on the floor, breathe, and relax. Feel the muscles lengthening along your spine and in your neck. Hold this for 10-15 deep breaths.