If you have been following me on social media, then you know that I have been practicing yoga. My practice method is 2-3 times a week, and sometimes I’ll post the transitions I’m practicing on IGTv (Check my Instagram for “Self-Care Sundays”). I’ve been enjoying getting to learn more about how it can help improve my physical and mental health. Regular discipline and practice have increased my ability to find inner peace and salvation. Oh, and did I mention that I’m not an expert at this? Although I am not as trained as some, I’ve still gained a bit of knowledge about the art of yoga. We all don’t have to be Yogis!
Being at home for five/six months has taken a lot of adjustment for all of us, and it steadily affects my mind and body. Yoga has allowed me to escape to find release. I’ve learned eight poses or transitions that have helped me to relieve tension, stress, and anxiety. These eight yoga poses are great for beginners like me and are steps in the direction towards allowing yoga to heal your body.
Pro Tip: Remember to breathe and follow the breath consistently when entering and holding a pose. It is key to deepening your stretch or finding where you need the most release.
Upward Salute (30 secs- 1 min)
This pose is a considerable starter or ending to your yoga practice. I’m amazed at how standing firm can begin to change my overall mood and energy. To enter this pose, stand tall and straight with your legs and feet close together. Send your arms out to the side, palms facing up. Slowly lift or raise the arms upward above the head where the palms will meet. Whenever I’m in this pose, I will feel a stretch throughout the spine and shoulders.
Bound Angle Pose (1- 5 mins)
My hips give me numerous fits when it comes to tension and tightness. The Bound Angle Pose is a go-to for me when it comes to opening up the hips, along with it being one of the painless poses to transition through. While remembering to follow the breath, sit with your legs out in front of you. Bend the knees and bring the heels inwards to meet each other.
Pro Tip: To deepen the stretch, lift from the pelvis to bring the spine to the heels of your feet.
Seated Forward Bend (30 secs- 1 min)
Next time you’re sitting and watching Netflix or your favorite movie, try out the Seated Forward Bend. You can use this to help calm the mind for a bit and take a load off! This pose can help soothe headaches and reduce fatigue while stretching out the spine, shoulders, and hamstrings. Just extend your legs forward and inhale to send the arms to grab the feet, holding the pose for 30 secs to a min.
Bridge Pose (30 secs- 1 min)
I love this pose for the broad array of benefits from it. Bridge pose can be whatever you need it to be. Allow your body to heal and find relief anywhere from the neck, lower back, legs, and see how to restore and rejuvenate your body within this transition. While laying flat, adjust to bend and keep your knees and feet parallel on the floor. While pressing into the floor, use the arms and feet to lift the tailbone upwards, towards the sky.
Extended Puppy Pose (30 secs- 1 min)
A great beginner pose that can help prepare you for follow up transitions, such as Downward Facing Dog. Allow Extended Puppy Pose to help lengthen your spine and stretch out both the spine and shoulders. During your breath cycles, attempt to deepen the stretch by taking full inhales through the nose and letting go by exhaling through the mouth. Simply come to all fours and extend the tailbone back to meet the thighs, then lift the tailbone upwards to the sky. Extend the arms as far as you can forward, attempting to keep the elbows in line with the forearms and gently release the forehead to the floor.
Camel Pose (5- 10 Breath Cycles)
Ustrasana Sanskrit or Camel is one of the more intricate poses that I’ve chosen for the list, but you’ll be happy to know that when you’ve completed this transition, you’ll be in a better mood and on your way to healing. To start, kneel on the floor or mat, keeping the legs and feet a hip’s distance apart. While pressing into the feet, lift through the pelvic to send the hips and tailbone forward. When you’re ready, send the arms back to meet the feet to grab and hold for a few deep breath cycles.
Big Toe Pose (1 min)
If you are a runner or someone who suffers from tight hamstrings, you should find this transition beneficial like I seem to have done. It is easy to get into, and it certainly is brilliant for lengthening and strengthening your hamstrings. It’s one of my favorites! Stand upright and keep the feet a couple of inches apart. Then, keep the legs straight, and bend forward through the hip flexors to meet the feet. Send the arms down to have the fingers grab the feet or “big toes” and hold the pose. Inhale deeply to lift the torso back up, and if you’d like, repeat this one a few times.
Extended Triangle Pose (30 secs- 1 min)
The Extended Triangle Pose is one of the supreme standing poses in yoga and is beneficial to increase strength and stability. Similar to the benefits of the Big Toe Pose, I find that this transition helps with tight hamstrings and shoulders. To enter the pose, stand upright (hip-width apart). Turn the left leg and foot inward and the right leg and foot outward. Next, extend arms out sideways and then shift or lift from the hips to send right arm down to meet the left foot. The left arm should be extended upward to the sky. Repeat the steps for the opposite side.
I hope that the transitions I’ve shared with you today will help you to calm the mind, increase flexibility, let go, and increase your happiness and healing. I know that they’ve certainly been a blessing to me. If you’re new to this, I would recommend investing in a yoga mat. You don’t have to necessarily have one, as you can use towels and rugs if you wish, but the yoga mat is honestly easier on the body. I got mine from Marshall’s, but here are a few that I’ve found on Amazon. Please share in the comment section any other transitions and poses that you may know of that are beneficial to easing anxiety and depression!
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