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Yoga: Try These Stress-Busting Poses

Try These Stress-Busting Poses

Child's Pose
Cobra Pose
Corpse Pose
Downward Dog Pose

Child's Pose
Kneel with your knees and feet together. Sit back on your heels, with the top of your ankles flat on the floor. Let your hands relax at your sides. Inhale. As you exhale, bend forward from your hips, placing your chest on your thighs and your forehead on the floor. Slowly move your hands near your feet, palms facing up. Stretch your spine as you try to reach your kneecaps with your chest. If you can't reach your forehead to the floor without bringing your butt up off your heels, stack your fists one on top of the other and use them to support your forehead, or rest your forehead on a couple of small pillows. As you get more flexible, you'll be able to bend lower. Hold for at least 60 seconds, relaxing completely.

The Child's Pose stretches your spine, firms your buttocks, and brings increased circulation to your head and face, which can help improve your complexion. back to top

Cobra Pose
Lie on your stomach. Bend your elbows and place them directly under your shoulders. With your hands flat and fingers spread, place your forearms on the floor, parallel to one another. Your shoulders should be relaxed, and your legs should be hip-distance apart. Inhale. Lift your chest and shoulders from the floor and turn your head upward. Relax your throat and facial muscles and tighten your buttocks and thighs. Make sure your hips stay flat on the floor. Hold. Exhale and release. It's important to keep your buttocks squeezed tight and your hips on the floor while you do this exercise so that you don't hurt your lower back. Only stretch up as far as it is comfortable—even just a few inches is great at first.

The Cobra Pose helps improve posture, especially if you have rounded shoulders. It also strengthens your upper back muscles and spine. The Cobra Pose provides relief, flexibility, and strength to your upper back. This pose gently squeezes your kidneys—you may feel like you need to urinate after doing it. This is part of the way it cleanses your body. back to top

Corpse Pose
Lie comfortably on your back on the floor and separate your legs so that your feet are two to three feet apart. Close your eyes. Separate your arms so that each hand is two to three feet from your body with palms facing up. Roll your head from side to side, releasing tension in your neck. Roll your shoulders down and away from your ears. Relax your entire body. Breathe normally. Rest for at least a minute.

The Corpse Pose helps you rest and relax your entire body, including your nervous system. It is a great pose to do when you feel stressed out. back to top

Downward Dog Pose
Kneel on all fours with your hands directly under your shoulders and your knees directly under your hips. Inhale and lift your hips up until you're standing on your toes and your body forms an upside-down "V". Keep your hands firmly planted on the floor and your legs straight. Exhale. With your weight evenly balanced, ease your heels into the floor, feeling the stretch in your calves. If you can't put your heels all the way down, don't worry—your heels will get closer to the floor as you get more flexible. Only flex as far as it is comfortable for you, and stay up on your toes if you need to. While you hold this pose, imagine a string pulling your buttocks and hips toward the ceiling. Continue regular, slow breathing in and out for at least 60 seconds. Return to a kneeling position. Now, if you like, you can relax into Child's Pose.

This pose is ideal if you spend a lot of time sitting down. It helps clear your head. The Downward Dog Pose stretches your back and your hamstrings. It helps you develop strength in the back, arms, legs, and shoulders, and it helps relieve back pain. This pose is easy to do daily combined with the Child's Pose. back to top

Last Modified Date: 3/22/2001
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