A regular yoga and meditation practice have been proven to have numerous benefits to our health. But other than the everyday physical and mental improvements, we can experience many other benefits, such as better concentration and increased flexibility.
Yoga can also be of benefit to those who suffer from more serious health issues. Ailments like clinical depression, anxiety attacks, high blood pressure and even obesity all have proven to improve through the therapeutic application of specific yoga postures, also known as ‘yoga therapy’. In our busy modern-day society, the main thing affecting our health and well-being in one way or another is stress. High stress levels can cause insomnia, overstimulation of the nervous system, agitation, irregular menstrual cycles and feelings of depression and anxiety, amongst other things.
Let’s go through the therapeutic applications of yoga asanas and the best yoga poses for stress release.
Sarvangasana – Shoulder Stand
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Both Halasana and Sarvangasana help to reduce stress by calming down the nervous system and brain. The posture also stimulates the abdominal organs and the thyroid gland, reduces fatigue and relieves backaches, headaches, insomnia, and sinusitis.
Sukhasana – Easy Sitting Pose
Sitting in Sukhasana relieves stress by bringing mind and body into a meditative state. When the brain is overstimulated and thoughts are running wild, a great variation to try is doing a forward bend in Sukhasana while supporting the weight of the head on a block. Simply place a block or high pillow in front of you, while elongating the spine and bending forward. Rest the head on the block and remain for 5 – 10 minutes while breathing deeply.
Viparita Karani – Legs-up-the-Wall Pose
Viparita Karani is described in the old yoga scriptures as the pose that slows down the aging process and brings ultimate health and wellbeing. Inverted poses like this have proven to work positively on the hormonal and nervous system, calming the mind, renewing the blood and performing an all-natural lymphatic drainage. Practice Viparita Karana for 10-20 minutes when exhausted or overworked, after a long day in the office, or simply when you’re in need of a little energy boost.
Savasana – Corpse Pose
Lying in Savasana for several minutes triggers the body’s relaxation response, which is responsible for quieting the nervous system and lowering blood pressure. When practiced after other asanas, Savasana allows the body and mind to integrate the practice into its cellular memory. On its own, Savasana is an excellent posture to calm the brain and relieve symptoms of stress and mild depression and can help reduce headaches, fatigue, and insomnia.
Follow Kaya’s spiritual journey on her blog, Kaya Yoga.
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