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Stress Reduction with Yoga

By Lisa Shoreland


Sometimes delight just comes right into the inbox, and such is the case of my guest writer for today.

Lisa Shoreland was born and raised in Hiroshima, Japan and is fluent in English and Japanese.  She came to the USA to attend St. Andrews Presbyterian College and studied creative writing, history, politics and humanities.  She is a contributor to the gocollege blog which is set up to assist students and parents in the transition to and during college.  Lisa included several pieces of her writing which were presented on other blogs and I enjoyed what she had to say and her good writing style.    I also asked her to write for Biking Architect during the month of April – so you will be able to find more of her good words and ideas about Greening Up Your Closet  there.

Without further ado, I will let Lisa share her ideas and wisdom.

6 Relaxing Yoga Poses

Some people practice Yoga to rehabilitate an injury or to get an intense workout, but many people also practice Yoga because it is extremely effective in relaxing both the mind and the body.

With hundreds of Yoga poses to choose from, it is important to remember that each Yoga pose has its own purpose and meaning. Some poses in Yoga are specifically designed to help you relax by stretching out any tensions in your body, and could even teach you how to properly deal with stress, anger, sadness, or other types of negative emotions.

If you’re the type of person who becomes overwhelmed very easily, then practicing yoga can be a very rewarding and relaxing experience if done correctly. Here are some of the many examples of the different yoga poses you can try to help relax your mind, body and spirit:

1.    Tadasana (Mountain pose)

This pose is great for improving your posture and balance, and can help bring more awareness to your body and breathing as well. It is also effective in increasing the flexibility of your hips and knees, stretching your spine, tightening your gluteal muscles and releasing any abdominal tension. This pose also comes highly recommended for people who suffer from arthritis or rheumatism.

•    Put your feet a hip-width apart and stand with your hands at your side
•    Tilt your pubic bone slightly forward, and raise your chest up and out
•    On your next inhale, slowly raise your arms over your head and hold for several breaths
•    Lower your arms on an exhale
•    (Repeat six times)


2.    Savasana (Corpse pose)

This Yoga pose is considered the “ultimate final pose” during Yoga classes because it is extremely effective in helping to calm both your body and mind after a strenuous workout.

This pose is called the “corpse” pose for a reason because all you do is simply lie down and focus on your breathing. However, it’s important to remember that this pose isn’t for sleeping, but forcing you to get into a more relaxed frame of mind and calm down your heart rate.

•    Lie on your back with your feet a hip-width apart
•    Place your arms next to your sides and turn your palms facing upwards
•    Roll your shoulders down and back to lengthen your neck
•    Relax your body so it feels heavy, and then slowly inhale and exhale three times from your abdomen, focusing on the movement of your chest and body while you breathe
•    Hold this pose for several minutes
•    After you’re finished, bring your knees into your chest and roll over to one side, and slowly bring yourself back into a sitting position.



3.    Uttanasana (Standing Forward Bend)

This yoga pose will help calm down your brain and can also relieve a stomach ache, migraine, or high blood pressure. It is also effective in stimulating the liver, spleen and kidneys, and helps stretch your hamstrings, calves and hips while strengthening your thighs and knees.

•    Stand with your feet together and your hands next to your sides
•    Bend your knees only slightly, and make sure your weight is distributed evenly between your heels and forefeet
•    Pull in your abdomen and bend forward only using your hips and waist, and pull your upper body and arms towards the floor
•    Exhale (hold this position for 30 to 120 seconds)



4.    Balasana (Child’s pose)

Not only is this yoga pose effective in helping you relax before bedtime, it also helps stretch out your knees, muscle tendons, and ligaments as well.

•    Kneel on the floor (or your yoga mat if you happen to have one) and make sure the tops of your feet are lying flat on the floor
•    Sit back on your heels
•    Slowly lean forward and rest your chest on your legs while placing your forehead on the floor
•    Keep your arms by your sides so your palms are facing up
•    (Repeat six times)



5.    Sukhasana (Easy pose)

This pose is most commonly used for meditation, and it helps bring more awareness to your breathing, and also helps strengthen your lower back as well. The pose can also help open up your hips, and lengthens your spine while forcing you to become more balanced and calm.

•    Sit cross-legged with your hands on your knees and focus on your breath
•    Keep your spine straight and push your buttocks down into the floor and slowly lower your knees
•    Take five to ten slow, deep breaths
•    On the tenth exhale, raise your arms over your head
•    Exhale and bring your arms down slowly
•    (Repeat six times)



6.    Bhujangasana (Cobra pose)

This Cobra pose is effective in helping to stretch out your spinal column, legs, knees, and ankles, and is recommended especially for pregnant women.

•    Lie down on your stomach and keep your legs together and your arms at your side
•    As you inhale, slowly raise your head and chest as high as they will go, and tighten your buttocks muscles to protect your lower back
•    Hold this position while inhaling and exhaling at least six times



If you’re going to try doing these Yoga poses by yourself, it’s extremely important to do every move correctly so you don’t cause any harm or even more tension in your body. Try searching for these poses on Youtube or even check out the Yoga Today podcasts so a qualified instructor can provide you with a step-by-step guide on how to do these poses correctly.

Bio: Lisa Shoreland is currently a resident blogger at Go College, where recently she’s been researching fast student loans as well as doctoral grants programs. In her spare time, she enjoys creative writing, practicing martial arts, and taking weekend trips.

Photo Credits:
All photos from WikiMedia Commons.

A reminder:  there are two book” give aways” happening on Patricia’s Wisdom right now:

April 22, 2011 will be the drawing for a copy of the book THE LONG GOODBYE – all you need to do is be from the USA or Canada and leave a comment.

April 28, 2011 The author of the book THE PROCRASTINATION EQUATION is giving away a copy to the best procrastination story or anti-procrastination technique from the comments section.

Related Reading:
How Yoga Works
Eating My Carrot
The Wisdom To Know the Difference

Looking forward to you always delightful comments, your words are so appreciated.

15 Responses to “Stress Reduction with Yoga”

  1. patricia Says:

    thank you Lisa for sharing…In Yin-Yoga we do several of these poses in extremely slow motion…and I will say they certainly do relax and lift my spirits and stretch the muscles.

  2. vered | blogger for hire Says:

    Yoga seems like it would require patience, which I sorely lack :-)

    But maybe it just means it will be good for me!
    vered | blogger for hire recently posted..Olive Oil Tasting In Barcelona- Grandma’s Onion Rolls- and a Giveaway!My Profile

    patricia Reply:

    there are so many kinds of yoga – many very athletic, Yin yoga is teaching me patience with healing my body and it makes my meditation time much easier since I can not sit in meditation pose, I can find another way to ease my mind….You would be amazed.

    I am reviewing a book for Monday 18th that I just discovered and I think you would really enjoy – and it has a lot about yoga in it.

  3. Jannie Funster Says:

    I first grew to love yoga as a child when Mom would stretch along to Karim Zebroff whose 30-minute tv show came on just after I got home off the bus. And I liked how Jazzercise actually includes at least one song for slow stretches. I’ve not been to Jazzercise in quite a while.

    If I were home now and not at the library, I’d indulge myself in these. It will be a treat for me to enjoy these later.

    I have a question about the Mountain Pose. When you say to lower your arms on exhale, do you lower them to the front or the sides?

    A nice post, thank you Patricia and Lisa.
    Jannie Funster recently posted..Today Is Not A Good Day For Poems About Horses…My Profile

    patricia Reply:

    Thanks for your good words…I just love the way my body feels after such good stretching and I think Lisa did a good job of sharing these relaxation poses.

    In Yin-Yoga when we do the pose similar to Mountain Pose we bring our arms down in the best way to maintain balance, in Pregnancy Yoga we brought our arms down to the side.

    Hope that helps

  4. Talon Says:

    Thank you, Lisa, and thank you, Patricia. I enjoy Yoga. I incorporate some into my exercise routines. It just makes me feel good and I always feel peaceful after. :)
    Talon recently posted..Broken CalmMy Profile

    patricia Reply:

    I am on my 3rd week of no yin-yoga classes, I miss them so much and even when I put 30 minutes of stretching into my day – it is just not the same…

    Yoga is good! I think Lisa did a nice presentation. I love the last part of the class as I am able to be still in mind and body

  5. suzen Says:

    Hi Paticia! The one pose I’ve really mastered is the corpse pose – haha – I can hold that for the longest time! (kidding – sort of!) Yoga can be the ultimate workout – my husband tried it once with me and was amazed at the workout aspect. I love the stretches, especially now since I’m working with a personal trainer at the gym and he is killing me into shape. Doing yoga on my “days off” is a blessing!

    patricia Reply:

    I know the corpse pose well myself! but it does make the small of my back tired – twisted roots is one of my favorites.

    I gave my whole family a class of Yin-Yoga for my New Years present and my husband has gone several times and it improves his RA problems so much….2 of my daughters do yoga regularly with their Wii Fit and Active programs.

    Yes it is quite a workout – it was in a yoga class that I torn the ligament off my moveable rib and could not lie down for almost 2 years… It is important to find a certified instructor

  6. Sara Says:

    Patricia — Your timing and Lisa’s post was perfect for me. I’m copying it…I hope you don’t mind so I can practice the movements.

    I wanted to do Yoga for a long time. I need to start going to a class, but have found it hard to fit one in my schedule. This is a great opportunity for me to give a few Yoga moves a try.

    Thanks very much for sharing Lisa’s Yoga Lesson.

    Have a great weekend, Patricia:~)

    patricia Reply:

    Oh Sara I am so glad you found this helpful and were able to drop by – copy it off and give them a try and try to breathe….it is amazing.

    I can not afford yoga right now – so am working on doing it on my own too… I think classes with a good instructor are better though.

    Wait til you see the book I am reviewing on Monday…fabulous about yoga

  7. Galen Pearl Says:

    What an incredibly helpful post. The instructions and pictures of six basic poses make it so easy for everyone to incorporate these healthy practices into daily life. I do some simple yoga stretches every morning before prayer/meditation. I’m going to add these to my day. Thank you!

    patricia Reply:

    Thank you for coming by to discover Lisa’s good ideas and sharing – it is rather fun to stretch in relationship to prayer and meditation…I also do it after my walk….I think being in a good yoga pose is the best way for me to meditate

  8. Arts Web Show Says:

    This yoga seems to be one of the simplest ways to keep healthy amongst other things
    Arts Web Show recently posted..Singing acapella- various stylesMy Profile

    patricia Reply:

    Yes, I think it is good Richard and see how so many are saved the problems with arthritis and pain makes me want to get everyone involved in it.