Yoga: Essential to de-stress

Header image for the article Yoga: Essential to de-stress Credit: KERRA SEAY
The tree pose is one of the many that promotes relaxations and relaxation is essential to make it though mid-term season.

It’s mid-term time and your workload just seemed to double. Every school program or job has that point where things just get so overwhelming and we forget how to take care of ourselves. If you haven’t tried yoga yet or you don’t feel flexible enough to attend a class, here is an easy, at home routine for you to try. The intention of this routine is not to become a master at yoga, but to use the postures to help you decrease stress and feel more positive about that mountain of studying and work.

Materials needed:

• Mat or comfortable floor

• Towel (I like to use a beach towel)

• Water to drink

If you are on a mat, begin by standing at one end, facing the smaller side.

The moves:

Moving mountain: Feet hip width apart, stand tall, with palms facing out. Take a deep breath in as you raise your arms out to the sides and up over your head. Bring them back down as you exhale. Repeat this five to 10 times.

Swan dive and swim: From mountain position, raise your arms to chest level as you inhale, then swoop them down and forwards as you bend over at the hips while you exhale. Stay down there for one more breath in and out as you flutter your hanging arms forward and back. Repeat three to five times.

Cat/lion: From bottom position of swan dive, come down onto your hands and knees (knees below hips, hands below shoulders). Keep your back straight or allow a small arch as you look forwards and inhale. This is the lion part of the stretch. Exhale as you tuck your chin in and round your back up to cat stretch. In the lion position, you can choose to let out a loud roar (it may seem silly at first, but it is a satisfying release). Repeat five to 10 times.

Downward dog to cobra: From lion position, lift your knees as you extend your arms and legs fully and bring your butt up to the highest point. You can let your head drop slowly between your arms. You can hold this position for several moments and just relax your breathing. Then take a deep breath in and as you exhale, bend your elbows and swoop your body to the floor, starting at the chest. Place hips and belly on the floor then just lift your chest slightly, with palms to the floor. Pause for a few breaths and then you can repeat downward dog to cobra five to 10 times.

Plank to child pose: From the cobra position, press your hands to the floor and extend your arms fully and lift your belly, hips and legs from the floor. You can stay on your toes or drop to your knees. You should be able to draw a straight line from the top of your head to your knees or toes. Pause for a few moments then move into child pose. For this stretch bring your knees to the floor, keep your arms extended as you sit back toward your heels and bring your forehead to the floor. Pause for a few moments then repeat plank to child pose just a few times. Hold child pose a little longer on the last one.

Relaxation: Roll over to lay on your back. Give your body a gentle shake to release tension. Take a few deep breaths in and out. Continue deep breaths and begin to tighten your joints and muscles every time you exhale starting from the toes and working up through the body and down the arms to your fingertips. Hold it all as tight as you can for a few moments. Exhale again and let everything relax all at once. Repeat this process starting from the fingertips to the toes and back again a couple more times. At the end, reach your arms overhead and stretch from fingertips to toes. Bring your arms back to your sides and give your body another gentle shake out to release tension.