5 yoga poses to destress

Yoga is a great way to relax. In the Algarve, you’ll find dozens of retreats and classes, as well as many beaches to practise your moves. Model Liselot Sijm shows the yoga poses that are best to let go of inner tension and anxiety. 

Pictures by Kyle Rodriguez

See original article in Enjoy the Algarve – magazine May 2016

 

1. Balasana – Child’s pose

How: kneel down, bringing your buttocks to your feet. Exhale and rest your torso over your thighs so your forehead touches the ground. Stretch out your arms over your head.

Why: this resting pose gently stretches your lower back and is a good opportunity to focus on your breathing. As you go inward and draw conscious breaths, the child’s pose calms the mind and helps to relieve stress and tension.

 

2. Garudasana – Eagle pose

How: lift your right foot up and cross right thigh over left. Hook the top of the right foot behind the lower left calf. Stretch your arms forward and cross them in front of your torso (left arm above right) then bend your elbows. Press the right hand to the right and the left hand to the left, so palms are facing each other. Press palms together and point your fingers to the sky.

Why: this active pose is great for improving concentration and balance. It’s also a must for anyone with a desk job as it stretches and thus releases tension in the shoulders.

 

3. Urdhva Mukha Svanasana – Upward facing dog

How: lie on your stomach, bend your elbows and place your palms by your side (at your breast). Lift your upper body off the ground and while pressing your hands down firmly, lift your hips off the ground, bring your shoulder blades back and look up.

Why: this chest opening and powerful pose calms down your nerves and helps relieve mild depression. It’s energetic and also helps to improve your posture (no more slouching!).

 

4. Janu Sirsasana – Head-to-knee forward bend

How: sit on the floor with both legs stretched out. Bend your left leg, bringing the feet as close to your right upper thigh and groin as possible without strain. Bend your body forward with your arms above your head, grabbing the right foot and bending forward until your forehead touches the knee. Repeat with the other leg.

Why: This stretching pose calms the brain and helps against mild depression, anxiety, fatigue, headache and insomnia. It strengthens our ability to let go.

 

5. Vrikasana – Tree pose

How: Stand tall, bend your right knee and place the sole of your right foot into your inner left thigh, with your toes pointing toward the floor. Place your hands into prayer with your arms stretched out high. Your gaze can be facing the ceiling or facing forward. Repeat on the other side.

Why: this pose eases anxiety as you need to concentrate on your body instead of on your mind. Apart from literally bringing balance in your life, it also stretches the legs, arms and back.

 

See original article in Enjoy the Algarve – magazine May 2016

Posted in 5 algarvy things.