When your mind needs freedom from tension, your body needs exercise. Everyone these days are leading busy lives, and there is no time to sit down and read the newspaper, let alone exercise. Going for a jog or a walk can sometimes take up precious time. Yoga offers one of the best solutions for busy people. You can do it in the corner of your room or the floor and achieve perfect peace and become relaxed. You can also take Yoga courses if you aspire to become a yoga teacher and get deeper training, as there are many institutes who provide Yoga Teacher Training courses. Here are some of the best exercises that can help you with mind stability and relaxation in the meantime.
1. Downward Facing Dog – AdhoMukhaSvanasana
Benefits: Strengthens legs and arms; stretches arches of the foot, shoulder, calf, and hamstrings; restores body energy and revitalizes it; improves lung capacity.
Start: Begin from tabletop position on the floor.
Keep wrists below shoulders and knees below the hip.
Move your head upward, so your body becomes U shaped.
Drop your head and raise your torso.
Exhale and raise your knees, so your buttocks rise in the air.
Elongate your spine and push your hands into the floor.
Keep your head between your arms and don’t let it hang.
Tighten your core and look at your toes. Feel your tailbone lengthen upward.
Open your shoulder blades and breathe deeply. Push the shoulder blades outward into your shoulder.
Hold the pose for a count of 10. Relax and drop down to table-top-position.
Relax for a count of 5. Repeat the cycle 5-6 times.
2. Standing Forward Bend – Uttanasana
Benefits: Releases lower back tightness, loosens your body for other exercises. It gives relief to tired muscles, is therapeutic for conditions like sinusitis. Also, it is useful in infertility, high blood pressure, and asthma. It helps the functioning of the liver and kidneys. It gives you good sleep and improves your digestive power.
Start: Start from Tadasana.
Bend forward as you exhale and let your hands rest on the floor. If you are unable to reach the floor, hold one hand in the other. Ideally, you should be able to grab your ankles.
Keep your head between your legs. Open your shoulders and tighten your core.
Elongate your tailbone and feel your core expand.
Loosen your hands and make your gaze soft.
Inhale and rise-up. Let your hands be active as they hang by your side.
Breathe in deeply and repeat the exercise. Do 5-6 cycles.
3. Supine Pigeon – EkaPadaSuptaKapotasana
Benefits: Gives a supported stretch for the lower body. It stimulates the lowest two chakras that help self-realization. It relaxes the mind and body.
Start: Begin with a supine position on the floor.
Bring your legs up against your chest.
Wrap your hands over your left leg and press it against the chest.
Take your right leg over your right hand and cross your ankle over your left thigh.
Press your right elbow against your right knee to improve hip opening.
Come back to sleeping position.
Change the position for the other leg.
Repeat 5-6 times.
4. High Lunge Crescent Variation – AshtaChandrasana
Benefits: Tones your legs and glutes, prepares you for advanced poses like Warrior Pose I, and lengthens your spine and hip flexors.
Start: Begin from AdhoMukhaSvanasana.
Bring your head down to the floor and lift your body up in one fluid motion.
Raise your hands with palms facing each other as you step up with your right foot.
Keep your back strong and spine supple. Make your eyes soft.
Expand your chest and push your shoulder blades against each other.
Keep your hands engaged and look forward all the time.
Don’t bend your back. Look up toward your thumbs.
Pull your ribs down into the torso and don’t push them forward.
Exhale and release torso onto the left thigh.
Bring your hands down in a smooth movement to the floor.
Bring your leg back.
Repeat the cycle for the other leg.
Do the entire cycle 5-6 times.
5. Dancer’s Pose – Natarajasana
Benefits: Gives strength to legs and ankles, stretches the shoulders and chest. It improves balance, stretches abdomen, groin, and thighs.
Start: Begin from Tadasana.
Raise your left leg behind you and grab the inner arch with your left hand.
Keep your leg in line with your body.
Raise your right hand in front of you. Keep it engaged. (Beginners can stand near a wall so that they can lean on it).
Raise your head, so it is far from the ears. Broaden shoulder blades and tighten the core.
Don’t bend your back to form a V shape. Keep body elongated in a U shape.
Lock your quad, so the body remains centered over your heel. Do not overstretch the leg.
Breathe deeply and hold your pose for a count of 10.
Relax and come toTadasana.
Now, do it for the other leg.
Repeat the cycle 5-6 times.
6. Legs Up the Wall Pose – ViparitaKarani
Benefits: Also known as Inverted Lake, ViparitaKarani relieves symptoms of a headache. It helps with blood pressure and insomnia. Relaxes tired and cramped feet. Get relief for lower back pain. Lastly, it helps people with symptoms of menopause and Premenstrual syndrome.
Start: Begin from Savasana.
Raise your legs up in the air, so it forms a right angle with your body.
You can use a pillow or folded blanket under your buttocks if you want.
If you have difficulty maintaining this pose, move over to a wall and rest your legs on it.
For this, keep the folded blanket near the wall. Rest yourself on it and swing your legs up the wall.
Keep your hands on both sides outstretched. Relax your mind, close your eyes.
Hold this pose for 5-10 minutes.
7. Easy Pose – Sukhasana
Benefits: Opens the hips, lengthens the spine, and helps calm the mind.
Start: Begin from a sitting position.
Sit down on the ground and rest your body weight on your buttocks.
Cross your legs so that heel is below the knee. Now, your left foot is under the right thigh and vice versa.
Beginners can use a blanket under the buttocks. Or, if it is difficult to fold the knees, use a blanket under the knees.
Keep your hands softly on your thighs, palm upwards.
Use any mudra to meditate. Close your eyes.
An alternative is to place your palm on your knees facing down.
8. Wide Angle Seated Forward Bend – UpavisthaKonasana
Benefits: Strengthens the vertebral column, calms the brain.
Start: Begin from a seated position on the ground.
Open your leg, so they make a ninety-degree angle.
When you begin, place your palms on the ground behind you. Curve your back and tighten your core.
Inhale deeply and feel the sides of your body lift.
Move your hands to the front. Grab the toes and dip your head forward.
With your left leg in contact the ground, firm your right leg.
Hold the pose for a count of 10.
Relax and come back up to normal sitting pose.
Repeat by firming the other leg.
Do as many repetitions as needed.
9. Reclining Big Toe Pose – SuptaPadangusthasana I
Benefits: Stretches hamstrings without putting any strain on the spine. Decreases backaches and relaxes the body. It aligns the pelvis.
Start: Begin from Savasana.
Lie on your back and keep your feet stretched out, flex your toes.
As you exhale, pull your right knee toward your chest.
Loop a strap around the arch of your right foot.
Straighten your right foot to the ceiling.
Keep your arms straight and shoulders pressed to the floor.
Keep pushing and extending your left leg and push the left thigh down with your left hand.
You must feel a comfortable stretch along the back of the right leg. Make sure your left hip is grounded on the floor.
Hold the pose for a count of 10.
Release the leg and do it for the other leg.
Repeat 5-6 times.
10. Bridge Pose – SetuBandhaSarvangasana
Benefits: Gentle stretching for the legs and back. Reduce anxiety, back pain, insomnia, and headaches.
Start: Supine position on the ground.
Bring your legs toward your buttocks by raising your knees.
Lift your buttocks off the ground so that the torso is now straight.
Put the weight of the body on the shoulders. Press with your hands on the sides on the floor.
Hold the pose for 30 seconds.
Lower the body down and relax for a count of 10.
Repeat the pose 5-6 times.
11. Child Pose – Balasana
Benefits: Gently stretches hips and thighs; Relaxes muscles in the front of the body; Therapeutic for relieving stress. It calms and soothes the brain.
Start: Kneeling position on the floor.
Spread your legs as wide as it is comfortable. Keep your big toes touching the floor.
Sit up straight and lengthen your spine.
Exhale, bow forward, and drop your torso between your thighs.
Keep your heart and chest between your thighs. Allow your forehead to rest on the floor.
Put your hands on the floor above your head, palm downward.
Keep your buttocks in contact with your heels.
Broaden your shoulder away from your spine. Keep your gaze inward.
Breathe deeply and hold the pose for a minute or two.
Yoga is effective when you do it daily. It helps coordinate your mind and body functioning and give you a greater realization of yourself.
About the author:
Devakar Sandhu is a renowned yoga practitioner with more than 10 years of experience in yoga teaching. He holds a certification in 500-hour and 200 hour Yoga Teacher Training in Rishikesh Course. He guides and suggests ways for lifestyle modification through yoga.