5 Yoga Poses for 5 Results, from Lowering Anxiety to Boosting Sensuality
We're always adding to our arsenal of self care, especially when it comes to managing the different feelings and experiences that come and go throughout the day.
Do you ever find yourself with a nagging feeling that you just can't shake? Or maybe you're battling some nerves before a big meeting? No matter what you're facing, there's generally a yoga poses that can help you center yourself and conjure up whatever energy you're looking for. We reached out to our friend and New York City-based yogi, Sarah Levey of Y7 Studio, to share 5 poses she turns to when she wants to improve her wellbeing and sooth the nervous system.
To inspire confidence: Warrior III
Warrior III is an empowering pose. Physically, it strengthens the whole back side of the body, tones and strengthens the abdominal muscles and improves balance, posture, and full-body coordination. Mentally this pose enhances the ability to concentrate, keeping your mind calmly focused when faced with difficulty.
Begin standing in Mountain pose with your feet hip-distance apart and arms at your sides.
Press your weight into your right foot. Lift your left leg as you hinge at the hips bending the torso forward, bringing your body parallel to the ground. Extend your arms forward, bringing your biceps next to your ears. Flex your left foot and reach out through your heel, as if you're pressing a wall behind you.
Keep the muscles of both legs actively engaged. Straighten your standing leg as you continue to lift the left leg, but do not lock your knees.
Work toward bringing your arms, torso, hips, and raised leg parallel to the floor and continue to stretch your body from your fingertips all the way through your lifted heel.
To combat workplace tension: Upward Facing Dog
Upward Facing Dog stretches the chest and spine, while strengthening the wrists, arms, and shoulders. Upward Dog creates a stretch in the back torso and abdomen, which improves digestion. The backbend energizes and rejuvenates, it also reverses the hunch in our shoulders and upper back that we get from sitting all day.
Begin by lying face-down on the floor with your legs extended behind you, spread a few inches apart. The tops of your feet should resting on the mat. Place your hands alongside your body next to your ribs, hug your elbows in close to your ribcage.
Inhale and press your hands firmly into the floor. Straighten the arms to lift your torso and legs a few inches off the floor. Continue to press down firmly through the tops of your feet to engage the leg muscles and keep the thighs off the floor.
Press down firmly through the tops of your feet. Strongly engage your leg muscles to keep your thighs lifted off the floor.
To fight the midday slump: Bridge or Full Wheel
Bridge Pose opens the chest, heart, and shoulders. It stretches the spine, the back of the neck, the thighs, and the hip flexors. Because your heart is higher than your head it is considered an inversion and promotes relief from stress, fatigue, anxiety, headaches and calms the mind. It can be a particularly energizing for those who spend the day sitting in front of a computer or driving.
Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet on the floor. Extend your arms along the floor, palms flat. Press your feet and arms firmly into the ground. Exhale as you lift your hips toward the ceiling and draw your tailbone toward your pubic bone.
Roll your shoulders back and underneath your body. Clasp your hands and extend your arms along the floor beneath your pelvis. Straighten your arms as much as possible.
*If you have full wheel in your practice follow these instructions. Lie with your back on the ground, bend your knees and set your feet on the floor. Bend your elbows and place the palms on the floor beside your head, fingers pointing toward your shoulders. Pressing your feet into the floor exhale and push your tailbone up towards the sky, pressing your hands into the floor, lift your head and straighten the arms as the you lengthen the tailbone even more toward the back of the knees and lifting up through the pelvis. Spread the shoulder blades across the back and let the head hang.
To ignite your sensuality: Goddess Pose
This pose activates the sacral chakra which is synonymous with sensuality, emotions, intimacy and desire. It is directly linked with the hips, lower back, sex organs and is said to be where you connect with your physical body through your senses. It strengthens the entire lower body, opens the hips and chest, stretches the thighs, and elongates the spine, helping to warm the whole body.Goddess Pose helps to warm and energize the whole body. Begin standing in Mountain pose at the top of your mat with your arms at your sides. Bring your hands to rest comfortably on your hips.
Turn to the right and step your feet wide apart, about four feet. Turn your toes out slightly, so they point to the corners of your mat.
On an exhalation, bend your knees directly over your toes and lower your hips into a squat. Work toward bringing your thighs parallel to the floor.
Extend your arms out to the sides at shoulder-height, bend your elbows and point your fingertips toward the ceiling.
Tuck your tailbone in slightly and press your hips forward as you draw your thighs back, keep your knees in line with your toes.
To combat anxiety: Legs up the wall
Legs Up the Wall is a pose that brings relief to the nervous system. It is a gentle way to bring the body into a state of deep relaxation and renewal. Begin the pose by sitting with your left side against the wall.
Gently turn your body to the left and bring your legs up onto the wall. Use your hands for balance as you shift your weight.
Lower your back to the floor and lie down. Rest your shoulders and head on the floor.
Shift your weight from side-to-side and scoot your butt as close to the wall as possible Let your arms rest open at your sides, palms facing up.
Sarah Levey for The BeeHive