Yoga For Relaxation

Whether or not you are a Yoga practitioner, you may have heard of the countless benefits of practicing this sport, such as increased flexibility and range of motion, increased strength and muscle tone, improved breathing capacity, increased energy and vitality, metabolism regulation and balance, weight reduction, improvement of cardiac, vascular and circulatory activity, optimization of athletic performance and protection against injuries, etc. However, and in addition to with all the advantages for physical well-being, it has been proven that this oriental discipline can be an extremely effective weapon in the battle against everyday tension and tiredness, helping you to relax and sleep better.

The most experienced Yoga practitioners fervently report its calming effects, but even for those who are just beginning the practice and only do sessions with easy postures, it is already possible to feel the relaxing effect on the body and the mind, if only as a result of the tranquility achieved by focusing on breathing and balance and, at the same time, getting some relief on points of muscle pain that may bother us.

The word Yoga, derives from the Sanskrit term “yuji”, which means yoke or union and is an ancient practice that brings together mind and body. This discipline incorporates breathing exercises, meditation and postures designed to stimulate relaxation and reduce tension. In fact, our physical and mental health are intrinsically linked and, what is good for our body, is, without any doubt, beneficial for our mind. According to some scientific studies, people who practice so-called mind-body interventions (BMI), such as Yoga, meditation and Tai Chi, produce significantly lower levels of chemical compounds that activate genes that cause reactive processes responsible for pain.

Even so, and although the practice of Yoga brings numerous advantages for physical and mental health, not all of its benefits have yet been proven by science. It is up to us, with this article, to highlight what is known to be proven today, so that we can advise you and help to alleviate the accumulated tiredness at the end of a working day.

Yoga for Tension Relief

An analysis, carried out by the universities of Coventry and Radboud, reviewed 18 scientific articles, with a total of 846 participants, and concluded that BMIs induce a significant reduction in the production of chemical compounds in the body, responsible for the activation of genes that regulate pain-related reactive processes. These molecules are released following the occurrence of events that cause some type of tension or selective pressure in the body, in response to a process commonly known as a “fight or flight reaction”. This reaction, first described by physiologist Walter Bradford Cannon, in 1927, is instinctive and primary and refers to an organic process that allows any animal to react to physical threats with a chemical discharge (regulated by neurotransmitter molecules) of the sympathetic nervous system, which allows the animal to decide between staying in place and fighting or fleeing to defend itself.

Chief investigator Ivana Buric of the University of Coventry says: “Millions of people around the world are already taking advantage of BMIs, such as Yoga or meditation, but they may not be aware that the benefits begin at the molecular level and can change the way your genetic code works. In a simpler way, BMIs make the brain able to regulate and intervene with processes involving DNA, through chemical pathways that promote our well-being. ”

For those people who still don’t treat Yoga’s subtle but deliberately complex movements as ‘you’, or whose limbs that are not very flexible make them more tense than relieved, when they try to put their legs behind their heads, Yoga can seem like an experience which, instead of relaxing, causes even more tension. However, this may simply be a matter of not doing the right positions or missing the right tips.

For example, sitting positions are the ideas to promote calm and achieve a more meditative state, when you need to relax and reflect. On the other hand, standing positions promote a feeling of confidence and power, stimulating more muscles and focusing the mind on balance.

The Best Yoga Positions

A survey, which included both beginners and experienced practitioners and practitioners of the sport, indicates that some positions are more relaxing than others. So, if you’re looking for a good time to start a relaxing Yoga session, here’s the top of the postures that most favor calm and relaxation:

Posture of the Child ( Balasana ):

Balasana is a simple resting posture, which can be interchanged between more complex asanas. You can return to this fundamental position as many times as you want, during your Yoga session.

Kneel on the floor, resting your toes on the floor, sit on your heels and spread your knees to your hip width. Exhale and lay your torso between your thighs. Extends the sacrum region, at the back of the pelvis, and contracts the thighs towards the navel, so that they are accommodated inside the leg. At the same time, it stretches the back of the neck, moving the base of the skull away from the other spine vertebrae. Place your hands on the floor beside your torso, palms up, and drop your shoulders toward the floor. Try to feel the weight of your shoulders, bringing your shoulder blades together. Stay in this position for 1 to 3 minutes.

Posture of the Bridge ( Setu Bandha Sarvangasana ):

This is the position to relieve tension and to help you calm down.

Lie on your back on the floor and, if necessary, put a pad under your shoulders to protect your neck. Bend your knees and support your feet on the floor, with your heels as close to your buttocks as possible. Exhale and, pressing the inside of the feet and arms against the floor, push the coccyx upwards towards the pubis, slightly contracting the buttocks so that they come out of the floor. Keeps thighs and inner feet parallel. Hold your hands just under your hips and stretch your arms so that your shoulders are only on the floor.

Lift your hips until your thighs are parallel to the floor, keeping your knees in line with your heels and projecting forward. Stretches the tailbone towards the back of the knees and raises the pubis towards the navel.

Pull the chin slightly away from the chest and, pressing the shoulder blades behind, press the upper part of the sternum towards the chin. Try to maximize the space between your arms and the base of your neck. Stay in this posture between 30 seconds to 1 minute. Release with an exhale, letting the spine slowly descend towards the floor.

Posture of the Corpse ( Savasana ):

Savasana is considered one of the easiest and most relaxing positions, which also makes it one of the most challenging, because, in times of greater tension and tiredness, lying down motionless can be difficult. This posture involves training to relax.

In this position it is essential that the body is in a neutral position. Lie on your back on the floor, push the back of your pelvis towards the floor and let go of both legs, relax your groins, keep your legs tilted evenly in relation to the midline of your torso and your feet facing outward. Relax your lower back.

With your hands, lift the base of the skull away from the back of the neck and tilt the back of the head towards the tailbone. If you have any difficulty doing this, support the back of your head and neck on a folded towel, for example. Make sure the head is straight, with the ears equidistant from the shoulders.

Let your arms fall to the floor, with a uniform angle in relation to the midline of your torso. Turn your arms out and away from your shoulder blades. Rest the backs of your hands on the floor, as close as possible to the joints of your index finger. Make sure the shoulder blades are evenly supported on the floor.

Savasana also helps to relax the organs involved in the senses. Therefore, it relaxes the base of the tongue, the flaps of the nose, the inner ear canals and the skin of the forehead, especially in the space between the eyebrows. Let your eyes rest on the back of your neck and then turn them down towards your chest. Stay in this posture for 5 minutes every 30 minutes of the session.

Standing Forward Folded Posture ( Uttanasana ):

This is a transitional posture, which can help you relieve tension if it is practiced on its own.

Stand with your hands on your hips. Exhale and lean the torso forward, from the hip joints, not the waist. As you descend, open the space between the pubis and the upper sternum. As with all push-ups ahead, focus on stretching your torso.

If possible, and with your knees straight, place your palms or fingertips on the floor, slightly in front of or beside your feet, or hold on the back of your ankles. If you can’t, just cross your forearms and hold your elbows with your hands. Press your heels firmly on the floor and stretch the back of your thigh towards the ceiling. Tilt your upper thighs slightly inward.

With each inhale, lift and slightly stretch the front part of the torso and, with each exhale, relax a little more in the forward bend, getting even closer to the floor. Let the head hang from the base of the neck. Stay in this posture for 30 seconds to 1 minute.

Eagle posture ( Garudasana ):

This position relieves the shoulders, where there is a lot of tension accumulated at the end of a working day. Balance helps you focus your mind and keep thoughts away, but you need strength, flexibility, endurance and a lot of concentration.

Standing, slightly bend your knees, lift your left foot and, balancing on your right foot, cross your left thigh over your right. Point the toes of the left foot towards the floor and curl the instep behind the right twin. Place body weight on the right heel to help maintain balance.

Stretch your arms out in front of you, parallel to the floor, and move your shoulder blades away. Cross your arms in front of your torso, so that your right arm is over your left, and bends your elbows. It fits the right elbow in the left curve and raises the forearms perpendicular to the floor. Your palms should be facing each other. The thumb of the right hand should pass in front of the little finger of the left hand. Press your palms together, raise your elbows and stretch your fingers toward the ceiling. Stay in this posture for 15 to 30 seconds and then relax your legs and arms, returning to the standing position. Repeat the position, for the same period of time, but now with your arms and legs inverted.

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