Four yoga poses to reduce stress, anxiety, and mild depression
Ustrasana, Camel Pose
Ustrasana, or Camel Pose, is a deep back bending posture that helps reduce mild backaches, fatigue and anxiety (and menstrual discomfort!). It stretches the entire front of the body—shoulders, chest, deep hip flexors, thighs, and groin—and the ankles as well as helps to improve posture. Do you sit over a computer most days or are you logging hours in the garden this summer? This posture can help your back or neck pain.
If you experience high or low blood pressure, migraines, insomnia or have a serious low back or neck injury, you may want to avoid this posture or be very careful if you chose to try a modified version.
First, place a folded blanket under your knees if there is any hint of pain. Your knees should be about hip width apart (advanced students may bring their thighs, calves and inner feet closer together) and rotate your thighs inward slightly, like you are squeezing a block between the legs. Press the shins and tops of your feet firmly into the ground then rest palms on the top of the buttocks, with fingers pointing down (like you’re sliding your hand into your back pockets). Inhale, lifting your heart and exhale, press the hips forward, keep looking forward with the chin near the sternum and begin leaning back.
Beginners may not be able to bring their hands to their feet without straining their back or neck. An option is to bring the hands to two yoga blocks on either side of the ankles. The blocks should be at their highest height. If it feels comfortable to drop your head back into the shoulder girdle, go for it.
When you’re ready to come out, inhale to bring your head and body out. If your head is dropped back, lead with your heart on the inhale and then exhale, gently bringing the head forward. Avoid going into Balasana or any forward fold right away. Instead, sit on the heels for a few moments and be mindful of the sensations through the core of the body.
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This post is written by Beck Anderson. She is wife to a fixed-wing pilot and helicopter lover, registered yoga teacher at The Yoga Place, and traditional foodie blogger and Holistic Coach at Wellness Hammock.
Disclaimer: We are not providing medical advice. Always consult a physician before you begin an exercise program.