Yoga has numerous health benefits and is not just another exercise program. In fact yoga helps you de-stress your day and unwind. Apart from physical benefits, yoga also provides psychological and mental benefits. And because yoga is a form of slow exercise with mindful breathing, you tend to let go of your stress. It is important to wear comfortable clothing, which is not too loose when doing yoga.
Deep breathing – sit in a comfortable position, with your spine erect. Inhale to the count of four, then hold for the count of four, then exhale for the count of four and last hold for the count of four. Do this at least10 times, focusing on your breath, and not letting your mind wander.
Arm stretch – stand straight and clasp your hands tightly at the back. Lift as far as they go; you will feel your shoulders and chest stretching. Hold for the count of five breaths and bring your hand back to the starting position. Do this 10 times.
Back stretch – hold on to a stationary chair or table with both your hands and arms outstretched walk backwards as far as your arms let you go. Bend forward at the hips, with your head down. Your body should be at a right angle and you feel the stretch in your arms, neck, and back. Hold for five breaths and then stand straight. Repeat at least five times.
Side bend – stand straight and keep feet some distance apart. Raise the left hand straight upwards, while inhaling. While exhaling move the right hand downwards towards your knee on the right side and as your right-hand moves downwards till it feels the stretch, your left hand should be moving towards the right over your head. Hold for five breaths and come back to normal position. Do the same with your right hand.
Back stretch – hold arms straight, just below the shoulders. While inhaling, with a left-hand clasp the opposite elbow. Do the same with the right hand. Exhale and move the hands first to one side. Inhale and move them to the other side. Do this 10 times.
Forward bend (downward facing dog) – stand straight and bend forward, standing on the tips of your toes and bring your hands down, with the palms down. Your hips should be at the center of your body. Hold the position for 5 breaths.
Sphinx pose – lie down on your stomach, legs stretched together and flat. Put your arms at right angles and contract your buttocks. Inhale and lift yourself on your elbows, with your palms down. The elbows should be at right angles to your shoulders.
Shoulder stretch – sit on the floor in a cross-legged position. Interlace the fingers of your hands and move both hands upward, above your head, with the palms facing upwards. Hold for five breaths and come back to the original position, with hands down. Move your shoulders, rolling them backwards and forwards. Repeat the exercise.
Child’s pose – get down on your hands and knees. Keep knees aligned with the hips and feet together. Now sit on your heels and move your arms and upper body forward so that your forehead touches the floor. Stretch your arms flat out, straight. Hold for five breaths, relax and repeat.
Corpse pose – lie flat on your back, legs somewhat apart, arms straight and hands, palms open, near your hips. Inhale and tense all the muscles in your body. Hold for a few seconds, then exhale and release all the tension, relaxing all the muscles.
You don’t need to do each of these 10 times nor do you need to hold each pose for five breaths. You can start slowly and work your way up and these yoga exercises will help you de-stress.