5 Yoga Poses to Release Tension

5 Yoga Poses To Release Tension

During these unprecedented and uncertain times, we are collectively feeling more anxiety and fear than ever. Although it’s normal to feel stress and pressure as we try to adjust to a new normal, that tension can manifest itself in our bodies, causing physical and mental duress.

This easy 5-minute yoga routine will help you reset throughout the day, allowing you to calm your system and focus on the present moment. As your body works to release pressure and lengthen your muscles, you’ll see and feel physical and mental benefits as you invigorate your body, mind and soul. All you need is a mat and a clear space in your home to get started today!

Talasana Pose

“Talasana” (Palm Tree Pose)

Instructions:
Stand tall on your mat with your legs together and hands at your sides. Raise your hands above your head and interlock the fingers, keeping your thumbs and pointer fingers straight. Focus your gaze straight ahead, take a deep breath and stretch the arms, shoulders and chest upwards. Then, tilt your arms to the left side and feel the whole body stretch. Hold for 20 seconds then come back to centre and hold for 10 seconds before repeating the stretch on the right side. This is one round of the pose.

Execution Tip:
For an added challenge, alternate tipping to the left and right without returning to centre, like a swaying palm in the wind. Balance is further challenged if your eyes are closed. As you increase your speed, ensure your posture is aligned straight with the front of the mat as your leg and abdominal muscles remain engaged.

Top 3 Benefits:
- Helps relieve anxiety
- Creates a sense of physical & mental balance
- Stretches the belly & improves digestion

Warrior I (Virabhadrasana I)

Warrior I (Virabhadrasana I)

Instructions:
Start in a standing position at the end of your mat. Take a big step forward with one leg, bending that knee so you are in a lunge position. Gently raise your arms straight up over your head so they are parallel to each other. Make sure your arms are strong and straight, positioned up by your ears. Keep both feet firmly planted on the mat. Hold the pose for 20 seconds before releasing your arms and coming back to a standing position. Switch your feet and repeat the pose, holding for 20 seconds.

Top 3 Benefits:
- Relieves stiffness in shoulders, back & neck
- Opens chest & promotes deep breathing
- Tones legs, ankles & knees

Warrior II (Virabhadrasana II)

Warrior II (Virabhadrasana II)

Instructions:
Start in a standing position at the end of your mat. Take a big step forward with one leg, bending that knee so you are in a lunge position. Keep your back leg straight and engaged.

Press into the feet, keeping them firmly planted on the ground and your legs strong. Sink the hips down towards the floor and reach the top of your head up to the ceiling to lengthen the spine. Bring your arms straight out in a T-position and keep your gaze forward. Relax the shoulders down and back, pressing the chest forward. Breathe and hold for 20 seconds before releasing your arms and coming back to a standing position. Switch your feet and repeat the pose, holding for 20 seconds.

Execution Tip:
Focus on your inner warrior through this pose, to build a feeling of inner strength and power. As you practice this pose on a regular basis, you will grow in your ability to face daily conflicts with confidence and grace.

Top 3 Benefits:
- Develops concentration & groundedness
- Improves circulation & respiration
- Relieves cramps & energizes the entire body

Bound Side Angle Pose (Baddha Parsvakonasana)

Bound Side Angle Pose (Baddha Parsvakonasana)

Execution Tip:
This is a challenging pose that builds off the Warrior 1 and Warrior II poses we just reviewed. Make sure you are comfortable executing the Warrior poses before attempting the Bound Side Angle Pose.

Instructions:
Begin on your mat in Downward Facing Dog pose. Step your right foot forward between your hands and rise up into Warrior 1. Open your hips, arms and chest into Warrior 2 pose. Lower your right shoulder as low as you can beside your right inner thigh and reach your right arm underneath your hamstring. Reach your left arm around your lower back and bind your hands together for stability. Draw your upper shoulder back as far as you can and gaze upwards towards the ceiling. Try to stack your shoulders and lengthen through your spine as you draw your belly in. Stay here for 10 seconds. Then come back to Down Dog and repeat this pose on the left side.

Top 3 Benefits:
- Promotes mental clarity
- Strengthens the chest, slims the waist & hips
- Stretches the groins, spine, waist, chest & lungs

Child's Pose (Balasana)

Child’s Pose (Balasana)

Instructions:

Turn over on the mat to position yourself on all fours and spread your knees wide apart while your big toes remain touching. Lower down and rest your bottom onto your heels. Center your breath and turn your awareness inward. Hold for as long as desired.

Top 3 Benefits:
- Calms the brain, helps relieve stress & fatigue
- Relieves back & neck pain
- Gently stretches the hips, thighs & ankles

Designed to set your day up for success, both on and off the mat, we hope this series leaves your mind calm and body stimulated. For best results, follow this practice daily for a minimum of one week. For increased intensity, repeat this yoga sequence several times in a row to build on your practice.

We recommend that you consult your doctor before starting any new exercise programs. If you experience any pain or discomfort during your practice, stop immediately. Never push yourself past the point of gentle tension.