14 Feb 2019
Yoga Flow For Reducing Anxiety and Tension
It’s normal to feel anxious sometimes, everyone does at one point or another. Anxiety is our body’s way of keeping us safe, but it differs from fear, which is our body’s natural response to immediate danger. Instead Anxiety is the feeling of nervousness, unease, or worry that occurs in the absence of an imminent threat. A certain level of anxiety is helpful in situations and can motivate us. For example if we feel anxious about an assignment that’s due, it can help us to get it done on time.
Anxiety is part of the body’s natural reaction to stress, so it can be a good thing. However, feeling too much anxiety about something is unhealthy. When we’re very anxious, we have intense feelings of worry and distress that are not easy to control. Anxiety can interfere with how we go about our everyday lives, our happiness, wellness, and make it hard to cope with ‘normal’ everyday challenges. This leads to increased anxiety in all areas of life, stopping you from doing those bigger things – like solo travel, trying a new sport (like learning to surf) or stepping up in a meeting.
A way to work through these feelings is through a mindfulness and a yoga practice. Yoga is a solo exercise that involves deep breathing, focusing on postures (asanas) and stilling the mind. Yoga also has other benefits – like lower blood pressure, stress relief and reducing insomnia, plus increased physical improvements such as fitness, flexibility, balance, muscle strength and tone!
The following flow from our Yoga Goddess Retreats in Ubud Bali, are specifically designed for reducing tension, anxiety and leaving you in a relaxed blissed out state.
These movements are possible for nearly everyone to attempt and practice.
Ubud Yoga Goddess Retreats: Yoga Flow For Reducing Anxiety and Tension
1: Paschimottonasana (seated forward fold)
Sit down with your legs stretched outright. Make sure to activate the leg muscles and the arches of the feet. As you inhale, lift the arms up, engage the core, and press the sits bones and the backs of the knees down. As you exhale, lead with the heart towards the feet, the belly towards the thighs, and the shoulders down and back as you fall forward while maintaining a straight spine. If the lower back curves at all, come up a little higher and simply place a pillow underneath your stomach to rest on. Hold for a minimum of one minute.
2: Upavistha Konasana (wide legged forward fold seated)
From paschimottanasana, open your legs wide, press the backs of the knees down, engage the core, and keep the arches of the feet activated. Inhale, lift the arms up, and exhale, lead with the heart down towards the feet, and stop before the spine begins to round. You may place a pillow or bolster beneath your belly to rest on.
3: Parsva Upavistha Konasana (seated side stretch pose)
From upavistha konasana, lift the arms up, and lower the right hand to the inner right leg, and lift the left arm over the side of your body towards the right toes. Make sure that you are lifting up from the hips and over, bending at the space at the hip joint, rather than rounding over with the ribcage. You will know if you are in the correct asana if you can breath naturally into the belly (this is true for every asana). Hold for as long as you can, a minimum of 30 seconds, however the longer you hold the asana, the benefits increase. After you finish one side, switch to the other.
4: Adho Mukha Savasana (Downward Facing Dog)
Bring the legs together, bend the knees, and press back into downward facing dog. (One of our favourites at our Bali Yoga Retreats)
Open the shoulders and the heart, engage the core, reach the heels back, and keep the neck in line with the spine while reaching the hips up and back. Breathe here for a minimum of 5 deep breaths.
5: Anjaneyasana (Low Lunge)
Reach one leg back, and bring it through the arms. Keep the spine straight, heart open, and the shoulder blades back as you reach your fingertips to the floor or on blocks. Check that the knee and ankle of the bent leg are in one line, reach the back heel back, and keep the hips square. Take a minimum of 5 deep breaths in this pose.
6: Kapotasana (pigeon pose)
Heel-toe the front foot over to the opposite wrist, and drop both knees to the ground. Untuck the back toes, keep the quads activated, and keep the arch of the front foot activated. Keep the hips square, if the hip of the front leg is lifted, place a pillow or block underneath, and slowly lower the heart towards the floor and relax the arms, shoulders, and torso. This asana requires leg strength and stability to give way for the upper body to fully relax. This hip and hamstring opener releases stored emotions in the hips and calms the nervous system. Stay here for a minimum of one minute, then press up, tuck the toes, and press the hips back into downward facing dog and repeat low lunge and pigeon pose on the other leg. Once you have done that the set on your second side return to downward dog once more.
7: Uttanasana (Forward Fold)
From Downward Facing Dog, walk the feet forward to the hands, with a straight spine and and open heart, keep the weight over the toes and relax in this pose for a minimum of 5 breaths.
8: Supta Matsyendrasana (Supine Spinal Twist)
Lay down on your back with your knees bent, cross one knee over the other and twist to that side, with the knees at hip length. Open the arms out to either side, and make sure you have the opposite shoulder on the mat- this is more important than having the knees down! Stay here for a minimum of 30 seconds(the longer the better!), take deep breaths, and allow the body to fully melt into the floor. Repeat on the other side.
Lay back, allow the legs to open up, arms at 45 degree angles on either side of your body, and deeply relax into the floor. Find your breath and mediate here for a bit.
Stay for as long as you would like, but when you are ready roll to one side and come up slowly.
Have the Yoga bug? Click here to read more about our Ubud Yoga Goddess Retreats in Bali. Including specialised Ayurveda Spa Treatments and Ubud Cultural Wellness experiences.