Relax, stretch and beat the stress with these 5 yoga postures

By deepening your breathing, the ancient form of exercise helps you to slow down.

WHAT stops us from reaching our potential? Stress, according to a recent survey by Avonmore Slimline Milk. 

Six in ten Irish women cited stress as one of the biggest barriers to being their best self.

Thriving at home and at work seems to be all about balance, with the majority of women (75%) believing a healthy diet combined with exercise and relaxation is key to feeling well.

Yoga is a perfect exercise if you’re under pressure. 

It incorporates breathing techniques to help the body to relax and relieve stress.

It also increases flexibility, strength, muscle tone, balance and focus. 

And it can leave you feeling energised, enabling you to better manage the pressure of a hectic lifestyle.

Avonmore has teamed up yoga instructor Pauline McCarthy to identify five yoga postures to bring out the best in you.

FOCUS AND STRENGTH

Relax, stretch and beat the stress with these 5 yoga postures

Benefits: Aids breathing, and strengthens the arms, legs and shoulders.

Technique: 

Stand with feet more than shoulder width apart, feet facing forward. 

Turn left foot out by 90 degrees so the toes are pointing away from your body.

Raise arms out to the sides with palms facing the ground.

Exhale and bend left knee, thigh should be parallel to the floor and knee should be above the ankle. 

Hold pose for 60 seconds and repeat on right side.

CALMING

Relax, stretch and beat the stress with these 5 yoga postures

Benefits: Stretches hamstrings, releases tension, rests the heart.

Technique: 

Stand with your hands on your hips, exhale, and lean forward from the hips.

Keep your knees straight and bring your palms or finger tips to the floor slightly in front of or beside feet. 

Press your heels firmly into the floor.

Work on straightening your legs to deepen the stretch in the backs of the legs. 

Stay in the pose for 30-60 seconds.

Tip: When coming up, bring your hands back onto hips, and come up on an inhalation.

ENERGISING

Relax, stretch and beat the stress with these 5 yoga postures

Benefits: Increases lung capacity and helping to improve circulation.

Technique: 

Kneel down with your legs hip-width apart. Place your hands on your hips, while keeping hips in line with knees.

Bend your upper body backwards touching your feet with your hands, while keeping thighs perpendicular to the floor. 

If you can’t reach your heels keep your hands on hips as you bend backwards.

Press your palms firmly against soles of your feet. 

Turn arms outwardly without squeezing your shoulder blades together. 

Stay in this pose for 30 seconds to one minute.

RESTORATIVE

Relax, stretch and beat the stress with these 5 yoga postures

Benefits: Relieves fatigue and boosts energy levels.

Technique: 

Lie flat on your back and inhale. Place palms of your hands face down on the floor. 

Keeping your hips on the floor, bend knees and bring them up towards the stomach.

Raise your legs straight up so that they are perpendicular to the floor. 

Continue to raise your legs over your head, bending at the waist, lifting the back until the toes touch the floor.

Keep your knees straight and breath slowly through your nostrils while holding the pose for several minutes. 

Reverse the steps to return to starting position.

Tip: Keep the core engaged and firm.

GROUNDING

Relax, stretch and beat the stress with these 5 yoga postures

Benefits: Releases stress.

Technique: 

Slowly shift weight onto left foot. 

Raise your right leg off the ground, bending at the knee. 

Place sole of your right foot on the inside of your left leg.

Open up your hips by pulling right knee backwards. 

Once balanced, bring hands together in front of your heart. 

Push right foot against your left thigh while simultaneously pushing your left thigh against your right foot.

Inhale and raise your hands shoulder-width apart above your head. Hold for 30 seconds to one minute.

Tip: Gaze at a fixed point to help with balance.


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