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3 Yoga Poses to Support Mental Health
Throughout the years, fitness fanatics and spiritual gurus have claimed the healing powers of movement for the entire body. And in 2020, I don’t think anyone doubts that this is true! On a personal level, I truly give credit to exercise for much of my sanity and emotional healing. Although my “fitness journey” started in the gym with weightlifting, I’ve found yoga to be an incredible opportunity to connect with my body while giving me some relief of anxiety and depression. Which is exactly why I wanted to share some of my favorite yoga poses for mental health with you!
But why do these specific poses affect our mood and cognitive function? 🤔 Let’s dive deeper…
1. Viparita Karani AKA “Legs Up The Wall”
This pose is categorized as an inversion which means it’s a type of posture that places your head below your heart. Why does that matter? Well, our heart works hard to circulate blood throughout our body, but it has to work against gravity to bring blood back from our feet to our heart. So we do our ticker a favor whenever we do inversions because we’re letting gravity do the work!
Benefits may include:
– Increased blood flow to the brain
– Relief of tension in the legs
– Improved digestion
– A sense of calm
This pose is especially effective if you hold it for several minutes while practicing mindful breathing. I’m telling you: it has SAVED me from spiraling out of control countless times which is why I do it almost every night before bed to help with anxiety before falling asleep.
You can do it against the wall or in the air if you enjoy being outdoors like I do!
2. Sirsasana AKA Headstand
If you want to feel like a total yoga pro, then headstands are perfect for you! Especially because sometimes all we need to get out of a funk is a little confidence boost. But don’t worry if you’re not ready for this pose, because there are many different variations so you can nail it on the first try.
Headstands are also an inversion so they provide the same benefits as Viparita Karani (Legs Up The Wall).
3. Ustrasana AKA Camel Pose
First off, you may notice that this pose is NOT an inversion! However, just because it doesn’t increase blood flow to the brain or automatically slow your heart rate doesn’t mean it can’t affect your mood. In fact, chest openers like this one are known for energizing you while giving you a confidence boost.
Ultimately, if you’re looking for natural relief from anxiety, depression, stress, or other trauma that we store within our bodies – Yoga is for YOU! Not only does it engage the body, but it requires deep breathing that automatically activates the rest & digest mode within our body.
The ideal combination of movement and mindfulness creates a safe space for us to process our joys and pains while producing feel good chemicals in our bodies. 🙌