If there’s one thing having two young sons has taught me, it’s the importance of taking a beat when I find myself in moments of overwhelm (which, let’s face it, is quite often these days!)
Rising sensations of stress, anxiety and panic are common daily experiences for many of us – whether you have kids or not. In fact, these negative emotions are one of the main side-effects of our modern, fast-paced lives.
As much as I love and support all you go-getters out there, and fully believe we women are capable of whatever we set our minds to, I also know (and value) the importance of recognising our personal limits and taking the time to slow down as needed.
For me, part of this slowing down has always included yoga.
Though not practice everyone regularly partakes in, there are a few key (and simple!) poses that can be introduced in times of need, that are super effective at releasing tension, activating the parasympathetic nervous system, and helping through experiences of anxiety, stress, insomnia, and panic. Just a few minutes in each pose will make the world of difference to your immediate experience – with benefits that last throughout your day.
A simple seated posture that focusses on your breathing and creates room for internal reflection, Butterfly Pose grounds you in the moment. A pose that encourages a meditative state, racing thoughts will soon be quietened, and sensations of anxiety decreased.
Child’s Pose is a definite favourite, and one of my go-tos both for providing a sense of calm and stability. Extended Child’s Pose also provides a gentle yet deep stretch of your back and shoulders.
If you experience any lower back, knee, or hip pain it can be nice to tuck a cushion between your legs and buttocks, raising your hips a little, and reducing the pressure on your lower back and knees.
Let your eyes close and enjoy the grounding, calming qualities of the posture.
Poses that put your head below your heart work to soothe and cool your nervous system, thereby reducing stress.
Fresh, oxygenated blood rushes to the brain, helping manage anxiety, depression, and insomnia. Once in position, you can enhance these benefits by grasping each elbow and gently swinging side to side, increasing spinal mobility, and circulating fresh blood throughout your body.
Balancing poses are fantastic distractors! Their very nature means your attention is focussed on keeping taut and upright, forcing you into the moment and to let go of that which is troubling you.
Balancing poses help release serotonin (aka your body’s “happy chemical”), promoting a sense of strength, security, empowerment, and control - over not only your physical body, but your thoughts and emotions as well.
The ultimate surrender and often incorporated at the end of a yogic practice, Corpse Pose may sound a little grim (and look like a simple practice) – however its effects are powerful. Triggering the activation of the parasympathetic nervous system, Corpse Pose allows your body - and mind - the chance to fully rest, relax and recoup.
Just five-ten minutes in this pose will result in a renewed sense of calm and peace, which you then take into the remainder of your day.
If you’re feeling particularly nervous, anxious or uncertain about a meeting, presentation, review – or first date! – try standing in one of my all-time favourite POWER POSES. Power poses are assertive, powerful stances and postures that naturally enhance inner strength and confidence. And they really work. Give it a go next time you feel you need a little extra confidence boost – you’ll be amazed by how effective it is!
👉 These power postures are easily able to be done during a quick ‘bathroom break’ if you find yourself feeling anxious and stressed at work. Trust me, there have been a few times in my life I’ve stood in power pose in the bathroom before an important conversation!
I consider these six yogic poses my ‘toolbox’ when it comes to dealing with anxiety, overwhelm and stress.
Though it’s not always possible to partake in a daily yoga routine, I know they’re there waiting for me when I need them, and that in itself can be reassuring.
If you are able to start including these postures in a regular practice, you’ll soon begin building resilience to the busy world around you and more readily turn to your breath and a state of calm during times of intensity.
For any further yogi recommendations, DM me – always happy to share my knowledge and support my Tribe of amazing women!
Carra Lee xx