This article about yoga poses to calm your mind originally appears on the Art of Living Retreat Center’s Blog. I’ve made some small edits, and added my own thoughts on the poses.

In today’s world, where people are prone to stress, anxiety, and depression, it’s more important than ever to search for ways to relax your mind. Relationships, work, school, and/or financial worries all take a toll on our bodies and minds, and yoga can be a welcome break from the pressures of everyday life. According to one study, a regular yoga practice may help you fight stress, anxiety, and depression. While yoga overall is very useful for calming the mind, we’ve selected five poses, which, when practiced mindfully, can make a big difference in your overall stress levels.

(Mike’s comments: I used to be a fairly regular yoga practitioner, but kind of lost my way over the last few years. I can say this, I was more flexible and relaxed and much more fit in general when I was doing yoga. This is the most basic of introductions to 5 yoga poses, and if you want to learn more, I encourage you to read the blog this came from, but even more so to find a local yoga studio to join.)

Child’s Pose

Child's Pose

This pose stretches your lower back and hips, which can be very relaxing and help decrease fatigue. To try out this pose, first sit on your heels, leaving a gap between your thighs. Then, extend your upper body on the floor, your midsection resting between your thighs, and your arms fully extended on the floor. Take several long, deep breaths in this position. This position can be held for up to five minutes, or longer if you wish.

(Mike’s comments: I like this pose. It is easy, and it definitely is a pose that relaxes my mind and body. I would do this at the end of many/most practices.)

Cobra Pose

Cobra Pose

This pose is challenging, but it’s very effective at the same time. It enhances your energy level and mood, and strengthens your back. For the cobra pose, lie face down, position your palms on the floor shoulder width apart. Keep your lower body and pelvis grounded at all times, then inhale and lift your chest off the floor, while your lower body stays in place. Keep your attention on lifting from your core, rather than simply resting on your arms. You can hold the pose for a number of long, deep breaths, then let your body rest on the floor as you exhale.

(Mike’s comments: As someone that used to do a lot of sun salutations, this was nearly always in my routine. I doubt I ever stretched my back as much as the picture, and you shouldn’t feel you have to to get the benefits of this pose either. That’s my general comment on yoga poses to relax the mind, or stretch the body, or even add muscle…..don’t be intimidated by the pictures or the concepts. Like mindfulness, yoga is all about being where you are, while also stretching your limits just a bit.)

Warrior II

Warrior 2

There are three warrior poses. Warrior II Pose is a simple yoga pose, which can help release stress and tension. When doing this pose, let yourself be reminded of your inner strength and ability to stand strong against the challenges of life.

(Mike’s comments: I love this pose. I’d add to be mindful of your shoulders in this pose. Don’t push them up. Relax your mind, and feel what your shoulders are doing. My instructors always told me to let them relax, and fall into place before stretching out my hands/arms.)

Dancer’s Pose

Dancer's Pose

This is a cool yoga pose, and it’s not only for dancers. Anyone can implement this pose into their yoga routine. It’s a beautiful pose that symbolizes grace and elegance. You can do this pose with a light and happy feeling, as though you were a dancer. Not only can it release stress, but it also opens up the chest.

(Mike’s comments: Ya, I don’t do this one, I admit it, it intimidates me some. BUT, that doesn’t mean it has to intimidate you. Try it, you might like it, I know my wife likes this pose.)

Crow Pose

Crow Pose

This is a very effective pose, but it’s not an easy pose to try. Although it takes some time to master the crow pose, you will be proud of yourself when you finally get the hang of it. This pose can enhance your focus, strength, and concentration. When doing this pose, let the mind be happy and calm. In Sanskrit, this state of mind is called prasanna chetana, a pleasant, relaxed awareness. Having a strong mind can also help you overcome the symptoms of depression.

(Mike’s comments: I find this one challenging, given my arm strength. But I think that means I’m not balancing quite correctly! I would say that of the poses here, this one is easier than Dancer’s pose, but harder than the rest. As Sophie says, it takes time to master this pose.)

Mental and emotional health is just as important as physical health.

When ignored, stress can affect our physical well-being, as well as our mental peace. Making yoga a regular part of your life can help you manage stress and lower the risk of stress-related health problems.

(Mike’s comments: yoga poses to calm the mind……mindfulness to calm the mind……alternate nostril breathing to calm the mind….we seem to have a theme here are Laid Off Better Off. And, yes, we do. I think that mental health is under served in this country, that is, I think we don’t concentrate on it as much as we should. Being happy, being relaxed, just being….we need more of all of that. I hope this article piques your curiosity about yoga!)

Sophie Addison is a blogger and skincare expert, and is passionate about sharing her knowledge. She has written about everything from wrinkles to joint pain treatment, weight loss, and fitness news. She loves to garden and listen to music. Contact Sophie on Facebook or Pinterest.

This article originally appeared on Art of Living Retreat Center’s Blog

You can find it, and other great articles on thriving in life there.

Here is the original link.