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Published by Sivarajan

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Published by: Sivarajan on Sep 04, 2009
Copyright:Traditional Copyright: All rights reserved


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Ten Yoga Poses for Tension Relief 
The following are a list of poses that when performed in combination with mindfulness and breathingtechniques can draw your body out of the sympathetic (stress response) nervous system and into theparasympathetic nervous system (relaxation response), thereby reducing the health risks associated withchronic stress. Although these poses are considered therapeutic, always move into and out of each poseslowly and mindfully to avoid injury. As you hold each pose focus on your breath. Notice the qualityof your breath (short, full, fast, slow, in your belly, in your chest). As you become more mindful of yourbreath it will naturally slow down. Experiment with lengthening the exhale, or pausing between eachinhale and exhale. Try mindfully sending the breath to parts of your body that are holding tension andas you exhale visualize that area “letting go”.
1) Supported Forward Bend: Releasingand relaxing the neck
Sit on the floor in front of a chair with yourlegs crossed or straight, with enough blanketson the seat so your forehead can rest on theblankets without strain. Rest your head on thechair seat (or blankets) with your arms underyour forehead. If your legs are straight, pull thechair over your legs towards your belly. Dropthe chin towards the chest to gently stretch theneck muscles.
2) Supported Ardha Uttanasana (Half Forward Bend):
Stretching the lower back,relaxing the upper back and neck. Stand infront of a table stacked with blankets (or usethe back of a high backed chair) high enoughso that when you bend over and rest your torsoon them, you are forming a right angle. Extendthe spine and rest the arms straight forward orcrossed, whichever is more comfortable. Dropthe chin toward the chest and let the neck gen-tly stretch. Breathe deeply and slowly.
Ten Yoga Poses for Tension Relief, Continued
4) Viparita Karani: Inverting the bloodflow and calming the mind3) Adho Mukha Svanasana (Down-ward Dog): Deeply stretching the back,shoulders, and legs:
Begin on hands andknees; as you exhale, turn the toes under andlift the sit bones, straightening the legs andarms. Press your hands into the ground as thebase of the spine moves diagonally up. Theweight of the head will create a stretch in theneck. Watch that the ribs do not sink down; liftthem to create a space between the shoulderblades and to avoid jamming the spine. Comedown on an exhalation.
Since this pose increases blood flow to thehead, it is excellent in the beginning stage of a headache. But if you are having migrainesymptoms, indicating that the blood vesselsare dilated, and if the pain increases, skip thispose and rest in savasana. Do not do this poseif you have hiatal hernia, eye pressure, retinalproblems, heart problems, or disc problems inthe neck, or during menstruation or pregnancy.Lying on the floor with a blanket or bolsterunder your lower back, place your legs upagainst the wall. Remember to drop the chindown, creating length in the neck. Cover youreyes with an eye bag or wrap. Some peoplefind headache relief in this pose when theyplace a weight, such as a sand bag, on thehead, with one end on the forehead and theother draped over the top of the head onto thefloor. This additional pressure helps to dropthe head further into the ground, releasing thestrain in the neck muscles.
Ten Yoga Poses for Tension Relief, Continued
5) Savasana (Corpse Pose):
Relaxingcompletely Lie on your back on the floor withyour eyes covered and a blanket under yourneck and head. You may put an additionalblanket under your knees. If you are pregnant,lie on the left side, extending the bottom legand bending the top one, with a blanket underthe top knee. Relax completely, breathe deep-ly, and let go.
6) Simple Seated Twist: Relieving strain in theback, rotating and stretching the neck
Sit on the chair, feet firmly on the ground, sittingbones pressing down, sides of the torso extended. Onthe exhalation, reach around and take your right armto the back of the chair and your left hand to yourright knee. Extend the back of your head up and makesure the head is on the midline. Turn on the exhalation, breathing low into the belly, then into the chest.Lastly, turn the head and eyes. Remember to keep theshoulders down, the chest open, and the shoulderblade tips in. Center the movement below the naveland in the belly; relax the eyes and jaw.

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