2 min read
11 Dec

Mental health is just as important as physical health, and practicing yoga is a great way to improve and maintain your mental well-being. Yoga has been shown to reduce stress, anxiety, and depression, and it can also improve focus, concentration, and overall mindfulness. If you're looking to take care of your mental health through the practice of yoga, here are five poses that you should incorporate into your routine:

1. Child's Pose (Balasana)

Child's pose is a gentle resting posture that helps to calm the mind and release tension in the body. To perform this pose, start by kneeling on the floor with your big toes touching and your knees slightly wider than hip-width apart. Slowly sink your hips back towards your heels and extend your arms in front of you, palms facing down. Rest your forehead on the mat and breathe deeply, feeling the stretch in your hips, lower back, and shoulders. Stay in this pose for at least 5–10 breaths, or as long as feels comfortable.

2. Downward-Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana)

Downward-facing dog is an iconic yoga pose that helps to strengthen the body and calm the mind. Begin on your hands and knees, with your wrists stacked under your shoulders and your knees under your hips. Spread your fingers wide and tuck your toes under, then lift your hips up towards the ceiling, straightening your legs as much as possible. Press your palms firmly into the mat and push your chest towards your thighs, lengthening your spine. Stay in this pose for 5–10 breaths, focusing on your breath and allowing any tension in your body to release.

3. Bridge Pose (Setu Bandhasana)Bridge pose is a gentle backbend that helps to open the chest and energize the body. Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor, hip-width apart. Place your arms by your sides, palms facing down. On an exhale, press into your feet and lift your hips off the mat, coming into a bridge shape. Keep your thighs parallel and engage your glutes and core muscles. Breathe deeply and hold the pose for 5–10 breaths, feeling the stretch in your chest, shoulders, and hips. Slowly lower your hips back down to the mat on an exhale.

4. Legs-Up-The-Wall Pose (Viparita Karani)

Legs-up-the-wall pose is a restorative pose that encourages relaxation and improves circulation. Start by sitting sideways with one hip against a wall. As you lie back, swing your legs up against the wall and scoot your buttocks as close to the wall as possible. Keep your arms relaxed by your sides, palms facing up. Allow your legs to relax and your breath to deepen. Stay in this pose for 5–10 minutes, or longer if desired. To come out of the pose, gently bend your knees and roll onto your side before sitting up.

5. Corpse Pose (Savasana)

Corpse pose is the final relaxation pose in any yoga practice and is often considered the most essential part of the practice for mental well-being. Lie flat on your back with your legs extended and your feet slightly wider than hip-width apart. Place your arms by your sides, palms facing up. Allow your entire body to relax into the mat and close your eyes. Focus on your breath, allowing it to flow naturally and effortlessly. Stay in this pose for at least 5–10 minutes, or longer if desired. When you're ready to come out of the pose, gently wiggle your fingers and toes and slowly roll onto your right side before sitting up.

These five yoga poses are just a starting point for incorporating yoga into your routine for better mental health. It's important to remember that yoga is a practice, and it's okay to start small and gradually increase the duration or intensity of your practice over time. 

Listen to your body and always practice within your limits. With consistent practice, you'll begin to experience the many mental health benefits that yoga has to offer. So roll out your mat, take a deep breath, and let yoga help you take care of your mind as well as your body.

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