Yoga Moves That Help With Anxiety
As a new mom let’s just say I have a lot on my mind. I am trying to run my business, teach classes, take care of myself and look after my adorable baby boy. I never thought I would have so many anxious thoughts all day long. I am constantly worried about my little guy having enough sleep, food, playtime, love, etc. “Am I being a good mom?” “How can I get work done and still spend precious time with him?” “Should I teach less hours?” I have a laundry list of questions running through my brain. And on top of it all, I’m barely getting any sleep each night!
Yoga to the rescue…every time I start to get really overwhelmed, I stop and take a deep, full breath. Whether Timothy is with me (I can do yoga poses while he’s playing in his activity gym) or I’m on my own, I will do these three yoga poses to help calm my nervous mind and quell the anxiety.
Downward Facing Dog—Downward Dog is an incredible pose for so many things. I especially find it helpful when I am anxious because it releases my entire body. I can feel the tightness in my shoulders, back, jaw and neck when I initially go in the pose. Downward dog stretches out every part of my body and releases my mind. There are so many little adjustments to think about in the posture, it forces my mind to focus. If Timothy is lying underneath me, I can look at his gorgeous happy face and it makes me relax. I often close my eyes in downward dog as well to do a mental scan of my body to see where I can let go a bit more.
Start on all fours, tuck under your toes and lift your hips up and back. Press firmly in to your hands and try and transfer your weight back in to your legs. Engage your abdominals and stay and breathe for at least 8 to 10 breaths.
Pigeon—My favorite teacher, Nevine, always says our hips are like the basement of the house where we store all of our junk. Over time we need to take out the trash or else it just piles up and overwhelms us. Pigeon feels good and releases the hips and lower back. I feel like I can always calm down a little when I go in to pigeon pose, it’s like soaking in to a warm bath.
From downward facing dog, bring your right knee forward towards your right hand and your right foot towards your left hand. The shin will run somewhat parallel to the front edge of the mat. Lift your chest and sink the front of your upper left thigh towards the mat and lengthen through the left leg as you lower it the floor. Stay upright until you feel the hips settle then you can also walk forward and lay the torso on the floor and release your forehead to the mat. Hold for 8 to 10 breaths then step back in to downward dog and repeat on the left side.
Janu Sirasasana—One of my all time favorite poses is janu sirasasana also known as head to knee pose. Janu sirasasana releases the hips, hamstrings, lower back, shoulders and upper back. The kidney region gets a good stretch as well, helping us release anxiety and fear. Our kidneys are shaped like our ears and the sound the ears like to hear most is the oceanic sound of the breath. When we hear that breath in this pose it allows us to let go.
From pigeon on the left side, swing your right leg around in front and straighten it out placing the left foot on the inner upper right thigh. Lift up through your chest then walk you hands forward and extend your torso over the right leg. Stay here for 8 to 10 breaths then repeat on the opposite leg.
Kristin McGee is a celebrity yoga and Pilates instructor in New York City. She is the star of over 100 videos, a contributing editor at Health Magazine and a spokeswoman for many brands and causes she believes in. Kristin also appears frequently on television. A proud mom to three, she sure keeps herself busy!