Do you find yourself stuck with a heavy weight of stress and worry? Yoga can bring a change in your life but to get the full benefit you need to release into your practice. If you can release, then your mind will calm, your worries are subdued and stress can be managed. The first step in reaching that point is to acknowledge that you want to release what is weighing you down and then “let it go”.
Yoga can help you let go of what isn’t serving you by helping your body connect to your mind to eliminate stressful things in your life that you need to let go of.
- Downward Facing Dog is the ultimate connection pose, affecting everything from the head to the toes. This pose combines strength with stretching and helps to relax and balance the mind and body. Downward Facing Dog is also an inversion, since your head is below your heart. Inversions can improve circulation and relax the mind, among other things. Taking a few moments to feel these benefits will help you to have a clearer sense of what direction you’d like to take and, ultimately, a greater ability to let go of your struggles.
- Cobra Pose can relieve tension and stiffness surrounding the muscles in your back, improve circulation, elevate your mood, and reduce fatigue, helping you on your journey to “let it go.”
- Mountain Pose is the foundation of all standing poses and Upward Salute is a beautifully empowering variation of Mountain Pose. Both poses physically create space, strengthen the legs and abdomen, lengthen the spine, promote good posture and help bring a calmness and unity to your body and mind. Upward Salute also creates space for enthusiasm, energy and harmony. Start with both feet firmly grounded with your big toes and the outer corners of your feet firmly into the floor to help stabilize your body. Slowly raise your arms above your head and open your heart. Rotate your thighs inward, draw your rib cage toward your spine and engage your core. Breathe deeply and slowly to help keep your calm sense of stability. If you’d like an additional challenge, try to close your eyes and just trust yourself!
- Standing Forward Fold: Not only can a Standing Forward Fold help you let go of stiffness in your neck and back, but it also helps you let go of unwanted stress, anxiety and fatigue. This pose is another inversion and helps soothe the nerves. A bad morning followed by a handful of folding sequences can help you to re-evaluate your situations and tackle them with a clearer, less reactionary mindset.
While we don’t forget what has happened to cause the pressure in the first place (because maybe we aren’t even supposed to), we can hope to have the ability to reduce any worry, stress, or anxiety associated with it. Strengthening your mind-body connection will give you more power to take control over your own actions and decisions. Yoga won’t solve your problems, nor will it change or control other circumstances or people but hopefully it will help you let go of what needs to be released and take control of your own actions and reactions. This way, you can completely focus on what you want to have in your life.
How to put away the stress you have been carrying around
Take hold of a glass of water. Raise it up and stretch your arm out. Hold it for 5 seconds then see if you can hold it for a minute. You can try to hold it for longer but imagine if you were to hold this all day? How heavy would it feel?
The actual weight of the glass is of no real significance. What does matter is how long I hold onto it. If I hold it for a minute, it doesn’t feel so heavy. If I hold it for an hour, I’ll eventually start cramping up in my arm. If I hold it for a whole day, my arm will probably numb up and feel paralysed. In each case, the weight of the glass or object doesn’t change but the longer I hold it, the heavier it gets.
Now imagine this is all the stress you are carrying around. If we stress about things for a short while, nothing happens. If we think about them a little longer, it starts to hurt. If we think about them all day, we will feel paralysed and unable to do anything. It’s important to remember to let go of whatever stresses you. So every evening, as early as possible, put away the stress you have carried during the day. Don’t carry things throughout the evening and into the night. Learn to let go of your stress and be happy because you deserve it. What would it feel like to let it go? As you go through your yoga tonight, imagine you are letting go of your stress with each pose. Visualise all your worries inside the water in the glass then watch your worries drift away down the plughole as you pour the water away. Let them go.