Yoga to manage stress and anxiety during self isolation
In the weeks and months that follow, coronavirus has deemed us housebound, and unfortunately, that means not seeing family and friends. So how best to spend your time if you can’t leave your home? If you’re new to yoga, why not start as a self-isolation project, or as a new hobby. It will give you something to take your mind off the lack of normality this year, plus it counts as exercise.
For some, yoga can also act as an outlet for pent up emotions, a de-stressor of sorts or can simply mean time away from our hectic lives. So channeling that energy into something productive and fun like yoga can do you the world of good mentally.
Turn your living room into your own home yoga studio
Kat, our founder recently told Balance Magazine how to turn your space into the ideal home yoga studio. Kat divided it down into 7 key elements to consider for creating that perfect yoga studio. Here are some of the main takeaways from Kat’s list, we thought would help you over the Easter break in self-isolation.
Bringing nature indoors helps you feel grounded and also increases oxygen levels giving us a wellbeing boost. Plus it’s pretty cool to know they are inhaling and exhaling alongside us.
Natural sunlight is ideal for a yoga practice, it’s a breath of fresh air if you’re used to staring at a blue light screen all day. For an evening practice, light some warm glowing candles or dim your room lights for a magical feel.
Finding your soul mat
“I always found it at odds with a practice that’s to connected to nature to be practicing on a toxic PVC mat. So I started Yogi Bare to provide accessible eco-friendly mats that were incredibly high performance.” - Kat. No more slipping from downward dog into a faceplant anymore, Yogi Bare mats are super grippy, thick and stable enough not to budge on carpet or hard wooden floor.
If you’ve not heard of aromatherapy, now is the time to jump on the bandwagon. If you don’t know where to start, Grapefruit essential oil is Kat’s personal favourite for its uplifting qualities during a yoga session. Set aside some incense or a candle to practice your yoga flow, with each breath you will feel calmer and more relaxed.
Kat’s favourite album to practice to at the moment is the newly released ‘Flow State’ by masters of the trance Above & Beyond. It’s an ambient and moving mix and can feel totally euphoric. The key to choosing the right sounds is something that resonates with you, if you prefer more natural sounds try a playlist of birds tweeting or rain falling.
How to manage stress and anxiety through yoga practices
A yoga flow is a series of movements that flow without stopping from one to the next, integrated with breathing in the change of each position or movement. This allows your mind to focus solely on one thing. It’s important to give your mind time out from over-consumption of content, multitasking and over-stimulation of your senses that would otherwise lead to a mental burn out, stress and anxiety.
3 easy yoga poses to reduce stress and anxiety
The Child’s Pose - this brings calmness and contentment, by bringing your knees to your chest, similar to fetal position, the inherent phycology behind this position relaxes our minds.
Kneel comfortably on your yoga mat, reach your arms up and bring them forward until your head touches the floor in front of you, or as far as you can. Then take a deep breath in, release tension in all of your muscles and close your eyes upon exhale. Breath in and out for 10 seconds in this pose.
The Seated Forward Bend - this position can relieve tension in your head and stretch any tight muscles in your back, caused by stress.
Sit upright on your mat with your legs stretched in front of you. Reach your arms up with a long spine and stretch your heart forward to your toes. Go as far as is possible for your body where you can feel a stretch but no pain. Practice breathing in this position for 10 seconds.
The Tree Pose - When anxiety builds up and your mind is racing, holding this stance helps you focus and discipline your mind to slow down your thoughts, and process them normally.
From standing, bear your weight onto one foot and slowly lift the other foot off of the ground. Slowly turn the sole of your left foot toward the inside of your left leg. Place it on the outside of your left ankle, calf, or thigh, whichever is most comfortable. Bring your hands over your head and into a comfortable position, with your palms together at your chest. Hold this pose for up to 2 minutes, focussing on your breathing.
Integrate these poses into your yoga flow and you will finish feeling relaxed and calmer.
Master Mental Control With Yoga
At the end of a yoga routine, you finish with ‘savasana’. This is a meditative portion of your yoga routine where you lie still on your back for a period of quiet meditation, a time where you are encouraged to control the impulse of your mind, to clean and refocus your energy. Traditionally the pre performing poses and postures were structured and organised into an order that allows your mind and body to prepare to reap the maximum benefits of the savasana that follows.
All You Need To Get Started This Easter Is a Yoga Mat
We recommend the PAWS X mat. Designed with high-performance sustainable materials and innovative grip technology. The perforated natural rubber helps with sweat flow and the dimensions are wider and longer than traditional yoga mats - more room to move if you’re new to yoga. The PAWS X also has extra thickness for supportive comfort and the laser etching centralises you, allowing you to glide through your routine with ease.