Saturday, 19 August 2017

Family Friendly Stress Busting Yoga

Yoga Routine For All

Heading back to school can be a stressful time for everyone in the family. That’s why we put together a simple yoga routine that’s easy enough you can do it at home with your family or on your own. This routine is great to use anytime but particularly as a cool down from a stressful day, or before bed to help promote restful sleep. 

The routine itself can be adjusted in length depending how long you want to hold your poses for. I would suggest starting by holding each pose for three breaths in and out, especially when working with little ones as slowing down and staying still can be a challenge for young yogis. Moving forward you can chose to keep your poses shorter and more like a flow or hold poses longer to increase relaxation. If you are wanting to do more yoga but maybe not have longer holds you may also choose to repeat this little flow a few times.

How does Yoga help?

Yoga is where the breath and body meet in union, in fact the very word Yoga means “Union” when translated from Sanskrit. By connecting to the breath, we can bring mindfulness into our movements and help create a sense of calm in the body.  By consciously slowing and deepening the breath, we help to soothe the sympathetic nervous system which is responsible for the bodies fight or flight and anxiety responses. Certain yoga poses can also help to promote relaxation and restore a sense of calm. Sometimes the benefit just comes from having something other than your thoughts to focus on for a few minutes.

Balancing postures like Tree pose are beneficial for centering the mind and strengthening the lower body. Creating a sense of grounding helps to reduce anxiety and promote mental wellness and good sleep. Tree pose helps to cool the body down and balances the flight of flight response reducing stress. Physical benefits include strengthening the muscles in your feet, ankles, legs and spine. The strengthening aspect of tree pose helps to combat low back pain while helping to stretch along the spine making you both stronger and longer. The chest also gets to open in this pose which reduces postural related pain in the upper back and allows the heart to open.

Forward folds are also wonderful stress busters. This allows circulation to increase especially to our internal organs leading to improved digestive health and stimulates metabolism. Helping to stretch through the calves and hamstrings it also allows the spine to decompress and the muscles of the neck to release. To get the full benefit of this decompression let your arms and head hang, maybe nod your head from side to side to make sure the neck muscles soften.  

Any time the body moves in towards itself, as with forward folds and child's pose, the body experiences an increase in relaxation. In particular, forward folds find our heads lower than our heart allowing freshly oxygenated blood to pass to the brain. Increased blood flow to the brain helps individuals clear brain fog and supports as sense of clarity. This turning inwards soothes the sympathetic (flight of flight) nervous system and promotes our parasympathetic (rest and digest) nervous system. 

This pose has all the benefits of other forward folds but is one of the easiest poses to hold for extended periods without needing props or worrying about injury. Childs pose is a great place to reconnect to slowing down and resting. The gentle pressure received from your head being on the mat helps to soothe the mind. It can be a great pose to take to reconnect with the breath or empty a busy mind. The back gets a slight traction allowing the lower spine to decompress while the shoulders get a gentle stretch that allows the chest to open. If done with wide knees this pose helps to open the hips which is particularly helpful for those who spend long hours sitting. When done with the knees together it increases circulation through the digestive tract and helps to massage the internal organs.

Belly Breathing is one of the fastest and simplest ways to increase relaxation. Belly breathing is associated with relaxation and increased oxygen to the bodies tissues. The health benefits don't end there however, belly breathing improves concentration, promotes feelings of well being and reduces muscle tension. Other health benefits include improved immune function, lowered blood pressure and increased lung capacity. Belly breathing also makes us feel better by calming the mind and releasing endorphins. The best part is it can be done anywhere and can be as fast and simple as three deep breaths. This can be a great exercise to do before bed at night and before getting out of bed in the morning. 

While yoga is generally safe for everyone its best to talk to your doctor or medical health professional before undertaking a new exercise routine especially if you have any pre-existing conditions, injuries or particular concerns. If you have any questions about anything mentioned in this blog or video feel free to email Megan our resident Yoga Teacher and Registered Massage Therapist directly!


Megan Prenty RMT, YT

Disclaimer: The information contained in these topics is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, it is provided for educational purposes only. This information shouldn’t take the place of seeing a Naturopathic Doctor or your primary care provider for individualized health recommendations.

No comments:

Post a Comment