When pain and stress starts to pile on, you can get a little yoga for stress relief – no matter where you are and what you are doing.
Whether you have practiced yoga or not, you probably know that yoga is a powerful stress and pain reliever. Yoga relief reverses the stress response, helps heal your body, and focuses your mind. This sounds good, but what happens if you can’t make it to a yoga class, get out your yoga mat at home, or simply don’t have any extra time? These may also be the reasons why your stress levels are soaring and your back is aching.
Where is your yoga when you need it the most?
You just received an email with a crazy new work deadline, or you are stuck in traffic, stuck in a meeting, stuck in a waiting room, or just did too much shopping – your back starts to tense, your neck aches, and you realize you have not been breathing. In others words, you are stuck some place far from your yoga mat and with no yoga pants.
What you need is Undercover Yoga!
There are many yoga practices that you can do, wherever you are. Nobody but you needs to know you are practicing yoga. You can get the stress and pain relief from yoga that you crave throughout your day, without ever stepping into a yoga class or even putting on yoga pants. You don’t even have to be experienced with yoga. You can start, right now, learning under cover yoga.
Whether you find yourself, standing, sitting, alone, or in a large group, you can get yoga relief with these 6 practical, easy yoga practices.
Working with your breath is one of the most powerful and simple yoga practices you can do anywhere. To practice, you can be either sitting or standing.
1. Belly Breathing
Wherever you are, take a relaxing breath. Then, continue breathing deep into your belly. Do this by sitting or standing tall, relax your belly as you inhale and allow it to expand with your incoming breath. As you exhale, you gently draw your belly inward. The more you practice the easier it gets.
2. Even count breathing
This is a balancing breath. Breathe through your nose. Inhale 4 counts, hold your breath for 4 counts, and then exhale for 4 counts. Repeat. You can make your counts longer or shorter, just be sure you find a count that is comfortable for you. Keep it relaxed — remember no one should be able to tell you are practicing!
Yoga Relief Poses
To be your healthiest self, you need to move throughout the day. Sneaking in yoga moves is a powerful way to boost your well being.
For Tadasana, have your feet a comfortable distance apart. Press your feet firmly into the ground – yes, you can do this with your shoes on your feet. Relax your tailbone down. Soft knees. Lengthen up from the top of your head. Lengthen the back of your neck. Breathe deeply. Gaze either at the person your talking with/listening to or rest your eyes on a point of focus 7 or more feet away. Take a deep breath. Feel relaxed and powerful. Continue to press your feet into the ground and lift the top of your head skyward as you breathe deeply.
This alone can help shift your attitude, relive back tension, improve your posture and breathing. This stance with breathing can reverse the stress response and make you feel more powerful and energized.
Seated Undercover Yoga Relief
If you are in a meeting where closing your eyes or moving would be distracting (or rude), it’s time to practice these yoga poses.
4. Sitting tadasana
Sit upright towards the edge of your chair, feet firmly on the ground. Practice like standing tadasana above.
5. Hip stretch
Sit at the edge of your chair. With your right foot firmly on the ground, cross your left leg over into the figure 4 position where your left ankle will be on your right thigh near your right knee. Allow the left knee to release down toward the floor (no worries if it doesn’t move down). For many, you will feel a stretch in your left hip immediately. Some of you will want to lean forward just a bit to feel the stretch. Keep your back lengthened, this is good for your spine and helps prevent anyone guessing what you are doing! After awhile casually come out of the pose and go to the other side.
6. With or without arms chest expander
Sitting or standing tall, simply squeeze your shoulder blades together, hold, and breathe deeply. Feel like you are squeezing out all tension as your back muscles strengthen and your chest muscles gently stretch. If you feel like it wouldn’t be too noticeable, try interlocking your fingers behind you, squeeze the shoulder blades together and lengthen and slightly lift your arms behind you. Keep your face relaxed with a pleasant look.
Don’t be fooled by the simplicity of these yoga practices. If you practice them with full intention, you will get results.
When you don’t have to go undercover with your yoga, you can get much more creative!
Practice a few minutes of chair yoga, office yoga or at the park yoga while your kids play. You don’t need to spend a lot of time practicing. Just pick a simple breathing practice or yoga practice to do throughout the day. Click here for 8 more yoga poses you can do at work. You will be amazed at how different you will feel!
Get creative! Wear sunglasses, sit tall, and meditate anywhere. Get up to pour some water during a meeting and sneak in a move or two. During a bathroom break get in some stretches in the bathroom stall. This is no excuses yoga relief!
Remember the breathing! Breathing by itself and breathing deeply in the poses is what gives these simple practices power.
The more often you practice yoga (daily is best, if only for 10 minutes) the easier it will be to remember to do your yoga when you get stuck. Zenward is a great place to find 10 minute and longer beautiful yoga video practices along with a caring and supporting group to feed your daily yoga habit. Here is short introduction video of all you can access using Zenward:
Have you practiced yoga relief at work, on the subway, in the theater, during a meeting or other unusual place? Let us know in the comments below!