Stress—it's a natural part of life. However, if you take too much time away from your yoga practice, you will start to feel some hefty negative effects: lower physical energy, lack of mental clarity, and emotional exhaustion.
Whatever the reason; too much work, too little time, or simply too tired, do not let stress (and its many forms) prevent you from getting your ass to the mat! Catch a breather by devoting a mere 10 minutes right now to revitalizing yourself with this quick and easy stress-busting sequence.
1. Standing Side Body Stretch (Ardha Chandrasana Variation)
On a busy day, sometimes all you need to do is breathe! This intense side body stretch will keep you grounded while expanding those lungs to help you oxygenate your stressed out cells and improve your circulation.
Get ready to recharge your batteries! Hold each side for 5 to 10 breaths, or until you feel you have established a steady pranayama rhythm, preparing you to flow.
2. Alternating Crescent Lunges
Have fun with this abbreviated version of Surya Namaskar! You can navigate slowly from one side to the next if you need to mellow out from your fast-paced life, or try "jump-switching" back and forth if you need to shake yourself free from the doldrums.
Either way, nothing beats a few lunges to get the blood flowing to wash away all your worries. Stick with 8 to 10 repetitions, each one lasting 2 to 3 breaths, depending on your mood and energy level.
3. Revolved Side Angle Pose (Parivritta Parsvakonasana)
Now that you’ve warmed up a bit, it’s time to hold each pose a little longer. Put a spin on the Crescent Lunge by twisting to the side, hands in prayer, and hold for a 6 to 12 breaths on each side to wring yourself out from pent up anxiety that usually festers in the belly and the mid back.
Please note that you will enjoy this twist more if you practice your Ujjayi Pranayama because your diaphragmatic breathing will help you stimulate digestion and wake you up from your sluggish slump.
4. Wide-Legged Forward Fold (Prasarita Padottanasana D)
Feeling ambitious but short on time? This is the best pose to integrate the major elements of strength, flexibility, and balance, all while receiving the healing power of an inversion.
Make sure you use your biceps to pull yourself deeper into the pose! Relax that back and get your head below your heart for 30 seconds to a full minute.
5. Supported Bridge Pose (Setu Bandha Sarvangasana)
We all love the feeling of a good heart opening pose and nothing helps you get all that stress off your chest than a good backbend.
However, with only 10 minutes to spare and without adequate warmup, stay safe with this supported variation placing blocks or a bolster beneath your sacrum and lumbar spine once you settle in for more stretch and less effort.
6. Legs-Up-the-Wall Savasana (Viparita Karani)
Elevating your legs during Savasana helps you relax by slowing the heart rate and decreasing your blood pressure while increasing your bliss level. Even with the 1 to 3 remaining minutes, you will still notice the soothing effects of this pose.
Just like that, this quick yoga sequence will hit the reset button and immediately clear away the stressors that zap your energy and bog down your spirit.
Of course, in an ideal world, you can devote a full 90 minutes to your practice! But on the days you feel pressed for time, don't give the clock full control! At least squeeze in a few minutes for yourself. Remember, when you need a powerful and rejuvenating boost, a little yoga goes a long way!