WORKOUT WEDNESDAY: 5 YOGA POSES TO PUT YOU IN A BETTER MOOD
Sometimes, it doesn't matter how hard you try, you just can't seem to snap out of the mood you're in. When you have a day like that, we suggest pulling out your yoga mat and trying these 5 yoga poses. We don't recommend going into some of these completely cold, so make sure you've gone for a walk (outside or on the treadmill), this will help prevent injury.
You can be sitting or standing to do this first pose. You're interlacing one arm on top of the other and working towards your palms touching. Focus on breathing into the space in between your shoulder blades as you pull your elbows away from your chest. Hold for 30 seconds, then place the opposite arm on top and hold there for 30 seconds.
Why this will help your mood: We hold a lot of our stress in our neck and shoulders, we also can form tightness in our upper back and chest from daily life (sitting at a desk, driving etc). When we're tighter in this area it can begin to affect our mood. Taking some moments to breathe in this stretch will help shift any blocked energy around your heart and throatchakra.
Cow Face Pose (Legs Only)
This is a variation of cow face pose (sanskirt Gomukhasana). We've taken the arms out of the equation, so you can give your hips all the attention. It can be quite unglamorous to get into this pose, but you're aiming to cross one leg on top of the other and work towards getting the knees on top of one another, while keeping your sit bones even on the mat. Once in a position you can find stillness in, take and inhale and forward fold over your legs, keeping the lower belly engaged but relax the upper body. Especially the muscles around the base of your neck and in your face.
*This pose can be extremely intense on your knees, we do not recommend you forcing yourself into the pose. It may not work for you today. Instead choose a hip opener of your choice to drop into for 30 seconds each side.
Why this will help your mood: Hip openers are amazing for your mood. Just like our shoulders we hold a lot of our worries, concerns, expectations energetically in our hips (root chakra).
So taking a moment to stretch and lengthen any built up tension will instantly bring to the surface any emotions and release them. Be aware of what comes up-without comment or judgement and allow yourself to release it.
Make sure you feet are hip distance apart and parallel, toes facing forward. Inhale lift your pelvis towards to the ceiling, and then shuffle one shoulder and then the other so you can interlace your fingers underneath, coming into bridge pose. If interlacing your fingers doesn't work for you today, just keep them by the side of you on the mat. Hold the pose at the top for 30 seconds or 5 yogi breaths, and then slowly release the interlace of your fingers and with control lower your back down onto the mat. Keep the feet as they were close your eyes, place one hand on your belly and one hand on your heart and recover for a couple of breaths before repeating the pose 2 more times. After the third time, place your feet as wide as the edges of your mat and knock your knees together. Hold there for a couple of breaths then bring your knees into your chest to transition.
Why this will help your mood: Like any backbend, this pose is an energizing pose, so we don't recommend you doing this pose to late at night. This pose is great for your mood because it shifts energy around your body a lot, there's a combination of work and softness like in every pose but it allows the mind to release any thoughts places around the heart and the sacral chakra simaltaneously.
Legs Up The Wall
The set up for this is super simple, just place your legs up the wall and shuffle your hips so they are touching it too. Lay back, close your eyes and place your arms down by your side or out to the side (like pictured). We recommend holding for 5 minutes.
Why this will help your mood: This pose has similar qualities to an inversion but without the effort. So if you've had a hectic day or a long travel day this helps shift your perspective. Our legs carry our entire body weight and work extremely hard for us during the course of the day, so practicing this pose can release any tension from your legs and ultimately make you feel a little calmer.
Reclining Bound Angle Pose
Lay down on your back and place the soles of your feet together, allowing the knees to drop towards the floor. You can place one hand on your heart and one on your belly (like pictured above) or you can just have them relaxed down by your side. This is a more active savasana pose, it is opening your hips and groin. You could place blocks or blankets under each knee here too so you can relax deeper into the pose.
Why this will help your mood: This releases tension from you inner groin and hips as well as relaxing your postural muscles as you allow the weight of your body to be supported by the ground. This helps release any feelings of stress and shift you out of a bad mood, because you focus on the breath flowing through each chakra evenly.