Yoga is a mind-body practice that can greatly enhance your wellbeing. It brings together physical and mental disciplines to achieve peacefulness of the body and mind, helping you relax and manage stress and anxiety. Aside from calming the mind, yoga can help to boost your energy by reducing fatigue and allowing the blood to flow through the body more efficiently.

We’ve all heard about yoga being super zen for our bodies, but have you tried it to see and feel the amazing benefits? Exercise and yoga are each fantastic for the body, so incorporating yoga into your daily exercise routine will work wonders for a healthy active body day to day.

Benefits of Exercise for De-Stressing the Mind and Body

  • Exercise increases your overall health and your sense of wellbeing.
  • Increase Endorphins – Physical activity helps to bump up the production of your brain’s feel-good neurotransmitters, called endorphins.
  • Meditation – After performing your chosen form of exercise you will have most likely forgotten about the day’s previous worries, helping you to feel less anxious.
  • Improve Mood – Regular exercise can increase self-confidence, it can relax you, and it can lower symptoms associated with depression and anxiety.
  • Improve Sleep – It can help regulate your sleep, especially if you exercise earlier in the day.
  • Increase Self-Esteem – Exercise can improve your sense of self-worth and make you feel strong, powerful and that you can achieve anything.

Benefits of Yoga for Calming the Mind and Strengthening the Body

  • Yoga helps you to quiet the mind.
  • It gives your body an outlet to release any energy blocks from daily stress and tension.
  • It helps you to find inner peace during the practice which will help to make you feel good during and afterwards.
  • Once you get into a yoga flow more efficiently you will become much calmer as the poses become easier to perform which will enhance the feel-good factor.
  • Yoga can improve your outlook on life as it helps to calm the mind as you focus on the body more consciously.
  • Yoga builds strength in both mind and body. It gives you a sense of being fully aware of who you are and what you can achieve as well as greatly increasing muscle strength.
  • You will learn how to use your body without the use of any equipment which will bring greater focus to your own strength and abilities.
  • Yoga poses help to reinforce the muscles in the body which brings a great inner strength from head to toe.
  • There are various types of yoga, some of which are more energising than the typical relaxing yoga many think about. For example, Vinyasa Flow Yoga is more energising as it flows through a sequence of movements. An advanced version of this style includes more focus on body awareness which greatly improves muscle strength.

Here are five yoga poses that can be incorporated into a yoga sequence to invigorate the mind and body. The beginning poses start with more calming movements as they progress into strengthening movements for mind and body.

  1. Mountain Pose – From a standing position, bring the feet together or hip width apart, parallel. Lift up the toes, spread them wide and place them back on the floor. Feel your weight evenly balanced through the bottom of each foot, not leaning forward or back. Tuck the tailbone slightly under. Feel the hips aligned directly over the ankles. The legs are straight, but the knees are not locked back. Feel the spine long and straight. Exhale and drop the shoulders down and back away from the ears. Gently press the chest towards the front of the room. Take deep breaths, soften your throat and eyes.
  2. Upward Salute – Start in mountain pose. With an inhale, sweep the arms out to the sides and up toward the sky. You can finish with your arms parallel above your head (palms facing each other) or when your shoulders allow, your palms can be pressed together. Reach up through your fingertips. Look up to the sky. Bend your back slightly but do not over-arch your lower back or compress your neck. Stay in this posture for a couple of breaths.
  3. Standing Forward Bend – From upward salute, bend your knees slightly and fold your torso over your legs, moving from the hips, not the lower back. Place your hands next to your feet, on the ground in front of you, or behind your ankles. Press the heels firmly into the floor. With each inhalation in the pose, lift and lengthen the front torso just slightly; with each exhalation release a little more fully into the forward bend.
  4. High Lunge – From downward dog, step a foot forward between your hands and make sure to stack the front knee above the ankle, with the thigh as parallel to the floor as your body can handle. Press through the back heel in order to keep the back leg engaged. Keep your hips square. Extend the arms above your head and look forward. Engage your core and draw your ribs down and in. Breathe deeply for 5 inhales and exhales. Step back into downward dog and repeat on the other side.
  5. Low Lunge – From downward dog, exhale and step your right foot forward between your hands, aligning the right knee over the heel. Lower your left knee to the floor and slide the left back until you feel a comfortable stretch in the left front thigh and groin. Turn the top of your left foot to the floor. Inhale and lift your torso to upright. As you do, sweep your arms out to the sides and above the head. Lift the chest and drop the shoulders away from the ears. Look up but don’t drop the neck back. Hold for a minute, exhale and move your torso to the right thigh and your hands to the floor. With another exhale, lift your left knee off the floor and step back to downward dog. Repeat with the left foot.

Which is your favourite yoga pose to relax?