8 Yoga Poses To Calm Your Mind
Feelings of agitation and restlessness are common in recovery (and life in general). There is a multitude of factors that contribute to the rise of these emotions, each with a common denominator—to find the calm and peace we all so blatantly crave for. Practicing yoga benefits the mind and soul and the following eight yoga poses are especially suitable for calming the mind:
1. Child Pose (Balasana)
How to Perform: Kneel on the mat with hips resting on the ankles. Take a breath in and set your arms comfortably by the side of your torso. Slowly bow your head and torso forward to rest the forehead on the mat. Close your eyes and let the thoughts of your favorite things chase and vitalize you. For an even more peaceful experience, place a soft bolster or pillow under your abdomen and let the torso rest on it. Maintain the curve in your spine at all times. Remain in the posture for 1-5 minutes.
2. Warrior III (Virabhadrasana III)
How to Perform: Stand on the mat with a feet-distance gap in between. Raise the left leg backward while gently bending forward at the hips. Keep both the legs firm and straight. Raise and lean until the upper body and the raised leg reflect a ‘T’ position of the entire body. Lock your knuckles together and raise both arms to stretch behind in a straight line. Gently inhale and exhale in the position for 20-30 seconds. Switch the posture to the other leg.
3. Dancer's Pose (Natarajasana)
How to Perform: Stand grounded on both feet. Gently raise one leg behind in a curve while curving the spine backward to form a ‘C’ shape with the leg and the upper body. To hold the position, grab the ankle of the raised leg with one hand. Raise the other arm forward in Anjali Mudra. Fix your gaze in the forward direction. Feel grounded and calm as you perform this pose for 30 seconds before switching to the other leg.
4. Eagle Pose (Garundasana)
How to Perform: This asana symbolizes balance, focus, and control and is incredibly helpful in calming the mind. In order to reach into this pose, plant your feet firmly into the ground. Shift the entire body weight on one leg while holding the abdomen strong. Overlap one leg on the thigh of the other on which the body weight has been sustained. Gently spiral the leg around as a gesture of complete overlap. Now, crouch your hips lower towards the ground until they are more or less parallel to it. In a similar manner, wrap one arm around the other and look upwards. Hold this position for at least 30 seconds.
5. Cobra Pose (Bhujangasana)
How to Perform: Rest your body on the mat in an upside down position. Bend your arms and rest the palms just below the shoulders. Use the physical and mental force to concentrate the maximum weight of your body in the abdomen. Now, raise the upper body higher making the use of core muscles. Feebly support the body on the palms. Point the chin upwards towards the ceiling. Gently inhale and exhale for 30 seconds before releasing back to the initial position.
6. Low Lunge (Anjaneyasana)
How to perform: Stand on the feet with 4-5 inches gap in between. Bend the right knee to lower the hip and move the left leg behind in a straight line. Bend until a low-lunge position is safely secured. Make sure the right knee is on the right foot so that the shin is perpendicular to it. Lower the left knee enough to gently touch the ground. Press the top of the left foot into the mat and raise both the arms upwards. Lean the torso backward and fix your gaze at the ceiling.
7. Modified One-Legged King Pigeon Pose (Eka Pada Rajakapotasana)
How to Perform: Sit cross-legged on the mat. Open the right leg and curve it clock-wise. Keep the leg straight as the front of the foot touches the ground. Fold the right leg at the knee towards the neck and fold the upper body backward in a curve. Lock the right ankle with your right arm. Point the chin upwards and gaze straight. For more comfort, keep the ankle of the folded leg as close to the pelvis as possible. Remain in the pose for about 20 seconds or 5 deep breaths before switching to the other leg.
8. Half Lord of The Fishes Pose (Ardha Matsyendrasana)
How to Perform: Sit in a cross-legged position. Raise the right leg at the knee to cross it further over the left knee. Gently twist the upper body at the waist towards the right and lock the position of the twist with the help of the left arm resting against the bent knee of the right leg. Gaze towards the position of the twist. Remain seated in this pose for 20 seconds. Switch the position with the other.
Combine the practice of these asanas with a few minutes of meditation to feel a sense of calm.
Manmohan Singh is a passionate Yogi, Yoga Teacher and a Traveler in India. He provides yoga teacher training in Rishikesh, India. He loves writing and reading books related to yoga, health, nature and the Himalayas. For more information about him visit his website.