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There’s always something to worry about. Whether it’s our career, relationships, dating or trauma, we go through moments that bombard us with negative thoughts that can make us feel anxious and stressed. Our worries may often define our choices, our view of the world, or ourselves. This doesn’t mean they are faults, flaws or downfalls—we just need to practice managing them in a healthy way, placing deserved value on self-care. Yoga is only one connection.
My yoga practice hasn’t cured anything, but it has strengthened my ability to overcome challenging life events, body confidence issues, and has vastly improved my physical and emotional health. There is no perfection in yoga; there is no pressure to be anything or anyone other than who you are in the moment of a pose.
Here are seven yoga poses that help my mind and body when I am experiencing anxiety, depression or overall stress:
This is a pose of rest and comfort, bringing your heart close to the Earth. I often prefer to engage this pose with *palms up* as an offering of surrender. When doing so, I feel that I can give my fear, hurt, pain, sorrow, negativity, etc. to the universe.
This pose is a simple way to relax both easily and quickly. We walk around each day carrying our weight with our legs and feet. To lie back with our legs up the wall, we can rest and release tension.
My go-to pose anywhere I am, at any time (especially work), is a forward fold. When I find myself tense from sitting in a chair or staring at a computer screen for too long, I like to walk away, fold forward and for just a few moments, let my whole body be loose.
One of my favorite poses for as long as I’ve been practicing yoga is Pigeon Pose. When I first started practicing Vinyasa, a fantastic instructor taught me about how we carry our emotions in our hips. Considering my hips tend to become stiff when I’m feeling emotional or heartbroken, this made total sense.
This pose makes me feel beautiful and strong, not just physically but mentally. Next time you want to release some frustration by challenging yourself a bit, flip your downward dog pose and raise an arm to the sky in praise for your body and your battles.
In addition to my hips, I also find my lower back gathers stress. Supporting yourself in bridge with a block is an easy way to instantly feel supported while also applying a bit of pressure to a sore lower back for relief.
Because sometimes you just need to lie flat on the ground, arms and legs wide, and let it all go.
While yoga alone isn’t a cure-all for anxiety, these poses are an important part of nurturing your body and mind. Whether you’re at home, outside or in the studio, be mindful of these moves and cultivate your sense of calm.
If you’ve ever taken a hot yoga class, you know it’s always going to be one thing—outrageously hot. Not the “let’s hang by the pool and get that sun-kissed glow” kind of hot either. I’m talking that “I can't believe I have this much sweat in my body” and “I may or may not pass out” kind of hot. It’s nothing to mess around with, and after a year or so of not being able to go, it’s easy to forget just how serious that heat can be.
To get the maximum enjoyment and benefits out of your heated yoga classes, you need to prepare yourself before and take care of yourself afterward. Luckily, I’ve been taking some classes (sweating enough for the both of us) and I’ve listed my five favorite must-dos to help you readjust to your heated classes and get back to the hot yoga summer that we all want.
Heated classes are difficult in nature. The normal difficulty of regular poses is mixed in with the added challenges of sweating and dealing with the humidity and the heat (at times, I’ve seen the thermostat climb to 108 degrees—yikes!). Depending on what type of yoga class you’re taking (sculpt, Bikram, power vinyasa), the difficulty level and temperature are going to vary. It’s also important to remember that each person in the room is going to practice in a way that’s unique to them. Hours slept, hydration levels, food intake, and different lifestyles are all contributing factors that make our practices different. What you practice on your mat is your own––trust your body and only do what feels right to you. And remember, it’s okay to take breaks!
The rise in temperature mixed in with the humidity that we all know and love creates the perfect recipe for sweating—like A LOT. You go into a heated class dry and come out feeling like you just took a dip in the pool. Before heated classes, I had no idea it was physically possible to sweat that much. If you’re going to a heated class, especially after a long break, it’s easy to forget just how much you might sweat. Is it possible to lose that much water if you haven’t consumed it first? Trust me, going into your heated class super hydrated is going to make a world of difference and help you feel good throughout your practice. And don’t forget to take some sips of H2O while you’re practicing!
Heated classes are challenging, but I can’t stop going. Nothing quite compares to overcoming the challenge— and experiencing the cleanse my body feels after I’m done. It’s the perfect blend of hard and rewarding, but I couldn’t do it if my body wasn’t properly nourished. On the days I know I have a heated class booked; I like to make sure I am eating right. I make sure to take my vitamins and fuel my body with fruits, vegetables, and my favorite superfood shake. I hold off on food about an hour before my practice, so I feel comfortable. After the class, I like to replenish with a big protein shake (boosted with collagen to aid with muscle recovery and skin elasticity). There is no one-way path for properly nourishing your body but making sure you’re fueled for the challenge of a heated class is essential for getting the most out of your practice and feeling good on and off your mat.
Increasing and maintaining your water intake on the days you take a heated class is important, but sometimes you need something a little extra. If you’re sweating that much, you’re basically an athlete (at least in my book) and if you’re performing like a rockstar yogi, you need to hydrate like one as well. That means replenishing those lost electrolytes. Reward yourself and your body for the hard work and treat yourself to your favorite drink. I switch off between electrolyte-boosting drinks and coconut water depending on what I’m in the mood for that day. Adding these to my post-practice self-care routine has helped me feel more hydrated after and ready to take on the world again after especially sweaty classes.
Usually, a yoga mat is all you need for your practice––but heated classes are a different ballgame. I’ve gone with just a mat, and I’ve slipped all over the place. Let me tell you, there’s nothing worse than having sweat drip all over the place while you’re trying to hold a pose that makes you grip your mat for dear life (never again). Make sure you bring a towel to place over your mat, this will help with support and grip. Bringing a smaller towel is also a good idea. You can use the smaller towel to dry yourself off during water breaks or whenever you’re feeling just a bit too sweaty. This is a small step that makes a world of difference during those super-hot classes.
So, there you have it. Five of my favorite tips (more like lifesavers) that have helped me readjust to those heated classes I love so much. Getting back into it is a challenge for us all, so know you’re not alone. No matter where you’re at in your practice, remember to be kind and gentle to yourself––celebrating your health and your body’s ability to do what you love. We’re all just getting back out there, together.
Ready to jump back into your hot yoga routine? Browse Mindbody to find the perfect class for you.
While you’re at it, check out some Intro Offers near you that can help you get back to your cadence of hot yoga classes.