Top 5 Yoga poses to boost your mood
By stimulating certain glands, yoga causes your brain to release mood altering chemicals. Do these poses to balance your mind and body. For all, hold the position for a few breaths, release, and repeat. Yoga helps to improve flexibility and stamina.
But if you thought these are the only health benefits that yoga can promise your yoga is a great form of exercise for anyone looking to positively impact their mood. It has been observed that yoga increases the level of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), a chemical in the brain that helps to regulate nerve activity.
This chemical is reduced in people with mood and anxiety disorders. Therefore, rather than going for prescription drugs to increase GABA, yoga proves to be the best way to boost up the mood and get rid of stress and anxiety, and you cannot really do each and every pose or asana every single day! However, you need not worry. We have for you a list of five top yoga poses that have been proved to improve mood efficiently.
Setu Bandha Sarvangasana or Bridge Pose
This pose opens up your chest, lungs and shoulders, and relaxes the heart, apart from acting as a reliever for headaches. According to yoga, the body is divided into seven energy centres or chakras. This pose stimulates the seventh chakra, which is located at the top of the head. This leads to alleviation of problems like insomnia, anxiety and depression. Here is how you can get into this pose:
- Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet on the floor, with arms by your sides.
- Place your feet firm, and while exhaling, lift your hips gently upwards. Keep your shoulders and neck firm on the floor.
- Hold your hips off the floor, while squeezing the buttocks tightly in.
- Place your hands below your hips, on the floor, pressing as much as possible.
- Keep your thighs and feet parallel while pressing your weight evenly across all four corners of both feet.
- Keep breathing normally, with a steady rhythm. Try to hold the pose for as long as you can.
- Slowly return to the starting position.
Word of caution: If you suffer from knee, back or neck pains and problems, avoid this asana.
Naukasana or Boat Pose
Apart from building core strength and helping to reduce belly fat, the Boat Pose is a great stress reliever. It works towards building physical and mental stamina, thus making you feel less anxious. This is how you can do it:
- Lie flat on your back with arms by your side. Continue breathing normally.
- Now, while inhaling slowly, lift both your legs at a 45 degrees angle.
- While you do that, lift your upper body too; slowly raising your arms parallel to your legs. This will form a boat-like pose.
- Without forcing yourself, try maintaining this position stably for 8-10 breaths. You can slowly increase the time as you get used to it.
- Relax and gently get back to the normal lying down position.
Word of caution: If you suffer from hernia, ulcers, neck injury or problems related to the hip joint, avoid doing this asana.
Balasana or Child Pose
The simplest and most relaxing of all yoga poses, Balasana helps stretch the spine and relaxes the body. It also helps soothe down panic, nervousness and anxiety, and helps set a peaceful sleep pattern. Here is what you should do to get into this pose:
- Sit in the kneeling down position, with feet and toes stretched outwards.
- Rest your buttocks on your heels, and keep this position stable.
- While inhaling, slowly bend forward, with arms stretched forward.
- Keeping the buttocks firm on the heels, place arms on the floor, and your head between the arms, forehead touching the floor.
- Keep breathing steadily and close your eyes.
- Hold this position for about a minute.
- Slowly get back to the normal kneeling position.
Word of caution: If you suffer from knee or back injury, refrain from this asana, or consult with your health expert.
Shirsasana or Headstand
Handstand or Shirshasana has been long known to increase the circulation to the brain, thus reducing depression, anxiety and insomnia. That apart, it helps build stamina and balance, and improves memory. This is how you can do it:
- Kneel down, with knees and toes firmly on the floor.
- Make a finger-lock with your hands, and making a triangle with the finger-lock and elbows, place it on the floor.
- Bend forward and place your head in the middle of the triangle.
- Slowly lift the soles of your feet off the floor while maintaining balance.
- Gently try to lift the buttocks, thighs and feet up.
- Try to stretch to maintain a straight posture.
- You can do this against a wall in the beginning to maintain balance.
- Try to continue breathing steady, and hold for as long as you can.
- Gently return to the original position.
Word of caution: If you are pregnant or overweight, or suffer from high blood pressure or weakened neck muscles due to injury or other reasons, you should refrain from doing Shirsasana.
Ustrasana or Camel Pose
This pose efficiently plays with your balance and stability, not just physical but mental and emotional as well. It is known to help release stresses and tensions, opening you almost instantly. Here is how you can do it:
- Kneel on the floor, with your knees, hips and thighs perpendicular to the floor.
- Slowly, while inhaling, raise your arms above and bend backwards.
- While arching your back, try to touch your heels.
- Hold this position for as long as you can.
- Slowly, return to the normal kneeling position.
Word of caution: If you suffer from joint problems, or have undergone surgeries recently, then stay away from this pose.
While these asanas have been proved to relieve stress and anxiety, they need to be practiced regularly to see noticeable results. Also, it is always best to consult a trained yoga instructor and perform the asanas under supervision, especially if you are a beginner.