“New studies confirm that the mindful movement of a Yoga work-out is linked to lower levels of Cortisol (stress hormone) and higher levels of Serotonin (good feeling hormones)” says Paula Curtiss, Founding Director for Healing Hands School of Holistic Health (HH). These hormonal changes coupled with an increase of the relaxant GABA, naturally reduce feelings of stress, anxiety, fatigue and depression, making Yoga an important part of an effective holistic health program”, she added.
Yoga is a group of physical, mental, and spiritual practices for whole health, which originated in ancient India more than 5,000 years ago. Yoga is considered ‘active relaxation’, which allows one to develop present moment awareness of the way we are feeling emotionally and physically. Yoga integrates your breath with movement. By moving pent-up energy throughout your whole body, you can directly and immediately change your mood.
Below is a sequence of restorative yoga poses that will leave you physically and emotionally relaxed, yet mentally focused and energized. For a stress-busting, restorative 15-minute workout, learn these 5 simple poses. Repeat the active poses (2 & 3) three times each before finishing with the inversion pose for optimal holistic benefits.
1 – Alternate Nostril Breathing:
To quiet your mind and energize your body, sit in a cross-legged position with your spine tall and upright. Using your right thumb, place it across your right nostril to close, then inhale for four seconds through your left nostril. Then close your left nostril with your right ring-finger, then exhale for eight seconds out of the right nostril. Keeping your left nostril coclosed, inhale for four seconds. Then close the right nostril and fully exhale out of the left nostril for eight seconds. Repeat this process of inhalations until you have completed seven or eight rounds. The technique balances the opposing sides of the brain. The left (responsible for vigor and alertness) and the right side (receptive, calming).
2 – Standing Forward Bend:
Stand with feet parallel to one another and slightly wider than your hips. Your spine should be tall and your knees slightly bent. Fold your torso over your legs and lift your butt toward the air and let your hands fall to the back of your legs. Bring your chest as close to your legs as possible, then release your hands and allow the crown of your head to fall toward the floor. Relax and settle into the pose for ten deep breaths, (approximately 60 seconds) then slowly bend your knees and roll your body up one vertebra at a time.
Stand with your feet spread wide, your left foot facing to the left and your right toes at a 45-degree angle. Reach down towards your left calf with your left arm and shift your hips to the right, then place your left fingertips on the floor about 10 inches in front of your left foot. Bend your left knee, then raise your right leg as you straighten your left. Stack your hips, and reach for the ceiling with your right hand and pull your right shoulder back to the same plane as your left and hold the pose for 30 seconds then switch sides.
4- Legs-Up Inversion:
Find a portion of wall that is clear of obstacles. Sit sideways by the wall with your legs straight and as close to the wall as possible. Lie back and rotate your torso away from the walls so you can bring your legs up against it. Inch your butt as close as possible keeping your legs flat against the wall and your back flat on the floor. Let the floor support your head, and feel your thigh bones release as they drop back toward your pelvis. Close your eyes and hold the pose for at least five minutes to restore and relax your mind/body.
Serving residents through three regional campuses, HH is considered a trail-blazer for Holistic Health Education in Southern California. To date, HH has prepared more than 7,000 students for rewarding careers in Massage Therapy and can do the same for you! To find out more about our 80+ massage and holistic health classes, visit us at www.healinghandsschool.com or call us at (949) 305-2722 in Laguna Hills, (760) 746-9364 in Escondido, (858)505-1100 in San Diego.