by E.C. LaMeaux
According to WebMD, yoga is a tradition that has been practiced for around 5,000 years and one that about 11 million Americans practice. Some enjoy yoga for its fitness benefits, while others do it for the peace of mind it brings. Not only does yoga involve positions that can increase flexibility and release tension, it also has mental and spiritual benefits. Controlled breathing and meditation are parts of most yoga practices. While WebMD states that people get the most health benefits out of a yoga poses that make them move, there are some poses that involve little more than just sitting still and breathing that will help calm your mind, which is also beneficial to your health. Here are three of them:
1. Lotus Position
The lotus position, also known as the cross-legged position, is one of the most well-known poses in yoga and most often performed while meditating. According to Zen Mountain Monastery in New York, the position of the body during meditation often has to do with the function of the mind. When you’re in an open position like the yoga lotus pose, you can open yourself up to meditative thoughts more easily. There are several types of lotus positions, including the full lotus, or Padmasana in Sanskrit, the most stable position which places a foot on each thigh, and the half lotus, or Ardha Padmasana, where one foot rests on a thigh and the other foot is placed under the thigh. Whichever one is most comfortable, that’s the best position for you to find peace of mind.
2. Corpse Pose
According to Yoga Journal, the corpse pose, or Savasana, is one of complete relaxation that can help calm you down as well as relieve mild depression and headaches. To do this pose:
- Begin by sitting on the floor with bent knees and feet on the floor.
- Next, lift your pelvis off the floor, and use your hands to push the pelvis toward the tailbone before coming to rest it on the floor again.
- While breathing in, push through your heels to stretch out both legs. Allow your groin to relax as you make sure your feet are angled out from the spine.
- Now, allow your tailbone and your torso to relax, with your hands behind the back of your head to keep it from lying down with your spine.
- Finally, lay your head down, staying in this position for about five minutes.
3. Standing Forward Bend
This position is best for those who are flexible and don’t mind standing. According to Yoga Journal, you can start forward bend, or Uttanasana, by standing straight with your feet parallel to your hips. Keeping your back straight, bend from the hips until your hamstrings are stretching. If you’re flexible, place your palms on the floor on either side of your feet; otherwise, cross your arms with each hand on the opposite elbow. With each exhalation, allow your body to relax deeper into the stretch. With each breath, allow your stress to dissipate and peace to fill your mind.
4. Gentle and Easy Positions
It’s the deep breathing in yoga paired with moving and standing still that increases relaxation and finding peace of mind. For this reason, yoga that is too forceful may be stressful for the beginner or the person looking for a calming, relaxing experience. If you’re trying to pick a yoga practice to follow, it might be useful to try different DVDs or online yoga videos at home first — ones that advertise peaceful, gentle, relaxing or meditative positions.