If you've got a long or stressful day ahead of you, you might find yourself wishing there was some magic fix that could zap those frayed nerves. It might not be magic, but there is one powerful thing that can make a big impact on keeping stress at bay: yoga.
Certified yoga teacher and physical therapist Diana Zotos Florio says she focuses on three yoga moves in particular when a stress-filled day crops up. Here's what she suggests as the perfect stress-reducing routine for the next time you're in the same boat.
To feel strong: Goddess Pose
Stand with your feet about 3 feet apart. Turn your toes slightly outward and bend your knees until they're parallel with the ground. Keep your knees right over your ankles -- don't let them lean inwards. Make sure your pelvis is in the right neutral position: not too far arched forward and not tucked. Once in this position, you can take your arms out to the side (bent at the elbow with fingertips toward the ceiling) for Cactus Pose. Stay in this position for five to 10 deep breaths.
"This pose will make you feel strong and empowered," Zotos Florio says.
To feel confident: Boat Pose
Sit on the floor with your feet in front of you, hip distance apart. You can rock back and forward to find the bony bones in your rear, where you'll rest your pelvis. Grab your legs under your knees and lean back to start straightening your elbows, keeping your chest open. Engage your abdominals by pulling up and in. If this feels comfortable, you can lift one leg off the ground; if that's comfortable, lift the other leg as well. Continue trying to straighten your legs. For more of a challenge, let go with your hands.
To feel calm: Standing-Forward Fold
Stand with your feet hip-distance apart and start to roll down with your back. Hinge at your hips to fold forward. Place your hands on the floor if you can, otherwise, use yoga blocks or a chair to bring the "floor" to you. Rest in this position for a few breaths.
"The key here is to soften and let go," Zotos Florio says. "Use that post to keep you calm right before you step out the door for your stressful day."
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