Ace the rest of your 2022 with these endorphin boosting yoga moves.
With the winter months firmly behind us and spring in full bloom, it is time to brighten up your wellness routine with some tried and tested feel-good yoga poses.
In case you’ve been living under a rock, the practice of yoga has been proven time and time again to increase serotonin & dopamine production, lower stress & anxiety levels, lower heart rate, improve mental health, reduce inflammation, and of course, strengthen and stretch-out the body.
Incorporating just a few yoga moves into your wellness routine will make a big difference to your overall happiness and health. Here are six yoga moves to master that will help keep your mind and body feeling their best:
This hatha yoga breathing exercise is also called skull shining breath thanks to its internal cleansing and energising properties. In this exercise, there is no breath retention, instead emphasis is placed on strong exhalations, while the inhalations are passive. Through regular practice, Kapalabhati is beneficial for your nerves and circulation, and is believed to purify the nadis, which are your subtle energy channels. This exercise is best done in the mornings to help invigorate, when you’re feeling cold to warm up your body, or mid-afternoon when there is a natural lull in energy.
This pose is commonly called chair pose, and this particular version adds a heal lift to further challenge your strength and balance. It is a powerful and stimulating pose which dates back to the 19th century and has its origins in Hindu mythology. In Sanskrit, the word Ukata means powerful, proud and fierce, which is how the pose will leave you feeling. To practice this pose successfully, you need to have both a strong body and dedicated focus. Aside from strengthening your body, this pose is also believed to build cardiovascular health and resilience, as well as improve your sense of balance and concentration.
Hanumanasana is also known as monkey pose or the splits. The origin of the name comes from a mythical monkey named Hanuman, who was believed in Hindu folklore to have leapt across from India to Sri Lanka with its legs in the splits position. The pose stretches your entire lower body, and requires a high level of flexibility, especially in your hips, quads and glutes. Make sure you are fully warmed up before practicing Hanumanasana and move slowly into the pose to avoid injuring yourself.
The name of this pose is derived from the Sanskrit word Ustra which means camel. Typically, it is done with both knees on the floor, but through practicing this modified version on one knee, you’ll be able to balance better and hold the pose for longer. Ustrasana stretches the entire front of your body and shoulders. As with all backbends, it is emotionally uplifting, helps to release tension build-up and boosts your endorphins. This is a wonderful pose to do in the mornings to help energise your mind and body.
This is a play on the traditional Vajrasana pose, which translates into thunderbolt pose and is a simple kneeling position. By lifting up onto your knees and folding back one leg, you will challenge your balance and gain a deeper stretch through the front of your torso, hips and thighs. This pose will lift your mood, increase alertness, and help you feel empowered and strong. Avoid this pose if you have any knee injuries.
This fun yoga pose is named after the word Skanda, which refers to a warrior position during an attack. Skandasana helps to stretch your lower body and torso, strengthen your core, improve balance and combat feelings of stress and anxiety. It is another pose which is ideal to practice in the mornings, helping you face the day feeling strong and energised.
Finally, as with all yoga, do not force your body into any poses, move slowly, and do not practice these poses if you have injuries. Consult your physician before beginning any new exercise program.