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4 Yoga Poses for Mental Health

Today, many of us view yoga as a fitness exercise, but it is actually a centuries-old life philosophy that aims to unify the mind, body and spirit. By combining breathwork, meditation and physical postures, yoga provides many benefits for overall health. Instructors have seen yoga help with anxiety, insomnia, and pain, as well as give practitioners more energy and lower stress levels.  Add these four yoga poses to your self-care routine to reap the mental and physical health rewards.

reclining bound angle pose
Photo courtesy BeYogi.com.

Reclined Bound Angle (Supta Baddha Konasa)

When life gets too hectic, remember to give yourself the time and space for relaxation. Reclined Bound Angle Pose is great for taking a moment to unplug from the constant state of connectedness we’re all in. In this pose, we can focus on our breath, clear our minds and become centered once again.

camel pose
Photo by Fotolia/Microgen.

Camel Pose (Ustrasana)

Boost confidence and happiness when anxiety strikes with this pose. Any pose that creates a backbend position is invigorating, and Camel Pose can be modified in a number of ways to accommodate your flexibility and experience with yoga. Backbends also help reverse the effects of forward bending—whether from sitting hunched over a desk all day or poor posture—which occurs all too often in our modern world.

standing forward bend
Photo by Fotolia/fizkes.

Standing Forward Bend (Uttanasana)

Simple and relaxing, Standing Forward Bend stretches the hamstrings, calves, hips and back. It may also alleviate anxiety and symptoms of mild depression by calming the brain.

yoga inversion headstand
Photo by Fotolia/GVS.

Headstand (Salamba Sirsasana)

Although more advanced, inversions, such as headstands, can be the ticket to boosting mood and energy quickly. Inversions are the definition of gaining new perspective (you’re literally upside down). Quiet an overactive mind by focusing on the balance required to maintain this pose. If you don’t have the strength or balance just yet, you can do Legs-Up-The-Wall to achieve a similar effect.

Whether you’re feeling the stress of daily life, suffering from SAD (seasonal affective disorder), fatigue or simply have a case of the blues, these four yoga poses are sure to help relax, re-energize and get you back to feeling like your normal self.