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Here some comforting and relaxing postures to fight stress and to recharge your batteries! Try them in the morning when you get up (in your pajamas!), after skiing or even after a spa visit. Listen to your old discs, or to your favorite soothing music on Spotify. My suggestion: the entire repertoire of Bon Iver. Today, pay special attention to your breathing.

1) Balasana


Start by sitting down on your heels with your knees close together. Stretch your arms towards the ceiling while breathing in. Exhale and bend your upper body forward leading with your chest, until your forehead touches the ground. Reposition yourself to be more comfortable. If you tend to have a round back, open your knees (your feet remain together) and let gravity do the work. Push your hands on the floor and think about YOU. At each exhalation, relax the neck. Hold for 5 breaths or longer.

2) Matsyasana with support


Matsy means fish in Sanskrit. Lying on your back with your body elongated, put your arms under the body. Inhale and lift the trunk and head. Move your head backwards until the top touches the ground. Try to squeeze your shoulder blades together. Breathe. Relax the throat and the heart, and repeat the following little prayer three times: I am loved.

3) Uttanasana


Stand with your legs hip-width apart, your back straight and your tailbone slightly towards the floor. Inhale, and raise your arms towards the sky and stretch from the bottom of your spine to your fingertips. Tension in your shoulders is a sign of stress; make sure to relax them by pushing them away from your ears. Exhale, bring your hips back, and move your arms towards the ground by bending forward. Offer your heart while bending forward. Be present in this movement. What do you feel at this very moment? Judgment, competitiveness, or are you letting go? Or maybe you feel nothing at all? Simply be aware of the moment. Bend your knees to get closer, and to touch your lower abdomen to your quadriceps and inhale. Hold your elbows and relax the neck. Think of the stressful situation (or situations) that are eating at you and exhale through your mouth, releasing your arms towards the ground at once. Repeat 3 times.

4) Upavistha Konasana


Start in a sitting position, your legs apart, rotate the thighs outwards and flex your ankles. Inhale and extend your arms towards the sky, exhale, bend forward and put your arms on the ground. Keep your back straight and your neck in line with your spine. Take three deep breaths and release the tension. Tip: try to breath towards the area where you feel resistance.

Drop the head to your chest and your legs to the sides. Variation: Bring the soles of your feet together. You can also do this posture sitting with your back close to a wall to support the lower back.

5) Viparita Karani (with a blanket)


This is the perfect posture to practice before a stressful event! Find a spot along a wall, sit on the blanket, and lift your legs up and put them on the wall, you are now lying on your back. Make sure to bring your buttocks as close to the wall as possible, relax the lower back, stomach, shoulder blades, arms. Breathe deeply from your lower abdomen.

6) Tadasana, toes lifted.


Do you have a tendency to over analyze? This posture is for you. It is extremely effective because it allows working your stability and to ground yourself. With your legs hip-width apart, relax the shoulders, and slightly tighten the abdominal, lengthen your spine towards the sky, and your tailbone towards the ground. Close your eyes, the pose does not have to be perfect. You are unable to put your two toes on the ground? Try to visualize the movement. While inhaling raise your toes of the ground and anchor your heels into the ground, while exhaling put your toes back on the ground. Repeat 3 times with this affirmation: I am rooted. While inhaling lift your toes up from the ground, this time, put your big toe to the floor and then the little toe only. Hold for 2 breaths. You should feel the work all the way down to your ankle, and between the ears.

Think about all the things you are grateful for.



Illustrations : Cyndie Belhumeur



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