Yoga for stress relief and fitness

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Yoga may not seem strenuous, but it could be the exact workout you need. Not only does practicing yoga help improve flexibility and strength, it can also help reduce stress, anxiety, and depression. Yoga focuses on strength, flexibility, and breathing. Practitioners learn how to quiet their minds and focus on the moment, which is where the stress relief comes in.

This time of year can get hectic. Setting 20 or 30 minutes aside for a brief, at-home yoga routine could work wonders for your mental health. But mental health benefits aside, yoga offers a great indoor strength workout perfect for cold weather that anyone can do.

Always check with your primary care physician before starting a new fitness routine. Once that’s done, try these poses for a full-body workout:

Seated Sukhasana – Easy pose

Sit on your mat. Cross the legs at the shins. Make sure there’s a little space between your pelvic floor and your shin bones. Sit tall. Spread the back of your thighs out. Pull the flesh of the buttocks back. Move the sitting bones down.

Inhale and lift the arms to shoulder height. Roll the inner upper arms out, turn the palms, and then reach up and pull the sides of the trunk up. Forward Bend with bricks to open the hips. Then, side bend, right and left. Then twist right and left. Turn your waist, turn your ribs, and turn your chest.

Downward facing dog – Adho Mukha Svanasana with brick

Come to all fours. Put the brick at the top of the leg near the groin and squeeze it. Press your hands into the floor, spread your palms, and spread your fingers. Press your index finger and your thumb. Move your sternum forward. Then, unbend your knees and lift the pelvis as high as you can. Press the front of the thigh to the back of the thigh. Press the base of the shin back, press the middle of the shin back, and descend the calf muscle down to the heels. Soften your tongue and all your facial features, and quiet the brain. Squeeze the brick. Lift the brick. Push the brick to the back wall. Hold the pose.


Stand. Join your feet. Big toes touch. Press the thighs back. Take the sitting bones down. Lift the chest. Pull the shoulders down your back. Open the collarbones. Open the armpit chest. Reach the arms out to your side. Turn the inner upper arm out. Then, reach the arms to pull the torso taller. Hold the pose.

Trikonasana – Triangle pose

Step or jump the feet 4 1/2 feet apart. Turn the right leg out from the top of the thigh and turn your left toes in slightly. Reach the arms to lift the chest. Inhale and reach to the sidewall. Exhale and draw the right hand down to the shinbone and the left arm up. Reverse.