Breathe Easy: Mood-Boosting Yoga Postures

Breathe Easy: Mood-Boosting Yoga Postures


In with the good, and out with the bad. Embracing a better outlook and releasing unhealthy emotions isn’t always easy, but a renewing yoga session with the right basic postures and focused deep breathing can encourage your body and mind to refocus, and foster much-needed relaxation. explains, “A 2004 pilot study from UCLA examined how three types of postures — standing, forward bends, and back bends — affected mood in adults. The findings suggest that yoga, particularly back bends, increased confidence and decreased negativity.”

Transformational consultant Kelly Larson, proprietor of a Boston-based business called Breathe into Balance, helps clients make life changes using yoga, meditation, and yogic breathing techniques. She recommends the following poses to help open up your torso and abdomen to take in more oxygen, increasing energy and clarity of mind, and open your shoulders to relax tension.  Kelly reminds us to take time to breathe into each pose and to relax at the end.

Downward Facing Dog: “This posture opens your shoulders and the sides of your body, making more space to breathe and oxygenate your body. It also stretches your back, hips, and legs, allowing for your muscles to relax and stress and anxiety to calm down. As an inversion, it also increases circulation throughout your body by reversing blood flow from your hips toward your head.”

Triangle: “This posture opens your torso and shoulders, expanding room for your lungs. It also stretches your hips, legs, and side body, reducing tension and increasing circulation. Extensions like this are great for strength building, waking up your mind and body, and energizing.”

Upward Facing Dog: “Back bends like this lengthen your spine, open your shoulders, and make more space for your lungs to expand and oxygenate your body. They also make space around your spinal cord and encourage spinal fluid to move more freely. These effects help your whole body to have more energy and your mind to be clearer.”

Legs Up The Wall: “Slide your hips next to a wall and rest your legs vertically against the wall. Place a folded towel, mat, or blanket under your shoulders with the top of it just an inch or less above your shoulders. Let your hips be far enough away from the wall that your sacrum and low back are completely flat on the floor. Relax and stretch your arms to the sides or above your head. Breathe deeply into your belly and relax for several minutes — this posture is nice for relaxing and calming stress and anxiety.”

What’s your go-to pose for coming down from a high-emotion situation or shutting down negative feelings?  See the full list at — Casandra Armour


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