A staggering amount of people doesn’t want to try yoga because they believe they’re not flexible enough or they can’t stand still for more than two minutes. We always like to gently remind anyone with this notion that flexible body comes with yoga practice and it takes a lot of practice to get there, and the same goes for stillness. In fact, yoga is one of the best ways to sync up your body, mind, and spirit to work as one seamless whole, which grants you much better balance in every life aspect.
However, the greatest asset that yoga brings to the table is a peace that comes with it. Of course that in the beginning every pose will require more effort and focus on the physical, but as you get more versed in the subtleties yoga has to offer, your focus will shift. Peace comes naturally with yoga practice, especially if you do it frequently. There is countless yoga poses you can work on and perfect, but in this article, we’ll focus on five of them that will allow you to calm yourself and find the much-needed peace within.
There is no surprise that the first pose we will talk about is lotus pose or half lotus pose. Lotus is “the” yoga pose for many different reasons – you’ve seen it in movies and on TV all the time, plus it’s the go-to meditation pose for virtually everyone. This cross-legged body position does amazing things for your energy, as it opens you up to the world and makes you vulnerable and grounded at the same time. You don’t have to go into full lotus (with both feet on thighs) to get one step closer to being calm, crossing the legs the best that you can while seated will do the trick nicely. Coming into lotus will in time momentarily signal to your body to relax and start breathing deeply, it’s a wonderful synchronization that simply happens as your practice grows. The symbol of this asana is in the lotus flower that calmly floats on the water’s surface, while it’s rooted deep in the murky waters. This beautiful and fragrant flower teaches us through the pose that this is how we should be – light, grounded and beautiful in our simplicity and peace.
Here is a pose that doesn’t look to be anywhere close to achieving peace, but once you get the hang of it, boat pose can be an excellent place for breathing in calm. As you sit down and get yourself into a V-shape by grounding firmly through your sit bones, you will feel every muscle in your body getting engaged in the asana. You will feel the heat and the slight shaking that comes after a couple of breaths in this pose, and the best thing that you can do is embrace it. There is peace waiting for you behind all that physical effort and gently pushing your body in boat pose will bring you to that calm you’re looking for. This pose is excellent for your belly and the health of your digestive tract in general, just don’t do it after you’ve had a hearty filling meal, as you won’t be able to breathe as freely and your belly will fuss a bit.
Downward Facing Dog Pose
You don’t believe that you can relax while your head is hanging lose and you’re doing your best to balance your weight on your arms and legs while standing in an inverted V-shape? Think again because downward facing dog pose offers calm in a stillness that comes with this pose. While this asana is somewhat of a challenge for novices, it soon becomes a place of rest from all other positions you’re going through during your practice. The moment you think – Oh good, downward facing dog, I can relax – you’ve found your peace in this pose. “Down dog” is amazing for circulation, as blood flows in opposite direction, while you get a chance to explore your breathing and your thoughts just by standing still.
One of the favorite sun salutations, cobra asana is done on your belly and whenever you’re lying down during your yoga practice, good things tend to naturally happen in your mind. All you really have to do is lie on your stomach, and use the strength of your arms and core to lift your abdomen up. Nothing stretches core muscles like a cobra and it feels so good. The way you breathe is different here, so your body has to adjust, which is always positive, but what allows you to sink into peaceful silence is the warmth that washes over you as blood starts coursing through your body a bit faster. Opening your chest to the skies is a simple and wonderful technique to open to the energy and wisdom of the universe, which is why cobra is so beneficial when it comes to getting to your sweet spot of calm and relaxation.
Though translated into English Savasana sounds a bit frightening, in truth, this is corpse pose or corpse asana is good for calming down. There isn’t much philosophy around it, all you have to do is lie down on your back, make sure that your pelvis is flushed with the mat, do some light stretching of arms that fall naturally at your side and dig into your heels to stretch your legs as well. After that just lie still and breathe. If you’ve had an energetic practice, then this is the perfect time to allow your body to rest, while your mind is calm, without thoughts running rampant.
Tools of yoga help you discover more of who you truly are and what you can do to improve yourself in every aspect of your life. Being calm and positive comes naturally as you nurture your yoga practice and we can assure you that your efforts will not be in vain. – Theresa Brawner
Theresa Brawner is a 28-year-old fitness instructor from Boston, MA, who writes articles for www.diet.st in her free time. When she isn’t helping new moms get back in shape, you can find her in the kitchen, working on new recipes.