I Should Go Do Yoga....To Boost My Mood

Hello friends! FINALLY spring has sprung and the sunshine & blue skies are helping to keep my energy up…but it hasn’t been that way for the last few weeks. I don’t know about you, but my mood has been all over the place, so I have put together my favourite yoga postures for when I’m feeling a little bit grumpy, or down in the dumps. Because, let’s face it, the sun doesn’t always shine, and sometimes we need a little helping hand.

I highly recommend practising these while blasting out your favourite tunes…

Child’s Pose

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This is a perfect place to start, in order to centre yourself and turn down the volume on any negative thoughts in your head. If your forehead doesn’t reach the mat, use a block or book underneath the forehead so you get a nice soothing amount of pressure in between the eyebrows. Take as long as you need to check-in with your body, quieten down thoughts and start to notice the breath.

Thread-the-Needle Twist

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From all fours, pass your left hand underneath your body & reach as far towards the right as you can. Come to rest down onto the outside of your left shoulder & the side of your head. Enjoy the twist in the spine & the shoulder stretch. To deepen the pose, bring your right hand around to the lower back & take hold of the left pocket or waistband of your leggings/shorts.

Breathe here for 5-10 breaths and then change sides.

Sun Salutations

Sun Salutation

Guaranteed to loosen up some of that grump…sun salutations get the blood & oxygen flowing through the body. Try to match each movement to a breath. Inhale & reach the hands up and overhead, exhale forward fold, inhale lift halfway & lengthen the spine, exhale step into plank, inhale at the top of your plank & then exhale to the bottom of a push-up (chaturunga…you can drop you knees too if you need!) and inhale into your upward-facing-dog or cobra, finally exhale into downward-facing-dog. Repeat as many times as you need….5-6 should get you feeling pretty good!

Dragon Pose

From downward-facing dog, step your right foot forward & drop the left knee. Walk the foot to the outer edge of the mat & as far forward as possible so your foot is in line with your hands and your hands are directly underneath your shoulders & you feel a stretch in your left hip flexor.

Gently roll onto the outer edge of the right foot & bring your right hand to the inside of the knee to guide it outwards. If you feel good here, look over the right shoulder. Breathe here for 5-10 breaths and then change sides.

Twisted Downward-Facing Dog

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From downward-facing dog, press your right hand into the mat and engage the right arm. Lift the left hand and pass it underneath your body to reach & hold on to the back of the right calf. Pull back on the calf to create a twist in the spine, look under your right armpit & relax the head. Breathe here for 5-10 breaths and then change sides.

Side Plank

I’ve shown two versions here….try both and see which one feels best! For the knee-down version start on all fours. Swing the left foot outwards and stretch the right foot to the back of the mat, pressing down through the outer edge of the foot. Lift the right hand to the sky & lift up with the hips as high as you can.

For the right-hand version, start in plank. Bring the weight into the left hand and reach the right hand to the sky. Stack the feet one on top of the other, or one in front of the other. Engage through the right fingertips & lift the hips as high as you can.

Breathe here for 5-10 breaths and then change sides.

Crow Pose

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This is a more advanced posture, so take it slow (or skip it altogether if you don’t fancy it!). From a squat position place your hands in front of you, index fingers pointing forwards & the other fingers spreading out wide. Lift your bum high & nestle your knees in to your armpits, or just on the outer edges of your arms. Lift up onto the balls of the feet & walk them a bit closer to your hands, then start to lean your weight forwards & bend the elbows backwards so your shoulders start to lower in line with your elbows (think the bottom of your push-up / chaturunga!). Keep leaning forwards & looking forwards until you feel like you can float one foot off the floor. Once it lifts, squeeze the lower belly in and squeeze the heel to the bum. If you feel good, keep leaning forwards and float the other foot off the floor & do the same.

Tips:

  • Keep looking forwards & leaning forwards!

  • Use your fingers to control how far forwards you go

  • Once you find air, try to push the floor away from you, like you’re trying to go to the top of a push-up

  • Keep breathing!!!

Tree Pose or Bird of Paradise

Balancing postures are great for clearing the mind & boosting confidence! For tree pose, place the right foot on the inside of the leg (it can be wherever feels good…but avoid the knee!) and press the foot and the leg in to one-another, like you’re trying to hold something there between them! Stand up tall on your standing leg, soften the breathing & bring your hands to wherever helps you balance.

For bird-of-paradise, start in a forward fold. Widen the feet slightly & bend the knees. Reach your right hand in between your legs, internally rotate at the shoulder so the knuckles rest against the outside of your right thigh. Bring the left hand behind your body & try to clasp hold of the right fingers. Once you have the bind, bring the weight into your left foot & gently start to lift the right foot off the ground. Lift it as high as you can, stand up tall & proud & smile!

Breathe here for 5-10 breaths and then change sides.

Shoulder Stand or Headstand

Inversions are super mood-boosters because they bring fresh blood back to the brain, helping you to feel refreshed & relaxed! For shoulder stand, start on your back with your feet straight up in the air & your hands by your sides, palms down. Press into the floor with your hands & use your core muscles to lift your feet up and over your head. Once your back is exposed, keeping them tight into your ribs, bend your elbows & place your palms flat onto your back to support it (tip: the higher up your back, i.e. the closer your hands are to the floor, the more supported your will feel). Then gently lean your weight into your elbows and lift your feet straight to the sky. If there is too much pressure in your neck, lean more weight into your elbows.

For headstand…see my detailed blog-post here

Fish Pose

From seated, tuck your fingertips underneath your buttocks & bring your elbows together behind you & lean your weight onto your elbows. Roll the shoulders back and lift the breastbone up towards the sky, let the head drop back. Straighten the legs & breathe for 5-10 breaths.

Happy Baby

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Nothing say happy like this posture! From laying on the floor, bring your knees to your chest. With your knees bent, lift your feet towards the sky so the soles are parallel to the ceiling. Hold on to the outer edges of the feet with the hands & bring your knees outside your elbows, so you can open the knees & feet wide. If you notice your lower back lifting off the floor, try to use your belly muscles to flatten it back down again. Take whatever movement feels fun here! You can play around with rocking side to side, or bending/straightening the legs….do whatever makes you smile!

Savasana

No practice would be complete without the most mood-boosting posture of all…savasana! Give yourself time here….set a timer for 5-10 minutes & allow yourself to really relax into it. Let the body be heavy, soften the breath & just focus on the blackness behind the eyes. Feel free to get comfy, by putting on socks, a jumper or even covering yourself in a blanket….and enjoy!!!

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