It’s been one of those days. Your shoulders are up to your ears and you haven’t taken a deep breath in hours. Maybe you got into an argument or received some bad news; regardless, you’re feeling like roadkill. Take a few minutes to step away from it all and try a dose of yoga. The root of your problems might still be there when you’re finished, but maybe you’ll be able to see it all from a lighter perspective. After all, these yoga poses are known for boosting your mood.
Rag Doll: Stand up straight and roll your shoulders back and down while taking a deep breath. Slowly roll your body down, hinging at the hips. With a heavy head, grab each elbow with the opposite hand and rock side to side. It releases the tension in the cervical vertebrae, also known as the neck and base of the skull. Close your eyes and hang out there for a while. Click here for more ideas on how to end a bad day on a good note.
Triangle: This optimistic pose begins with you standing. Lean into one hip as you dip your opposite arm to the floor. Both legs stay straight so you can feel a direct flow of energy and stretch from the base of the foot to the hip. If you can’t reach the floor, wrap your hand around your ankle or shin. Then twist your head to look up to the ceiling, raising the other hand up, too. Look back to the floor again when you’re ready. This pose will enhance alignment and balance, which are difficult to achieve if you haven’t let go of stress yet.
>> Read more: What Does Yoga Do?
Child’s Pose: Begin on all fours, knees as wide as you want them to be. Keeping your hands on the ground, sit your hips down behind you and rest your forehead on the ground. With each breath, release your control a little more. It encourages just enough blood flow to the head to help reduce headaches and relaxes the spine while opening the hips.
Happy Baby: If the name doesn’t make it obvious, be warned: You could smile or even giggle during this one. Lay on your back, pull your knees into your chest, then let them fall to the sides as you grab your feet from the inside. Roll the hips left to right. It opens up the lower back, one of the most common places we tend to store stress and pressure.
Reclined Twist: Laying on your back, tuck your knees to your chest and spread your arms out to either side like a “T.” Drop the knees to one side and roll your head to the other side. With each breath, push your shoulder blades into the ground a bit more. The twisting of the spine is like a wringing out of stress and negative emotions. It also kind of massages the stomach, promoting better digestion.
Camel Pose: Beginning on your knees, you can sit your hips on your feet. Place your hands on your heels and push away as you pull the hips up and forward. Let the head drop back. Not only can this help relieve constipation, but it opens your chest, heart and lungs and relieves pressure in the lower back. Click here for step-by-step photos to get into this pose from Real Mom Model Jean.