Yoga Pro Dishes Relaxation Tips

Written by NY Press on . Posted in NY Press Exclusive.


By Sharon Feiereisen

With summer coming to a close and workloads amping up we spoke with yoga pro Dana Slamp, one of Pure Yoga’s most popular instructors, about what we can do to ease tensions, anxiety, and stress.

Do you have a good breathing exercise to alleviate anxiety?  For anxiety, sit in a quiet place and lower your gaze to eight feet in front of you.  Begin to deepen your exhale, counting each inhale and exhale to yourself as you breathe through the nose.  Lengthen the exhale for a 1:2 ratio – for instance, if your inhale is two counts long, your exhale should be four counts long.  If anxiety persists after five minutes, think of a calming phrase to accompany your breath, such as:  Inhale “Let”  Exhale “Go.”

Do you have a good yoga pose to alleviate anxiety?  Forward folds, such as Child’s Pose (balasana) and forward seated fold (pashimatonasana) are advised for anxiety.  Always breathe through the nose slowly to calm the fight-or-flight response.  Ideally, use Ujjayi Breath (victorious breath), with a slight constriction in the back of the throat that creates a sighing sound.  (If you sound like a calm version of Darth Vadar, you’re doing it right!)

Any tips of what a person can do when they’re feeling low on energy? A great stretch for low energy is to bring the arms over your head while leaning slowly up and over the back of your chair and taking a deep inhale.  Even better is perform stretches that bring blood into all the major muscles, such as Salute to the Sun.  Take big inhales while stretching, just as if you were waking up from a nap, practicing Ujjayi breath through the nose.

Is there a good yoga pose for more restful sleep?  Yes.  Before going to bed, take Legs up the Wall Pose (viparita karani).  Sit close to a wall on a soft blanket or carpet, and come to your back or elbows to bring the legs up the wall.  Unless you’re pregnant, this pose can be held for 5 to 8 minutes.  Lengthen the exhale in 1:2 ratio, and repeat a calming phrase to yourself to lull yourself towards sleep.

What’s good pose to do to relieve tension from being in heels all day?  While sitting, inhale and extend your foot, exhale and point it, breathing slowly through the nose.  Place the shin on the other thigh in a “Figure 4″ and make circles with the foot to relieve tension in the ankle joint and the delicate connections of the foot.  Always breath slowly through the nose.

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