Suzanne Norman

Enlightened Living Articles

Childs Pose

Friday, November 01, 2013
“Every stress leaves an indelible scar, and the organism pays for its survival after a stressful situation by becoming a little older” Hans Selye

Stress is a phenomenon that manifest itself in our body in many different ways. Some of the more common symptoms of stress include problems with sleep, depression, anxiety, irritability, and fatigue. Chronic and acute stresses can cause or aggravate most diseases, including heart disease, cancer, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, asthma, ulcers, insomnia, hypertension, and obesity. According to some estimates, prolonged stress is the initial reason for approximately 80 percent of common diseases. Chronic stress can wreak havoc on our emotions.

It has been said that the body is the battleground of the emotions. What we feel and think manifest in our physical and physiological body. Certain states of mind are reflected in our posture, in our physical form. Our bodies hold and therefore reflect our attitudes and habitual mind patterns.

If there is hardness in the body, there is hardness in the mind. If there is stress and tension in the body, there is stress and tension in the mind.

As we learn to release these patterns in the physical body, the mind will follow.

As we learn to relax our bodies and release tension, the mind will follow.

One of the tools that I use and teach to release tension and stress in the physical body is, of course, Hatha Yoga. Yoga is a holistic system of strengthening, purifying, and balancing the body so that it releases tension and reduces stress accumulation. Used properly, it is one of the few physical disciplines that also strengthen every other system in your body: circulatory, respiratory, cardiovascular, digestive, hormonal and emotional.

Yoga does not have to be a huffing and puffing experience; a few simple poses done everyday is enough to keep your body strong, resilient and healthy. It is one of the best forms of stress reduction there is. And one of my favorite poses to help reduce stress is also one of the simplest…supported child’s pose. This pose is accessible to everyone, requiring no particular level of flexibility, strength or balance.

Take a large yoga bolster (8 inches thick and about 12 inches wide), if you do not have a bolster, a stack of firm blankets will do and kneel on the floor, hips sitting on heels. Be sure your knees and shins are supported on padded carpet or yoga mat. Open the knees just as wide as your bolster or stack of blankets and, keeping your hips on your heels, lengthen your torso out over the bolster or stack of blankets, turn your head to one side, place your arms on the ground, in goal post position with the forearms resting on the floor, the torso and head resting on the bolster. Relax completely for at least 2 minutes and then switch the turn of the head and relax another 2 minutes.

This is a very restful pose as it pacifies the frontal brain by reducing stress, soothing the eyes and nerves, and calming the mind. It will help to rejuvenate you after a long day. This pose calms the sympathetic nervous system thereby reducing the fight or flight response and draining stress from the body. It will help reduce high blood pressure, relieve dizziness, fatigue and headaches.
(Contraindications: If you have knee issues, try practicing this sitting in a chair at a table, and simply crossing your arms on the table and placing your head on your arms.)

This is just one of pose to help with stress, there are many yoga postures that affect the endocrine system in a positive way. Including a regular yoga practice into your life can be a powerful tool in reducing the negative affects of chronic stress.

If you’d like to incorporate a stress reducing yoga routine into your day, try our Simple yoga for Stress Release DVD. In only 30 minutes a day, you can begin to dramatically reduce the stress accumulation in your body and move toward a healthier, happier body and mind.
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