5 quick stress-busting yoga practices

Here are 5 quick stress-busting yoga moves that you can use throughout your day. The best thing about this type of yoga is you can do it anywhere; you don’t even need to be wearing leggings! So whether you need a little stress relief midday at your desk; if you’re in the car stuck in traffic or lying in bed, these yoga inspired techniques will have you feeling Zen again!

1. Neck Rolls

We hold a lot of tension in our neck muscles, as our head is a heavy weight to support. They especially get tight if we sit a lot and look at screens. This is because when the head is not stacked over the spine (sitting up tall with good posture) the muscles in the neck have to work extra hard to keep it in place. Start by dropping the right ear to the right shoulder and allowing the left shoulder to relax. Breathe into the side of the neck and hold here for a few breaths. Take it across to the other opposite side by rolling the chin down to the chest. You can also gently roll from side to side (being really mindful with the delicate neck joint) and work into any areas that feel particularly tight.

2. Wrists

Our hands do a lot for us during the day, tapping and typing on keyboards and we often forget that they need stretching out too. Keeping the arm straight, use the opposite hand to gentle ease the fingers back towards the forearm, hold for a few breaths and reverse it. Do this on both wrists, then make loose fists and make circles with the knuckles, going both clockwise and anti clockwise.

3. Tap It Out

Using your first two fingers gently tap the muscles on the face where you hold tension. Hot spots for most people are in between the eyebrows, across the fore head and cheeks – but you can also tap on the neck, scalp, collar bones etc. This can also help with anxiety by focusing on the breath and the sensations of the tapping. You can also repeat a positive phrase to yourself which will help further. Something like: “Even though I (truth about how you feel), I (choice about how you want to feel).”

4. Jaw Release

You might find you hold a lot of tension in the jaw after a long day. Take a moment to notice if you are clenching the teeth. Give yourself a little release, by creating some space in between the teeth, wriggle the jaw from left to right and soften the facial muscles (pushing the tip of the tongue to the roof of the mouth, just behind the 2 front teeth can help). Open and close the mouth wide a few times and maybe let out a yawn if you have one there. This is also a really nice one to try before you go to sleep.

5. Golden Thread Breath

You can do this simple breathing technique seated or lying down, but wherever you are, ensure the face and jaw are relaxed. Inhale through the nose and exhale very slowly through a small part in the lips. Close the eyes and allow the mind to focus solely on the breath. This technique is called Golden Thread Breath as you can visualise a fine golden thread being released from the lips into the distance. Practise this for between 5-10 breaths. Slow and long exhales like this calm the nervous system and give an unsettled mind something to focus on.