Before: Whether you're
apprehensive about your little one’s first day of school or your teen learning
to drive, stave off jitters by spending a few minutes in corpse pose
(savasana). "Most people think it's just a final resting pose after a long
[yoga] class, but it can be used [for deep relaxation] any time of day,"
says J. Michael Taylor, instructor at Yoga Among Friends in Downers Grove,
Ill. Lie on your back, angle your arms slightly away from your body, and
separate and extend your legs. "You [will] become aware of the internal
buzzing of your body, which slows your breath down," Taylor says. If your
mind wanders, bring yourself back to what you're doing by focusing on your
breath. Inhale and exhale slowly through the nose, trying to extend or inhale
to four or even six counts per breath. Stay here for a full five to 10 minutes.
During: When you find
yourself in said stressful situation, it's important to realize that, however
it goes, all you can control is your reaction. Which makes this an opportune
time to squeeze in a modified version of standing forward bend (uttanasana).
Approach this differently from the hamstring-opening deep stretch you'd take in
yoga class. This time the pose is about letting go. "With your head
supported, [the forward bend] calms your nervous system physiologically because
your body feels the support and releases tension," Taylor says. Excuse
yourself, duck into the nearest bathroom, and lock the door. Then sit on the
toilet and fold forward, supporting your head with your knees. Lengthen your
spine, extending from your hips to the crown of your head, and rest only your
forehead on your knees to keep airways open for your breath. Inhale and exhale
slowly through your nose for five to 10 minutes. Focus on your breath—not whether
they're wondering what's taking you so long.
incident is an optimal time to practice letting go. Instead of wasting time
wondering what kind of impression you made, spend a little time in
legs-up-the-wall pose (viparita karani). Grab a blanket or a firm pillow for
support and place it next to a wall. Then position your hips on top of it and
lie down, sliding your legs up the wall. Let your arms rest comfortably at your
sides. Your hips are supported by your prop; your head and shoulders, by the
floor. This pose opens up your chest, increasing circulation and soothing a
frazzled nervous system. Plus, yogis say raising your legs above your hips lets
gravity aid your lymphatic system in flushing toxins (like that extra gin and
tonic you had to ease your nerves) out of the body. Breathe through your nose
here for 10 minutes.