5 Anxiety-Busting Poses

When deadlines loom, Erica Rodefer Winters turns to these five go-to poses.
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When deadlines loom, Erica Rodefer Winters turns to these five go-to poses.

Here's the scenario: There's a deadline looming. My mind is racing. If I don't get this done there will be consequences! My mind goes through the worst-case outcomes. I start to panic. I feel like I might explode. I need to sit down and focus on the task at hand, but I can't possibly concentrate because I have too much adrenaline pumping through my body.

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This is when I take a deep breath and remind myself that I can do this if, and only IF, I calm down and get it together. But how? I know yoga can help, but there's simply not time for a full asana session. I need to get my mind in check and burn off this excess energy fast.

Luckily, there are a few poses I know I can always go to that will help me to work out any jitters and help me focus. I can add them into Sun Salutations for a quick 15 minute pick-me-up or practice them individually to get my head back in the game even faster.

1. Hop-Switch Lunges. This is my go-to practice for handling excess energy. It takes core, arm, and leg strength to hop and switch legs in the lunge position (I leave your hands on the floor and just switch the forward leg). After about 10 reps, my heart rate increases, and I realize that whatever thoughts were racing through my mind prior have floated away.

2. Mini-Kicks toward Handstand. I've never been able to balance a Handstand in the middle of the room for more than a couple seconds. When I'm frazzled is obviously not a good time to try balancing, but tiny controlled kicks remind me that there are limitless possibilities. Plus, they're just plain fun, which helps me remember not to take everything so seriously.

3. Chaturanga. I am strong. I am capable. I can do anything. That is how Chaturanga make me feel.

4. Headstand. I probably wouldn't practice Headstand until I've burnt through my energy with some more active poses. But when I'm ready for it, Headstand feels really grounding, focused, and often gives me a new perspective.

5. Seated Meditation. Nothing brings me back down to earth like 10-20 deep breaths. Sitting up tall, rooting my sitting bones into the earth, and resting my hands, palms down on my knees, helps me calm my mind so I can focus when I go back to work.