3 Yoga Poses to Help Relieve Anxiety

03/11/2014 at 03:05 PM ET

Yoga Eagle Pose
Photo: Appcession / Courtesy Health.com

Anxiety is often caused by worrying about the future. Practicing yoga is a wonderful way to quell anxiety because it keeps us in the present moment.

The meditative mindful breath combined with certain yoga postures can help even the most anxious people learn how to relax a bit more. As a new mom trying to balance motherhood and my career, I certainly find myself worrying about everything I need to do. I find these three yoga postures really help ground me back in the present and calm my mind.

Eagle Pose (above)

Why it works: Eagle is a good pose for concentration and focus. When you’re forced to focus on something else, it automatically makes anxiety go away. You can’t obsess about your big presentation at work when you’re wrapped up in a tight fold and balancing precariously on one foot.

How to do it: Bend your knees enough to wrap one thigh over the other at the top of the thigh. See if you can double cross the foot behind the standing leg’s calf. If this is too challenging, just keep the foot out or tap it to the floor. Wrap your arms high at the shoulders and double cross at the forearms to bring the palms together. If you can’t press the palms, press the backs of the hands. Hollow out your abdominals and bow forward as you gaze down the hands. Pick a spot on the floor to rest your gaze and hold for 8 to 10 breaths. When you come up and unwind, notice how less anxious you feel and note the sensation of spaciousness in your thoughts and your body. Repeat on the other side.

Yoga Mountain Pose
Photo: Appcession / Courtesy Health.com

Mountain Pose

Why it works: Mountain pose is a great posture for anxiety. Plus, it can be done anywhere and no one will even know you’re doing yoga! When you find yourself anxiously moving forward toward your tip toes and worrying about your to-do list, stop and practice mountain.

How to do it: Stand with your feet together, big toes touching and heels together. Practice rocking forward to the front of your feet and notice how you start to feel anxious. Then, rock towards your heels and notice how it drags you back in to the past. Finally, find the very center of each foot not moving toward the future nor hanging back in the past, and ground yourself in the present moment. Stretch your fingers toward the floor as you lift the top of your head toward the ceiling. Close your eyes for a moment and watch your breath flooding through your body. Breathe in calm and breathe out anxiety. Hold for 8 to 10 breaths.

Yoga Standing Straddle Forward Bend
Photo: Appcession / Courtesy Health.com

Standing Straddle Forward Bend

Why it works: Standing straddle forward bend is just a feel-good pose. It releases tension in the head, neck, shoulders, lower back, and legs. It also forces you to stay in the center of your feet as you allow your torso to drape out of your thighs. I often practice this pose as a way to say goodbye to the contents of my brain for the time being. Stand with your legs about one leg’s length apart.

How to do it: Turn your toes slightly inward, place your hands on your hips, and lift your chest on an inhalation. On an exhalation, bow forward and place your hands on the floor shoulder-width apart directly in line with your feet. You can practice what you did in mountain pose above—move forward to the balls of the feet, then move backward toward your heels, then find yourself right in the middle of your arch. Hold for 8 to 10 breaths. Place your hands on your hips again and inhale up to stand. You’ll feel worry-free, I promise.

—Kristin McGee

Yoga Eagle Pose

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FILED UNDER: Fitness , Health

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The Latest Craze in Disco Styles Is See-Through Jeans—but Beware of Foggy Bottoms
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The Latest Craze in Disco Styles Is See-Through Jeans—but Beware of Foggy Bottoms

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On a clear day, you can see forever—or at least that’s the wicked thought behind L.A. designer Agi Berliner’s transparent idea: see-through jeans. Exhibitionists notwithstanding, most folks wear them over bathing suits or as attention-getting evening wear with halters, garter belts and body stockings. Created for the disco crowd, the $34 jeans are selling like, well, hot pants. In just six weeks, 25,000 pairs have already been sold in such major department store chains as Macy’s, Bonwit’s and Saks.

“What’s limiting American designers is that we’re afraid to do something different,” says Berliner, 32, a Hungarian émigré who fled with her family to the U.S. in 1956. Agi thought up the gimmick in London while marveling at the way plastics were being employed by designers of punk fashion. In her L.A. office, where she designs for La Parisienne junior sportswear, Agi spent five days on the phone and six weeks testing to come up with the right plastic.

Agi herself tried out the French-cut jeans with the zipper in front, and quickly found several problems: Some plastics tore away from stitching, others wouldn’t bend and all fogged with perspiration. The ideal material proved to be a vinyl supplied by a bookbinder. The steam was eliminated with a series of vents behind the knees and in the crotch. “They’re no hotter than polyester pants,” claims Agi, “and if you wear them with tights, they won’t stick to your legs.”

Whatever the discomfort and despite the problem of Saturday night feverishness, discomaniacs report one major advantage of the plastic pants: no laundry bills. To keep Berliner’s see-through jeans clear, all the wearer needs is a little Windex.

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