Yoga Poses to Open Your Mind

Unless you're retired or have unlimited vacation, you likely spend most of your time working – and no matter how hard we try, we often bring our stress home with us. Fortunately these yoga poses can really help offset these effects, not only in our mind, but in our shoulders, and back.

We found three of our favorite poses that have been designed to open you up mentally and physically. “Placing your body in an elongated shape, like a back bend, completely opens the front line of your body,” says Elizabeth Hinker, E-RYT, Area Leader for CorePower Yoga in Chicago, “and you start to feel the emotional effects as well.” (See: Best Low-Impact Exercises to Try)


To start the Camel Post, kneel with your knees and shins hip-distance apart. Put your hands on your lower back, fingers pointed down. Lift your chest, and gaze up. Exhale and slowly lean and gaze back. Keep your hips lifted over your knees. Either keep your hands at your low back for support, or reach your right hand to your right heel, and left hand to your left heel. Hold for five breaths before slowly rising back to your starting position. You should feel this in your chest and shoulders. 


Sit on the floor and touch the soles of your feet together in front of you. Hold your feet with your hands, and lift your chest to elongate the spine. Exhale and bend forward, bringing your forehead to your feet. Use your elbows to press your knees open. Hold for several breaths to soften into the shape. If your head feels uncomfortable, use pillows or blocks to support it. You should feel this in your lower back and hips.


Sit on the floor with your legs in a V. Bend your right knee and place the sole of your foot along your inner thigh. Place your left arm on your left shin and reach your right arm up and overhead. Bend sideways towards your left pinky toe. Lengthen along the sides of your body as you bend toward the left side. Hold the pose for five to 10 breaths. Repeat on the opposite side for the same amount of time. You should feel this in your hips, shoulders, hamstrings, and lumbar spine.