Based on our own ceaseless pursuit for it, we can safely deduce that being happy is the ultimate goal of life. It is ideal to maintain the concept of happiness as a starting point, rather than something that has to be achieved in order to feel it. Do not lie in wait for metaphorical butterfly to come and sit on your outstretched palm. Rather, take it upon yourself to flip your mood switch to ‘ON’.
All it takes to instantly rejuvenate yourself on one of those bluesy mornings, and remain exuberant for the rest of the day, is a set of Yoga poses that are scientifically proven to create a sense of joy if practiced on a regular basis. They are a sure shot way to alleviate stress and keep the burden of the blues away, since they regulate your body in such a way that it releases happiness hormones almost instantly. Some of the suggested poses are:
1) Downward Facing Dog – Downward-Facing Dog calms the mind, and helps relieve stress and mild depression. It also helps to soothe the headaches, back pain, and fatigue which often accompany stress. This benefit-packed pose works on a variety of other body issues, so it’s a great place to begin your practice.
2) Camel Pose – The Camel Pose is ideal for relieving anxiety, which is the main reason for stress among a majority of individuals. The back-bend in this pose instills a sense of fearlessness which stretches across the arch of your back, thus releasing stress-busting vibrations throughout your body.
3) Happy Baby Pose (Reclined Bound Angle Pose) – Just the name brings a smile on your face, doesn’t it? This pose is perfect for relaxing your muscles on your back and legs. A sense of calmness instantly approaches you once you lay in this pose.
4) Crescent Pose – Mild depression can be eased with rejuvenating, playful yoga postures. Backbends, like the slight one in this crescent pose, are proven to release endorphins. Endorphins are known to create a sense of euphoria and manage pain in a better way.
5) Child’s Pose – Feeling anxious or amped up? Time to bring the down. Students with limited flexibility in the knees may want to skip this pose, because it likely won’t be relaxing. However, if you can sit on your shins with ease, you can make the best of this pose to drive the uneasiness away.
6) Sukhasana – This is a simple, cross-legged pose. Sukha is the Sanskrit word for bliss, joy or happiness. This asana is said to reduce stress, and when used as a meditative pose, has a wide range of cumulative benefits – from increased clarity and creativity to an all-round healthier and happier mental, physical and emotional state. As an asana, you can use it as a base pose and add variations such as a simple twist or a gentle forward bend.
7) Wheel Pose – Backbends like the wheel pose open the heart, lift your mood and can decrease stress and depression. If you’re feeling a bit flat, insular, or unsociable, try a few backbends and enjoy a boost to happiness levels. This pose stimulates the thyroid and pituitary, and with regular practice also helps to increase positive emotions.
8) Standing Forward Fold – If you’re feeling sad or depressed, try a Standing Forward Fold. In addition to relieving stress and mild depression, this pose invigorates the nervous system and releases tension stored in the neck, back, and hamstrings. Since this pose positions your head lower than your heart, it permits freshly generated blood towards your brain, which instantly restores tense cells with more relaxed ones.
9) Head to Knee Pose – Even incredibly sweet people go postal when a migraine hits them. It’s hard to maintain any sense of well-being when your entire head is throbbing and it hurts to blink. Unfortunately, the best remedy for a migraine is a dark room, a cold compress, and sleep. But this pose can also do wonders to thwart an oncoming migraine, and without a doubt it can help prevent future attacks.
10) Pigeon Pose – The Pigeon Pose is an unparalleled method to melt tension.
Find proper alignment in Pigeon Pose, then practice it often, and those stiff, tight hips will start to feel open again. The stress and tension stored in your hips can make you feel extensively insinuated if it gets worse. This pose opens up your hips and gives you that upbeat feeling you long for, in no time.
11) If you already have a regular yoga practice, you may want to try a more advanced inversion. Poses like Headstand, Handstand, and Shoulderstand are great for treating anxiety and depression in regular practitioners. Headstand helps flush your glands, including the adrenal glands. When that happens, it’s easier to muster up positive thoughts. Some claim that practicing this inversion everyday will also help slow and even reverse gray hair.
12) Legs Up The Wall – This isn’t an inversion, but it’s another gentle, restorative yoga pose that alleviates stress and anxiety. Legs Up the Wall can also help relieve menstrual symptoms, as well as tired legs and feet.
13) Sun Salutations – The constant movement while performing the Surya Namaskara or Sun Salutations helps you focus on the present moment. Those moments of presence are exactly what you need to start to feel good again if you are feeling utterly low.
14) Seated Spinal Twist – Wring out your anger with Seated Spinal Twist. According to Chinese medicine, anger is stored in the liver. Twisting the body helps to cleanse the liver—and release stored anger—by moving out stale blood and delivering freshly oxygenated blood. This pose does just that and helps you revive yourself, leaving you happier than you were!
15) King Dancer Pose – This relatively advanced pose opens up your rib cage, thus regulating your lungs to circulate more air. What more do you need to make you feel exhilaration than full, uninterrupted breathing patterns? The King Dancer Pose, if practiced daily with proper alignment, creates an aura of happiness for you, which translates to those around you as well.