Tough times now. More than ever I depend on my yoga practice to settle my mind, re-energize, and reduce unhealthy stress.

When it all gets to be just too much, I use these two poses to find a calm, relaxed center – and I try to carry that feeling through the entire day.

Chef V yoga for stress relief
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TREE POSE (VRKSASANA)

Start by focusing the balance on the left foot. Lifting the right foot to the ankle, calf, above the knee or in lotus position (inside the hip joint), bring your arms to prayer position in front of your heart center. Straighten the back, tuck in the pelvis and breathe.

On an inhale, extend your arms over head into any hand mudra you desire; pinky to thumb, thumb to index finger or thumb to middle finger. Hold here for 5-10 inhale and exhale breaths.

tree pose Chef V
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Slowly bring your hands back to prayer in front of your chest and slowly release your right foot down. Refocus your attention to the right foot balance and bring your left leg up to the same place you did on your right.

Rebalance and bring your arms to heart center. Extend your arms overhead to a different hand mudra. Breathe 5-10 breaths and slowly release.

Benefits of tree pose: Improves balance and stability in the legs, works and strengthens the core, strengthens the tendons and ligaments in the feet, opens the pelvis and hip bones, also builds self-confidence and self esteem.

FLOOR BOW POSE (DHANURASANA)

Another pose that helps me center is Floor Bow Pose. My ribs open and allows deeper cleansing breath.

Start by laying flat with your stomach on the ground. Bend your knees and reach around grabbing your right ankle with your right hand and left ankle with left hand. Start to kick your feet so your arms are being pulled. You can begin to rock back and forth, breathing deeply. Make sure your knees are as close together as possible, hold and breathe for 5-10 inhale and exhale breaths and slowly release.

Floor bow pose Chef V
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Benefits of bow pose: Opens the heart, hips, chest, and abdominal muscles. Improves balance, digestion, fatigue, anxiety, and menstrual discomfort.

However you decide to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day this year, do it with Cheer! Namaste!