Stress is defined as ‘A state of emotional strain or tension resulting from adverse or demanding conditions.’
When we are in stress our nervous system responds by releasing a flood of stress hormones. This hormone stimulates the body for emergency action or ‘reaction’ known as stress response.
Yoga is a mind body practice that combines, physical poses, controlled breathing techniques and relaxation or meditation.
There are several yoga asanas or poses that help to release stress from the body and mind and the Plough Pose or Halasana is one such very important posture.
Halasana releases the neck, head, shoulders, and hamstrings. It also increases the exhale and turns one inward.
To come into the pose lie down flat on your back on a mat or even directly on the floor. Lift both the legs up making a 90 degree angle at the hips. Engage the core and lift the tailbone off the mat as you slide both the palms beneath to support the lower back.
Then lifting the hips off the floor lift the legs and swing them behind the head till the toes reach the floor. Keep supporting the back or release and stretch the hands along the floor pressing down. This is Halasana. Stay in this pose for 10-20 slow long breaths.
To come out of the pose support the back with the palms, bend the knees as you slowly lift the legs and gently bend them at the knees to drop the hips to the floor. Then release the back, press the knees into the chest, and rock side to side to release any tension in the back. Finally stretch the legs out to come back into a supine position.
Halasana has a calming, restorative effect on the sympathetic nervous system. In the inverted position the brain is flushed with blood, promoting mental clarity and increased vitality.
So practice this pose to remain calm and stress free plus reap all the other multiple benefits from its practice!