Mood Enhancing Yoga
“Each pose becomes an opportunity to make peace with one’s body.” – Dr. Tequilla Hill.
Imagine if yoga’s physical benefits were tucked neatly away in a copper box, leaving you only with its mental/emotional side... an abundance of psychological riches would be illuminated. Historically, it was common for ancient yogis to use yoga to gain control over the mind. However, today, in the west, more attention is given to the physical side of yoga, often causing the subtler energetic aspects to go unnoticed.
To gain a wider perspective on how yoga influences the psyche and mood, we reached out to Psychotherapist/Yoga Teacher, Dr. Tequilla Hill. It’s no secret that yoga is stress-relieving; Dr Hill says, “During a yoga session, certain parts of your brain slow down, specifically the Frontal and Parietal lobes. So, practicing yoga helps train your mind and body to have a counter-stress response that is less reactive, more calmer and thoughtful.” Other emotional benefits of yoga include,“better concentration, mood management, attunement with the senses and awareness, and better decision making,” adds Dr. Hill.
For a selection of asanas and their emotional benefits, see Dr. Hill’s selections below. Remember: When personalizing your practice, keep in mind, “something simple yet soothing to connect with your mind, body, and intentions, can be done in the morning to prepare for the day or evening to decompress,” says Dr. Hill. And since your needs are always evolving, listen to your body's intuition to discover what's right for you at any given moment. Tend to emotional well-being just as you would the physical. Try not to push uncomfortable or unfamiliar feelings aside. Instead, honor them and notice what surfaces. Instead of emotional disconnect, yoga meshes the mind and body, helping you become more aware and emotionally balanced.
Positive Energy Boost - Gentle Vinyasa
When looking for an energy booster, what kind of yoga is helpful? While, Dr. Hill points out that all styles of yoga have the ability to elevate your mood, a favorite sequence the doctor feels works well, is “ Sun Salutation A (Surya Namaskar A) and can be modified if needed.”
Does time of day make a difference? “Best to practice this short sequence in the morning as it really helps invigorate the body and breath,” advises Dr. Hill.
Grounding & Alignment - Seated Spinal Twists
“Find your way to easy seated pose. Place both hands on thighs and connect with your breath. On the inhale prepare to twist on the right side. On the exhale, begin to twist on the right side. Hold each side for 5- 8 breaths. Repeat on the opposite side,” says Dr. Hill.
Self-Esteem and Healthy Boundaries - Gate Pose
Dr. Hill’s instructions: “Come into table top pose. Then slide your right leg out and you can choose to keep your foot flat or flex it. Next, send energy to the left hand making sure it's flush to the mat. Last, extend your right arm up so that you really feel the stretch through your rib muscles and down the side of your body. Hold each side for 5- 8 breaths. Repeat on the opposite side.”
Transform Tension into Positive Energy - Pigeon Pose
“From all fours, bring your right knee forward towards your right wrist. Depending on your body it may be just behind your wrist or to the outer or the inner edge of it. Your right ankle will be somewhere in front of your left hip. Slide your left leg back and point your toes, your heel is pointing up to the ceiling. Hold each side for 5- 8 breaths. Repeat on the opposite side.”
*Before practicing yoga, make sure it is safe for you. And always warmup for a sufficient amount of time to prevent injury. If you experience any pain discomfort, come out right away. Additionally, check with your doctor for safe practices.