Yoga poses for happiness

Try the Pigeon, Urdhva Dhanurasana and Sukhasana pose

Lift your mood, decrease stress and boost happiness with these three yoga poses.

1. Pigeon pose

This hip-opening pose can be simplified by leaving the back leg straight and coming into a gentle forward bend. As we store long-held negative emotions in our hips, this pose releases our deepest fears, anxieties and sadness. It makes sense that if we are aiming for long-term happiness and contentment, then it’s vital to let go of the negative emotions from the past. Don’t try and analyse what comes up mentally or emotionally when you hold this pose. Just breathe, let it go and make way for the positive.

2. Urdhva Dhanurasana

Backbends such as Urdhva Dhanurasana (wheel pose) open the heart, lift 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. You can try the more simple bridge pose, Setu Bandhasana, by keeping your arms by your side, head and neck on the mat and raising the hips.

3. Sukhasana

For those not yet ready for full lotus pose (pictured) start with Sukhasana; 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 meditation 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.

These poses were recommended by John Ogilvie from Byron Yoga Centre

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