Do you feel like you’re living in a fog? Yoga may be able to help you break out of the cloudiness and clear your head so you can get back to living. Practicing yoga gives you a space to calm your nerves, refocus your energy and empty your mind.
Using these poses can be especially helpful when you are facing a tough decision, because they give you an opportunity to slow down your thoughts and revisit the topic with a clear mind.
These seven poses can be done on their own or as part of a larger practice. Get on the mat, try these poses and see how they help your mental clarity.
This pose is great for beginners because it’s so simple. It’s a pose that allows you to focus on your breathing, which is one of the best ways to clear your mind. Instead of trying to hold a complicated pose, you can rest and focus on clearing your mind. Try this pose with a breathing exercise, like the one mentioned below.
To get in this pose, simply sit back with your buttocks on your heels and place your hands on your thighs. Put your palms face up if you want to receive energy from the universe, or place them face down if you want to feel more grounded. Sit in this pose for as many breaths as you’d like while you focus on breathing and clear your mind.
Alternate Nostril Breathing
There are a lot of different breathing exercises that are used in certain yoga practices that are very beneficial. They increase energy, relieve stress and can even improve physical health. When you concentrate on your breathing, you’ll notice you begin to calm down and find the fog in your mind clearing.
To do alternate nostril breathing, sit cross-legged and place your left hand on your knee. Bring your right hand in front of your face. Use your thumb to hold your right nostril closed as you inhale, then open your right nostril and use your ring finger to hold your left nostril closed as you exhale.
For the next breath, keep your left nostril closed as you inhale, then switch to the right as you exhale. Repeat this pattern for a few minutes and let the exercise naturally clear your head.
Cat and Cow
Cat and cow pose is one of the best poses in yoga because it is simple and has multiple benefits, which is why it finds itself in most yoga practices. This pose gently massages the back and shoulders and allows you to focus on your breathing, since the movements are done in sync with the breath. Use this pose to relax and calm your mind from distracting thoughts.
Start on your hands and knees with your hands directly under your shoulders and your knees under your hip bones. As you exhale, gently round your spine and pull your belly button toward the ceiling, gazing downward. On your inhale, let your belly relax and drop toward the floor and lift your chin and chest, gazing upward. Repeat this, following the pattern of your breath.
Child’s pose is typically used during yoga practice as a resting pose, so doing it alone or in the middle of a practice is a good opportunity to refocus on breathing and calm down your body and mind. It allows you to feel like a child again and come inward, which is how it helps clear your mind.
Start by kneeling on your mat. You can have your knees together or wide apart, depending on what is comfortable for you. Exhale while bending over so your torso is on your thighs and your forehead touches the mat. Stay in this pose for a few calming breaths.
Camel pose is a fairly simple backward bend that will open your torso and help you feel freer. Backbends can be tricky for some people, so finally completing a backbend will give you the confidence you need — both in yoga and in other areas of your life.
To get into camel, start sitting on your knees. Raise your buttocks off your feet, making your thighs perpendicular to the mat. Put your hands on your lower back. On your inhale, arch back slowly and let your head hang backward. If you want a deeper stretch, move your hands from your back to hold onto your feet instead. Come out of the pose slowly after a few deep breaths.
Any balance pose will improve concentration, focus and mental clarity. Tree is a good balance pose to start with because it is simple and widely used in yoga practices. While in this pose, think about planting yourself like a tree, grounding yourself and growing strongly upward. This mental image will help you walk away from the mat with a clear head.
Stand tall on your mat with your feet hip-width apart. Bend your right knee and hold your right foot with your hands. Place your foot on your thigh or shin depending on what feels right, with your toes pointed toward the floor. Place your hands together in front of your chest. If you have trouble balancing, fix your eyes on an unmoving spot. Balance here for a few breaths, then try it on the other side.
Sun salutations are a set of eight poses rather than just one pose. There are many variations of sun salutations, so you can choose one that feels right for you. Completing a few rounds of sun salutations is a great way to clear your mind and give you energy for anything you have to face. Incorporate a few sun salutations into your morning routine for a great start to the day.
Some typical poses in sun salutations include forward fold, plank and downward-facing dog. It is important to move with your breath during a sun salutation. Each inhale and exhale corresponds to a particular movement that will give you the most benefits.
Step on the mat and try out these poses to gain mental clarity and reenergize your spirit.