5 Yoga Poses To Boost Your Mood When You're Having "One Of Those Days"
Everyone has days from time to time that can only be described in one word: "meh." It's on these days that it feels like literally nothing at all is going right, and no matter how hard you try to ~fake it 'til you make it~, you've low-key lost all hope that your mood is going to improve any time soon. Personally, when I'm stuck in a grumpy disposition, rolling out my mat and flowing through some yoga poses that boost your mood is an absolute game-changer (or day-changer, in this case).
If you're not-so-subtly rolling your eyes because you highly doubt that some stretching atop a rubber mat is going to cheer you up, don't worry — I was a non-believer, too, once upon a time. But according to Huffington Post, there's actually a lot of science behind the fact that yoga literally has the power to make you happier, even on the dreariest of days. When you're breathing and moving during the mind-body exercise that is yoga, HuffPost explains, you're tapping into your nervous system and retraining your body's triggers to its innate fight-or-flight response. Breathing deeply while you're flowing from posture to posture in a yoga practice activates your parasympathetic nervous system (the system in your body that allows you to be content and at ease), calming your body and releasing happy endorphins in your mind.
The thing is, practicing yoga consistently is what will really make you better equipped to turn that frown upside down during difficult situations. But for now, here are five happy-go-lucky poses you can start with to improve your mood when you're having one of those days.
1. Happy Baby Pose (Ananda Balasana)
Doesn't the name of this pose alone speak for itself? Happy baby provides a sense of gentle freedom for your hips, a massage for your lower back, and the flow of those feel-good endorphins go right to your brain as you roll around in this playful asana.
You can take hold of your big toes in this pose, or the outer edges of your feet — whatever feels best for your body. Breathe deeply, and release any tension in your lower body that your salty mood might have instilled. Picture yourself channeling the energy of a carefree, joyful little baby.
2. Bow Pose (Dhanurasana)
When you add bow pose to your practice, you're actually opening up a chakra (or center of energy) in your body that, when balanced, will make you feel happier and more content.
The solar plexus chakra — or manipura chakra in Sanskrit — is located above your belly button and just below your sternum, so you'll be massaging it and activating it when you're in bow pose. Your solar plexus governs your personal power, beliefs, and self-worth, so when it's in harmony, it's pretty hard to remain in a bad mood.
Only take this backbend as far as feels good for your body — never push or force anything. When you're done, take a few moments to rest and restore, basking in the intense energy that backbends provide.
3. Fish Pose (Matsyasana)
Fish pose is a luxurious asana that opens up both your throat and your chest, allowing the blood in your body to flow more smoothly into your brain. According to MindBodyGreen, matsyasana is a great posture for managing anxiety levels and releasing any tension or pain that might be putting a damper on your mood.
While you're in fish pose, inhale deeply and fully through your nose, allowing your belly to expand like a buoyant balloon. Hold this inhale for a moment at the top. Then, release all your air on an exhale out of your mouth, allowing any negativity in your system to be released.
4. Tree Pose (Vriksasana)
Balancing postures are ideal for turning around a bad mood because they require a lot of focus and concentration from the mind and body. After all, it's pretty hard to think about whatever was ruining your day when you're trying to keep your body upright in an asana like tree pose.
While you're anchoring yourself to the present moment and balancing in vriksasana, you can bring your hands to heart center and connect your thumbs to your heart space. For an added challenge, you can extend out your arms and "sway your branches," so to speak. The carefree and gentle movement of your limbs might even make you crack a smile, and hey, you could really use that right about now.
Yoga inversions of any kind are great for boosting your confidence. When you're upside down and working on a challenging asana like headstand, you feel like such an unstoppable bad*ss (trust me on this one).
Even if inversions aren't in your practice just yet, working toward them is a great goal to have, because you'll be strengthening your body and your mind in the process. Once you nail that headstand, you won't necessarily be a different person in any way, but you'll be filled with an enormous sense of accomplishment, knowing deep down that you can achieve anything you set your mind to. If you ask me, that is the ultimate mood booster, my friends.