Your mood- whether that mood is excited, irritable, sad, or content- can come and go like ocean waves, and the practice of yoga teaches us to ride our moods out and remain unattached. Still, unless you are as enlightened as the Buddha, you may experience a mood from time to time that seems unmovable. The physical side of yoga, or asana, can actually help us shift through our moods and arrive in a more stable state. When we create freedom in the body, our state of mind is more likely to stabilize and we are less likely to take our emotions out on others, which almost always causes suffering.
If you are feeling particularly stuck on a negative thought pattern or are noticing a change in your mood that trends away from stability, use this yoga pose guide to encourage a shift of the body, mind and spirit.
Mood: worn out, overly analytical, in your own head
Pose to try: Virabhadrasana, or Warrior pose, to increase stamina, strengthen the core and open the hips and shoulders.
Mood: stressed, overworked
Pose: Cat/Cow pose to release pent-up stress in the head, neck, and shoulders and help loosen up the spine, which is incredibly necessary after a long day’s work.
Mood: sensitive, too easily affected by the emotional states of others
Pose: Ardha Chandrasana or Half Moon Pose is a great pose for stimulating the abdominal organs and opening the chest, encouraging grounding and equanimity of the mind.
Mood: scattered, unfocused
Pose: Cobra Pose to open up the shoulders, strengthen the upper back, and keep the mind focused on one task (not a million at a time).
Mood: under-confident, doubting yourself and your inner radiance
Pose: Sphinx Pose, or Salamba Bhujangasana, is great for strengthening the spine and upper back, massaging the belly, and calling in that regal energy.
Ready to dive deeper into your at-home practice?
Mood: unbalanced, out of whack, unable to skillfully juggle life’s obstacles
Pose: Dancer pose, or Natarajasana, is both a balancing posture and a deep backbend that embodies a delicate and beautiful dance through air and through life.
Mood: intense, angry, irritable
Pose: Frog Pose to release hips, open up the pelvis, and reconnect with water element for more fluidity and grace.
Mood: spacey, lacking a stable foundation
Pose: High Lunge Pose, or Anjeneyasana, builds strength and stamina while also stretching the hip flexors and quadriceps.
Mood: guarded, unable to be vulnerable or connect to others
Pose: Bow Pose, or Dhanurasana, opens the chest, shoulders, and quads while strengthening the back, making it wonderful for heart-opening.
Mood: stuck in the past or in habitual patterns, having trouble moving on
Pose: Upward Bow, or Wheel pose, is a huge heart-opening pose that stimulates the thyroid gland, boosts energy and shifts perspective to challenge the way that the world is seen.
Mood: dull, disconnected with spirituality or higher purpose
Pose: Matsyasana, or Fish Pose, is commonly practiced as a counter-pose after shoulder stand, and is excellent for opening the chest, neck and throat as well as stimulating the thyroid, clearing the pathways for spiritual expression.
Ready for more of YogaToday?