Yoga for Teachers: 5 Anti-Stress Yoga Postures to Prevent Teacher Burnout | Health


With classes moving online during Covid-19 shutdowns, teachers’ mental health has taken its toll as they reach their limit in dealing with the daily challenges of their work as well as housework. If you are a teacher who has struggled with emotional and interpersonal stress at work mismanaged amid Covid-19 blockages, we have 5 stress relief yoga asanas to help keep burnouts at bay.

Several studies suggest that the practice of yoga and mindfulness has specific benefits for teachers, as it gives them an outlet for the daily stress and frustrations of teaching. It keeps them centered, helps them stay calm during chaotic times, and also helps them understand and reflect on both their state of mind and that of their students to avoid burnout.

In an interview with HT Lifestyle, yoga and Ayurveda lifestyle specialist and founder of Yoganama, Namita Piparaiya, revealed that Balasana (child pose), Vrikshasana (tree pose), Pavanmuktasana ( wind relief pose), Viparita Karani (leg up against the wall) and Ardha Ek Pada Rajakapotasana (Demi Pigeon Pose) are 5 stress relieving yoga poses to prevent teacher burnout.

1. Balasana (child pose)

Balasana or child pose or yoga child rest pose (Instagram / mindfulbyminna)

Method: Sit on your heels on the floor or on a yoga mat and keep your knees together or wide apart. Slowly exhale and lean forward to touch the floor with your forehead or rest it on a block or two stacked fists while keeping your arms at your sides and your palms up.

Alternatively, you can keep your palms down on the mat by extending your arms toward the front of the yoga mat. Now if your knees are together, gently press your chest on the thighs or press your chest between the thighs if the knees are apart.

Relax the shoulders, jaw and eyes and find a comfortable place for the forehead as there is an energy point in its center, between the eyebrows, which supports a “rest and digestion” response by stimulating the vagus nerve. Hold the pose for as long as you want and pull your belly button towards your spine while inhaling and softening your body and arms as you exhale. Slowly return to a sitting position on the heels, inhaling and as if to unwind the spine.

Advantages: This beginner yoga pose not only helps reduce stress and anxiety by releasing tension in the chest, back and shoulders, but also if you experience dizziness or fatigue during the day or during your workout. It can help relieve back pain because it is a gentle stretch for the back, hips, thighs, and ankles.

Precautions: This exercise is not recommended for pregnant women or people with diarrhea or knee injury.

2. Vrikshasana (tree pose):

Vrikshasana (Grand Master Akshar)
Vrikshasana (Grand Master Akshar)

Method: Balance yourself on one leg with the other bent and resting on the inside of your thigh. Extend your hands above your head and point them straight up.

Tie them together in anjali mudra. Look into the distance, shift the weight onto your left leg while keeping the right knee bent in the half-lotus position and hold this pose for a few seconds before releasing and repeating the same with the alternate leg.

Advantages: This asana helps to balance your mind and body. It makes your legs stronger and is a great hip opener as it helps the body establish pelvic stability and strengthens the bones of the hips and legs.

Transferring the whole body weight to each leg strengthens the ligaments and tendons in the feet. It also helps strengthen the thighs, calves and ankles and helps improve focus.

Precautions: This asana should be avoided by those who suffer from dizziness, migraines or insomnia.

3. Pavanmuktasana (wind relief pose):

Pavanmuktasana (Twitter / yogawithsrishti)
Pavanmuktasana (Twitter / yogawithsrishti)

Method: Lie on your back and straighten your legs 90 degrees. Now bend both knees to bring your thighs back into your midsection while keeping your knees and ankles together.

Wrap your arms around your legs and join your hands or grab your elbows. Lift your neck and tuck your chin towards your chest or bring it up to your knees.

Hold this pose for 20 seconds if you are a beginner, then gradually increase to 1 minute. You can also keep your head on the floor if that’s more comfortable, or do the pose with one leg at a time.

Advantages: It promotes digestion and relieves constipation, strengthens abdominal muscles, massages intestines and other abdominal organs, tones arms, legs and buttocks, reduces belly fat, helps weight loss, and strengthens back.

4. Viparita Karani (legs on the wall):

Viparita Karni or Legs Up Yoga Pose (Instagram / drivenbydani)
Viparita Karni or Legs Up Yoga Pose (Instagram / drivenbydani)

Method: Lie on your back. Join the two legs and lift them up. Take the legs slightly back to lift the lower back. Support the back by placing the palms on the lower back with the elbows on the floor. Keep your legs perpendicular to the floor and your back tilted at a 45 to 60 degree angle with the floor. Breathe normally. Start with 1 minute and then slowly increase the duration of the practice up to 10 minutes.

Advantages: This asana allows faster movement of water from the small intestine to the large intestine, which cleanses the stomach. It is also a great practice for stimulating the hormonal system and strengthening the core. It allows you to completely relax your mind and body and helps cool it down while refreshing the circulatory system.

5. Ardha Eka Pada Rajakapotasana (Demi Pigeon Pose):

Ardha Eka Pada Rajakapotasana (Twitter / Pigeons_Of_NY)
Ardha Eka Pada Rajakapotasana (Twitter / Pigeons_Of_NY)

Method: From the dog down yoga pose, bring your left leg forward, cross it, and sit on your left thigh with the heel of your left foot touching your right hip. Exhale and lean forward while extending your hands forward with your chest resting on your left thigh.

Inhale and stretch your right hand, lift your torso and bend your right leg to bring the right foot towards the torso and hook the right foot into the right elbow. Bring your shoulders back away from the ears and place your left arm on your left knee.

Look ahead and focus on one point while maintaining the pose. Stay in this pose for a few minutes before releasing the position.

Advantages: This pose is an effective hip opening exercise that also stimulates the internal organs, stretches the glutes deep, groin, and psoas which is a long muscle on the side of the spine and pelvis of the human body. In addition to helping relieve urinary disorders, this yoga asana relieves piriformis and relieves sciatica pain.

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