Yoga Stretches To Help Keep You Calm

Yoga Stretches To Help Keep You Calm

Even if you are not fond of yoga, these stretches will probably benefit you in the long run!
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t's that time of year again. We're all stressing out about classes, work, finances, etc... I totally get it! You probably need a way to de-stress, right? Are you a yoga lover? Great! Even if you aren't, I would recommend you try these simple stretches, to help with your stress levels! All you need is your body, a yoga mat (or a towel), and positive vibes.


1.) Child's Pose

It's a posture that can help relax the mind, ease stress and anxiety, while at the same time stretching your back. If you're too worried about looking awkward doing a yoga pose, this is one of the least awkward poses (in my opinion). Here's how to do it: Begin on your hands and knees. Spread your knees as far as comfortable, with your big toes still touching. While exhaling bend forward moving your torso in between your thighs. Your chest should be sitting above your thigh. Let your forward meet with the floor. Keep your arms long and extended palms facing down, or behind your back (as seen in the photo below). Move your knees further or closer together to increase the amount of stretch.


2.) Corpse Pose

To do the corpse pose, simply lay on your back, with your legs out and your arms at your side, and relax. Close your eyes and breathe. Let all of the thoughts in your head pass through and don't judge your thoughts. In no time your body should feel at ease.



3.) Triangle Pose

This is a pose that requires some flexibility. If you aren't flexible don't worry! The more you do it, the more flexible you'll get. Begin standing with your feet hip distance apart and your arms at your side. Breathe and let your distractions go. Step your feet out as far as comfortable, making sure that your heels are aligned. Turn your right foot out 90 degrees, and pivot your left foot slightly inwards. Raise both your arms to your side, so that they're parallel to the floor, hands faced down. On an exhale reach your right arm in the same direction as your right foot. Shift your left hip back so your pelvis and tailbone tilt toward the space behind you. Fold at your right hip, avoiding dropping your torso forward. Turn your left hand forward, reaching towards the sky. Rest your right hand on your shin or ankle. Gently turn your gaze over to your right hand. Hold this pose for about ten seconds and relax, coming out of the pose. Do the same with the left side. (See photo below for assistance!)



4.) The Seated Twist

This is one of my favorite poses. I love creeping my friends out with this, as it helps pop my back. Some benefits of this pose is it helps stretch your hips, knees, back, and your ankles. Here's how to do it: Extend your legs in front of your body and sit up straight. Then, cross your legs in front of you at the shins. If your hips are very tight, you can sit on a bolster or block. With your knees wide, place each foot beneath the opposite knee. Fold your legs in toward your torso. Balance your weight evenly across your sit bones. Align your head, neck, and spine. Lengthen your spine, but soften your neck. Relax your feet and thighs. Place your right hand on the floor behind you. Bring your left hand to the outside of your right knee, exhaling as you gently twist to the right. Inhale again as you lengthen your spine, and exhale as you twist deeper. Gaze over your right shoulder. Try not to over deepen the twist. Hold this for about 10 seconds before realizing and doing the same on the other side.

5.) Pigeon Pose (Lying Down)

This is a good stretch for your glutes. Here's how to do: Start lying down, as if you were going to do the corpse pose. Bring your left knee to your chest and place your right ankle over your left knee. Keep your head on the ground, and keep your shoulders relaxed. Use your hands to gently pull your left leg close to your chest. You should feel a nice stretch! Continue, by switching to the other leg.


6.) Forward Fold (Sitting or Standing)

This is another simple pose that you can do without feeling awkward. Here's how to do it: Sit down on the ground with your legs extended. Keep your arms on the ground and and slowly work your head towards your knees. Depending on how much of a stretch you want, you can either keep your knees straight, or bent. Hold the arch of your feet or ankles and hold this pose for 10 to 15 seconds, before releasing. Remember to breath.

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To The Girl Struggling With Her Body Image

It's not about the size of your jeans, but the size of your heart, soul, and spirit.

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To the girl struggling with her body image,

You are more than the number on the scale. You are more than the number on your jeans and dresses. You are way more than the number of pounds you've gained or lost in whatever amount of time.

Weight is defined as the quantity of matter contained by a body or object. Weight does not define your self-worth, ambition or potential.

So many girls strive for validation through the various numbers associated with body image and it's really so sad seeing such beautiful, incredible women become discouraged over a few numbers that don't measure anything of true significance.

Yes, it is important to live a healthy lifestyle. Yes, it is important to take care of yourself. However, taking care of yourself includes your mental health as well. Neglecting either your mental or physical health will inflict problems on the other. It's very easy to get caught up in the idea that you're too heavy or too thin, which results in you possibly mistreating your body in some way.

Your body is your special, beautiful temple. It harbors all of your thoughts, feelings, characteristics, and ideas. Without it, you wouldn't be you. If you so wish to change it in a healthy way, then, by all means, go ahead. With that being said, don't make changes to impress or please someone else. You are the only person who is in charge of your body. No one else has the right to tell you whether or not your body is good enough. If you don't satisfy their standards, then you don't need that sort of negative influence in your life. That sort of manipulation and control is extremely unhealthy in its own regard.

Do not hold back on things you love or want to do because of how you interpret your body. You are enough. You are more than enough. You are more than your exterior. You are your inner being, your spirit. A smile and confidence are the most beautiful things you can wear.

It's not about the size of your jeans. It's about the size of your mind and heart. Embrace your body, observe and adore every curve, bone and stretch mark. Wear what makes you feel happy and comfortable in your own skin. Do your hair and makeup (or don't do either) to your heart's desire. Wear the crop top you've been eyeing up in that store window. Want a bikini body? Put a bikini on your body, simple.

So, as hard as it may seem sometimes, understand that the number on the scale doesn't measure the amount or significance of your contributions to this world. Just because that dress doesn't fit you like you had hoped doesn't mean that you're any less of a person.

Love your body, and your body will love you right back.

Cover Image Credit: Lauren Margliotti

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Being Skinny Isn’t As Great As You Think

A reflection on the struggles that come with a person's body image.

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Body image. It is one of the most powerful and harmful things on a person's self-esteem. Society and media have placed so many images of what we "should" look like. How we need to be eating, exercising, dressing, EVERYTHING. According to others, we always need to change ourselves or second guess how we see our bodies.

For as long as I can remember everyone has called me "tiny". Sure, being small and being able to fit into a lot of clothes is fun, but being tiny or thin isn't always a good thing. I am your typical college kid eating whatever I want whenever I want.

The only difference between myself and other students is that I almost never gain weight. Some girls or guys may read that part and think that I have a gift or blessing. That I can do whatever I want and still stay small and "pretty".

Have you ever finished a meal then looked at yourself and felt like something wasn't right? Some people in today's world and in history will spend time looking at themselves and seeing multiple things that are wrong with their body.

Some handled that by exercising and losing weight or gaining muscle, others have gone as far as throwing up their food or taking pills that force their bodies not to gain ANY weight. Hearing about that from adults or doctors seems crazy but people do it all the time. Possibly the people around you and you would never know.

I went to middle school with a girl that always finished her lunch walking to the trash and then taking herself to the bathroom. She wouldn't come back to our table until the lunch bell rang. Most people didn't give a second thought to this situation, me however, I followed her one day. What I saw next was something I wasn't prepared for as a 7th grader.

Two sinks, a mirror, and three stalls. One was occupied and the rest were empty. I walked into crying and nothing else. The girl had already taken care of her food and was trying to gather herself after what she just did.

People told her that she was gaining weight, that she was "chunky" or fat. She wasn't the only girl around that dealt with horrible comments like that. It's also not just girls dealing with issues like this.

Boys and men are constantly judged and only "ideal" if they are muscular. Young boys are called pigs or disgusting only because of their weight and looking bigger than the "average" person. Men are downgraded to a lesser meaning when they are thin and "stick like".

Even as we grow up kids and sometimes adults say things without realizing the effect. Being called tiny or skinny all of the time can make someone just feel small. Getting comments to eat a hamburger and fries can make someone feel insulted.

Having comments made about your skin or hair and people making assumptions about you can make someone feel misunderstood or judged. Being told that you need to eat more or go tanning because your body doesn't "look right" can torture a person.

There are so many things that play into a person's self-esteem. Average size, too small or too big is simply just words coming out of someone's mouth that don't understand the true beauties in life.

Do you ever look at a big oak tree and say, "You're too fat, you should really lose some weight."

Do you ever see a flower that blooms smaller than a quarter and tells it, "You are tiny! Why don't you go eat a burrito or something?"

No. You probably don't. Just replace the oak tree with mom and see how that feels coming out of your mouth. Replace flower with a teenage girl and see if you can actually say all of those things. Imagine if you were a parent and it was your little girl or boy that you were talking to and you said those words. Would you be happy with yourself? Would you feel guilty? Would you push them to make their body unhealthy just to fit society's standards?

I hope that you wouldn't

There are so many of us out there being told what to do with ourselves in order to be happy with our bodies. How can someone else determine our happiness for us? I have personally gotten to the point of breaking.

I see friends on a daily basis that want to change their body because it's "ugly". Many of those thoughts are because of things society has put in our minds, and not what truly matters.

As a society, we need to push towards total acceptance. Now, I am not meaning the sexuality or ethnicity type of acceptance because those are important on a different level. Respecting each other and our bodies are something that needs to be understood and enforced as much as sexuality acceptance is pushed.

I want to live in a world and raise children in a world that doesn't make people feel horrible about their bodies. It is THEIR body, not ours. The only body we should be worrying about is our own. I want my future daughter to grow and love playing dress up without wondering if her body looks right in what she's wearing. I want my future son to go to gym class and be able to do only one pull up with all of the other boys cheering him on to do better.

Is that too much to ask?

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