Stress is harmful to our mental, emotional and physical well-being. The build-up of stress reduces our ability to be efficient, productive, clear-minded, content, and stable.  Stress is also an enemy to weight-loss.

Stress produces cortisol, the hormone released when the sympathetic nervous system triggers a fight or flight response. Cortisol releases glucose into the blood stream to produce energy, which is necessary in the short term to meet unusual physical challenges and demands. But, the extended release of cortisol can contribute to the buildup of fat tissue and weight gain for the following reasons:

  •  It can produce insulin resistance. Insulin is designed to re-balance glucose levels. Insulin resistance disrupts the process of breaking down sugar in the blood, and excess sugar in the blood becomes fat, which instead of being used for energy, gets stored in adipose tissue.
  • Too much cortisol increases appetite.
  • According to Harvard Health, if stress persists, the motivation to eat also ramps up.

If you are now wondering how you can battle stress and foster weight-loss simultaneously, try restorative yoga. The following three poses help to calm the mind, emotions and body. Remember that it is key to focus on your breath to the exclusion of all other thought.

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1. Legs Up The Wall
Place your mat against the wall. Sit on the mat with your right hip flush against the wall or a foot away from if that proves to be too difficult. Supporting yourself with your arms, recline onto your back and extend your legs up the wall. Let your ankles rotate outward and your feet settle about hips width  apart. Walk your shoulders away from your ears. Turn your palms to face up. Place a folded blanket on top of your belly and an eye pillow over your eyes. Stay in this position for 5-10minutes.

2. Forward Twisting Restorative Pose
Site with one hip against the short end of a yoga bolster. Bend your knees in front of you, one loosely on top of the other. Slowly walk each hand to either side of the bolster and forward taking deep breaths as you lower your abdomen onto the bolster. When your whole torso is on the bolster, alow your arms to settle about inch above the top end of it with your elbow slightly bent. Turn your head toward your knees and lay the side of your face down. For a deeper twist, turn your face and deepen the rotation of your torso away from your knees. Switch sides. Hold each side for 5 minutes.

3. Reclined Bound Angle
Make an L with two blocks, one standing vertically and the other lined up from its base (this one is on the lower level). Place a bolster over the blocks so it looks like a slide (diagonal). Sit an inch or two in front of the bolster. Recline onto the bolster, making sure that your spine is straight. Bring the soles of your feet together. If your knees are high off the ground, place two blocks under your thighs (one under each). Lay an eye pillow over your eyes. Turn your palms up and let your shoulders drape over the edges of the bolster. Hold for 5-10 minutes.