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I’m A Psychologist & Yoga Teacher: This Is The One Pose I Turn To When Stressed

“It’s almost like the alphabet for those of us who do yoga,” she says. Meaning, she knows the sun salutation so well that even if she’s “totally frazzled” or having an off day, she can get into that flow and know exactly where she’s going. “It’s a way of just having that body routine,” she continues. “Once you get yourself back into that familiar path, it’s very centering.”

She likens the physical practice to a mental anchoring statements technique, or simple phrases that can facilitate grounding during moments of unease. “Anchoring statements are for when you’re just so stressed that it’s almost like you’ve become non-verbal,” she explains. “It would bore you to tears in your normal life, but when you’re in that compromised moment where you’re not verbal, it’s just what you need to hear.”

For example, some people like to repeat to themselves: My head is above my shoulders; my shoulders are above my waist; my waist is above my hips; and my hips are above my feet. “It’s a nice, simple reset tool for when you’re feeling like the ship is adrift and you need that anchor to anchor you back down,” says Carmichael. “I think of the sun salutation as the same thing for me.”

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