A Simple Yoga for Stress Reduction


Our lives get busy and often our minds get in the way. You may tell yourself you don't have time to feel good or allow self-doubt to creep in regularly. You look at your collection of yoga mats and props at home with shame that they aren't getting used.

But what if you gave yourself just a little time and got out of your own way in only 5 minutes? This will greatly help you relieve stress from daily life so that you feel like your best self every day. All you need is yourself, a yoga block, and some mala beads. Yoga mats not even required!

  Sukhasana / Easy Pose with Mala Beads Sukhasana with Mala Beads

Easy Pose is a simple cross-legged position that is great for meditation. Simply sit with your legs crossed and your spine tall. If this feels uncomfortable in any way, elevate your hips by sitting on a yoga block. Yoga blocks help lift the hips so the knees can relax and the spine can lengthen out of the hips. Keep the neck long and shoulders stacked over the hips. Imagine you have a cord connecting you to the earth and sky through your spine.

From here, you can use your mala beads for a Japa meditation. Mala beads have ancient and traditional roots from India that lend themselves to a practice called Japa meditation, where you recite a mantra 108 times. Most mala beads are necklaces made out of a string 108 beads (or a multiple of 9) that you count with your fingers.

This number is said to be an auspicious number in yoga philosophy for many reasons. According to astronomy, the diameter of the sun is 108 times that of Earth and the distance between our planet and the sun is also 108 times the diameter of the sun. There are also 108 Upanishads, one of the foundational texts in yogic philosophy.

The word mala means garland in Sanskrit and refers to the use of these beads in a necklace. Because chanting a mantra 108 times can be difficult to track, using mala beads will help the practitioner stay focused on the meditation. There is one bead in the center called the guru bead which tells the practitioner when to stop. The Sanskrit word guru means from darkness to light, so this practice helps increase wisdom and decrease ignorance as a tool of connecting to your spiritual and personal power.

Mala Beads

There are innumerable mantras you can use for the Japa practice, but one of the most popular ones is “Om Namah Shivaya”. It means “I bow to Shiva”, which is an invocation of truth, love, and grace. To perform the Japa meditation, hold the mala beads in your right hand between your middle finger and thumb with the guru bead pointing toward you. Begin to count the beads one-by-one as you recite the mantra with each bead until you reach all the way back to the guru bead.

You can repeat this one time around the set of mala beads and depend on your speed, will only take around 5 minutes. You can also repeat it slower or make multiple rounds to spend more time in meditation. But in the end, if you live a busy lifestyle, this simple pose and meditation will not only relax you but also focus your mind so you can live truthfully from a place with love with grace.