I have come upon the enlightened discovery that combining acupressure and yoga can relieve tension in the neck, back, and shoulders, in addition to irritability, anxiety, fatigue, indigestion, and depression. It can also alleviate many of the discomforts associated with menstruation and menopause.
Here are some yoga asanas (stretches) that press certain acupressure points, thus relieving the above symptoms and bringing us back into wholeness.
To relieve neck, back, and shoulder tension, sit on a chair with your arms crossed. Drop your chest to your knees, letting your neck, head and arms hang down over your knees. Do not drop your head below your heart. Hold for one minute, breathing deeply. Then, exhaling, pull your abdominal muscles toward your spine and slowly roll your spine back up to a sitting position, raising your head last and exhale through pursed lips for three breaths.
To relieve irritability and anxiety, sit on your chair or floor with your knees together and drawn up to your chest, feet together fiat on the chair or floor. Rest both hands on top of your feet and place your index finger at the base of the area between your first and second toes. Press that point firmly for one to two minutes.
To relieve fatigue, indigestion, depression, and cramps, sit on your chair or lie on your back, on the floor feet flat on the floor shoulder—width apart, with knees together. Turn your heels slightly out. Place your palms on your hipbones so that your hands are angled in toward your groin. Spread your fingers open and place your middle finger in the crease where your pelvis and thigh meet. Press down gently with your third fingers for one to two minutes.
In addition, you can lie flat on the floor, face downward, legs extended, ankles together, and toes pointed. (Be sure to use a mat or a towel for this exercise.) Place your arms under your body, with clenched fists placed in your groin/thigh region. Keep the entire length of your arms touching the floor. Place your chin on the floor, walking it as far forward as possible, stretching the front of the neck. Inhale deeply and raise both legs, keeping your chin on the floor. Breathe deeply for as long as comfort- able, feeling your fist s sinking into the pelvic region. Inhale when you are ready to release the posture; on the next exhale slowly lower your legs to the floor. On the next inhale, lift the pubic bone, releasing the arms back to the sides, exhale, inhale, turn your face to one side and relax.
These four simple techniques have the potential to center and ground us and to relax our bodies and our minds.