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While life may be bright and wonderful, it's full of small (and big) stresses, whether it's morning commute traffic, looming deadlines, or too many holiday parties. Fortunately, finding inner peace can be as simple as doing yoga. Researchers tout the calming effects of yoga. A recent study published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine showed that yoga can increase GABA activity in the brain. Gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) is one of the main inhibitory chemicals and neurotransmitters in the brain, slowing brain activity and often calming the brain.



Here, SAN Francisco-based yoga teacher Patsy Leung shares three calming poses, perfect for your busiest days. Bonus:

You can do these moves standing up or pose anywhere.

Ragdoll pose

Lean forward to allow more blood to flow to your brain and calm your mind. This pose also relaxes your neck and shoulders and creates gentle traction through gravity. On top of that, forward bending is said to relieve the abdominal organs that our intestines often feel under pressure.
How to do it: Stand with feet some distance from hips, knees slightly bent (more if necessary), and bend forward and down from hips. Grab your elbow with the other hand and let your upper body drop to the floor. Hold your breath for at least five times.

Triangular formation

For starters, this standing position feels great: You can stretch your hamstrings, hips, and sides of your body that are sore from sitting or traveling. This is also a great move to strengthen your core as you use your oblique abs to lift your body as high as possible.
"One of the characteristics of the triangle is the turning point, which is especially suitable for festivals," Liang said. The idea is that yoga is like twisting a rag -- squeezing fresh blood into your organs to aid digestion. Spinning your spine also has benefits, lubricating your spine and relieving back pain."
How to do it: Stand with your feet facing the same way, about three feet apart, arms spread out at your sides, palms facing down. Turn the right foot to the side so that it is facing forward and perpendicular to the back foot. Turn left to your hips and extend your right hand forward. Bend from hip to side, extend right leg and drop to floor while swinging arm to 6 o 'clock and 12 o 'clock position. Look forward or over your left hand. Stretch your left hand and the left side of your body up to the ceiling, using your oblique muscles to support and deepen the stretch. Your right hand should be weightless. Hold for three to five breaths, then switch sides.

Tree Pose

This balanced pose requires concentration, and focusing on one thing can be calming, Liang says. "It's also very grounded, not only because you have your feet firmly pressed against the mat, but because it allows for smooth breathing. You can help stabilize your body by breathing in this position. Any time you take a deep breath, you're calming your nervous system, "Liang said. "It's a mindful posture."

How to do it: Stand with your feet at a distance from your hips and place your left foot firmly on the floor. Place your right foot on the inside of your left thigh or left calf muscle, put your hands together in front of you, and pray. Keep your balance looking ahead and take three to five breaths. Go back to the beginning and switch sides.

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