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Your Yoga Prescription: How to boost your mood in two easy steps

Dolphin PoseTiffany Cruikshank is the smart, cool creator of Yoga Medicine, a method that pairs yoga with holistic health practices to address the modern-life ailments that are constantly creeping up on you— like stress, insomnia, and back pain. We teamed up with her to bring you simple solutions you can really use, in this reoccurring feature.

In yoga, inversions are the fastest route to feeling invigorated, Tiffany Cruikshank says. But you don’t need to be able to do a fancy, Instagram-worthy, one-arm handstand to cure a case of the blues, she swears.

In fact, pairing a beginner inversion with simply focusing on your posture throughout the day may be just enough to brighten your outlook.

“Dolphin pose and postural practices will boost your mood by helping with circulation,” she says. “Try it when you’re feeling under the weather or not having that enthusiasm you might normally have.” (Of course, if your sadness is more serious, professional help is the way to go.)

Here’s Cruikshank’s easy, two-step guide to putting pep back in your step.

Yoga Pose

To do dolphin pose (pictured), come to your forearms and knees and clasp your hands. Take your elbows closer than shoulder-width apart. Hug the shoulders in and take them down away from the ears. From there, lift your knees and press back into downward facing dog. Walk your seat in as far as you can while staying comfortable. Hold for 30 to 60 seconds. “This builds upper body strength and gets circulation back to the heart,” Cruikshank says. “Lifting one leg at a time in the air will bring circulation down into the head.”

Holistic Practice

“It’s believed in yoga that depressed people can’t sit up straight,” Cruikshank says. “When you slouch, it’s hard not to be depressed.” (Hey, you’ve heard of power posing by now, right?) Pay attention to your posture throughout the day. At first, it might feel awkward and strange, but it’s a “fake it until you make it” practice, Cruikshank promises. Turns out your mom was so right with that whole “stand up straight” thing. —Jamie McKillop

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(Photo: Tiffany Cruikshank)