7 yoga poses that can help to relieve stress and anxiety

There’s a significant distinction between simply dealing with stress and actively working to reduce it.

Yoga, for example, is more than just a physical exercise it’s a holistic approach to stress relief that combines physical poses, controlled breathing, and meditation.

Incorporating yoga into your routine can help to alleviate both stress and anxiety, providing you with a sense of calm and tranquility.

I’m going to share with you seven yoga poses that can help you on your journey towards peace and tranquility.

These poses are simple, effective, and can be done right in the comfort of your home.

1) Child’s pose

Here’s a yoga pose that is often overlooked but is incredibly beneficial in combating stress and anxiety.

Meet the Child’s Pose, or Balasana.

This is a beginner-friendly pose that can be performed by absolutely anyone, regardless of their level of fitness.

Balasana is ideal for those moments when you feel overwhelmed and need a brief respite.

It’s a restorative pose that helps to calm your mind and alleviate stress by promoting a sense of stability and safety.

Imagine this: you’re curled up, forehead resting on the ground, arms stretched out in front of you.

You’re focusing on your breathing, feeling the rise and fall of your chest as you inhale and exhale.

This pose gives you a moment to connect with yourself, to block out the world and just breathe.

2) Downward facing dog

Now let me share a personal favorite of mine that has been a game changer in my stress management routine – the Downward Facing Dog, or Adho Mukha Svanasana.

I was initially skeptical about the effectiveness of this pose.

It looked simple, but I was surprised at how challenging it was in practice.

However, the benefits soon became obvious.

Every time I felt my anxiety levels rise, I turned to this pose.

The act of stretching my entire body, reaching my heels towards the floor, and pushing my hands into the mat – it all helped to ground me and bring me back into the present moment.

The beauty of the Downward Facing Dog is that it not only helps to reduce stress and anxiety but also provides a full-body stretch, which is an added bonus.

And don’t worry if you can’t get your heels all the way to the floor initially – it’s not about perfection here.

It’s more about taking a moment to calm your mind and release tension from your body.

3) Legs up the wall

The Legs Up The Wall pose, or Viparita Karani, is as simple as it sounds.

You lay on your back and rest your legs against a wall.

This pose allows gravity to do much of the work, draining excess fluid from the legs and feet, back towards the heart.

It’s a gentle inversion that takes pressure off the lower body.

Did you know that this pose is often used by athletes as a recovery tool from intense training sessions? It’s true.

Viparita Karani is not only beneficial for reducing stress and anxiety but also for relieving symptoms of various health issues like varicose veins, menstrual cramps, and even insomnia.

4) Corpse pose

Don’t be thrown off by the name. The Corpse Pose, or Savasana, is actually one of the most beneficial yoga poses when it comes to stress relief.

This pose is typically done at the end of a yoga session and involves lying flat on your back, arms and legs spread comfortably apart, eyes closed, and breathing deeply.

The goal here isn’t to fall asleep (even though it’s quite tempting), but to enter a state of deep relaxation while still remaining aware and conscious.

Savasana provides you with an opportunity to rest and relax after your practice, but it’s also a pose that you can do on its own anytime you need a break from your hectic day.

By focusing on your breath and allowing yourself to sink into the floor, you’re giving your mind a chance to quiet down and your body an opportunity to absorb all the benefits of your practice.

5) Standing forward bend

The Standing Forward Bend, or Uttanasana, is another pose that can work wonders for alleviating stress and anxiety.

This pose involves standing straight up, bending forward at the hips, and allowing your head to hang freely.

Uttanasana encourages blood flow to the brain while also stretching the hamstrings and relieving tension in the neck and shoulders.

As you fold your body forward, you’re creating a physical release of stress.

It’s like you’re letting the worries of the day pour out of the top of your head.

Now here’s a tip: If you find it challenging to keep your legs straight, feel free to bend your knees.

The goal here is to feel a stretch and release in your back and shoulders, not to touch your toes.

So next time you feel anxiety creeping up, just bend it out with Uttanasana.

It’s a quick and easy pose that can provide immediate relief.

6) Bridge pose

The Bridge Pose, or Setu Bandha Sarvangasana, is more than just a yoga pose.

It’s a bridge to tranquility and peace in moments of anxiety and stress.

This pose, which involves lying on your back and raising your hips while keeping your feet grounded, opens up the heart and chest – areas where we often hold tension and stress.

As you lift your body, think of it as a metaphor for lifting the weight off your heart.

It’s a moment to let go of all that’s heavy in your life.

The Bridge Pose is also excellent for calming the mind, alleviating symptoms of depression, and even stimulating organs in the abdomen.

7) Tree pose

The Tree Pose, or Vrksasana, has a special place in my heart.

It was the first pose where I truly understood the connection between mind, body, and balance.

This pose involves standing on one leg, while the other is bent at the knee and resting against the standing leg.

At first glance, it may seem simple, but achieving and maintaining balance can be a real challenge.

There were times when I felt unsteady, wobbling and even falling over.

But with time, patience, and practice, I found my balance.

Vrksasana taught me that it’s okay to wobble, to lose balance and to struggle.

The important part is to get back up, readjust and try again.

This pose is a beautiful metaphor for life.

We might not have control over the external factors that cause us stress and anxiety, but we can learn to stand tall amidst all of it.

Breathe in,  breathe out

The essence of yoga and its power to alleviate stress and anxiety is deeply intertwined with the balance between our mind, body, and spirit.

The poses we’ve discussed here are more than just physical movements.

Each pose serves as a tool to tune in, to listen, and to give your body what it needs to find balance and peace amidst the chaos of life.

Remember, yoga isn’t just about flexibility or strength; it’s about finding calm within the storm.

It’s about embracing the journey of self-discovery, one breath at a time.

So whether you’re standing tall in Tree Pose or resting in Savasana, remember that each pose is an opportunity to connect with yourself on a deeper level.

Tina Fey

Tina Fey

I've ridden the rails, gone off track and lost my train of thought. I'm writing for Yoga Group to try and find it again. Hope you enjoy the journey with me.

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