Did you know that you can use yoga to relieve stress? Many aspects of a yoga practice can reduce stress, from breathwork to meditation and of course, the physical poses.
In this article, we will explore ten common yoga poses that are particularly useful for calming your mind and body and relieving stress when you need it.
As humans, we know that stress has a knack for piling up. And you probably know, but might need a little reminder, that there are yoga poses to reduce stress.
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When life is full on, overwhelming and stressful, the key is to keep moving forward and not let it all get the best of you. Allowing stress and tension to fester causes it to overtake your entire state of mind.
When we succumb to being overwhelmed, the to-do-lists can begin to seem infinite. This leaves little time for self-care. We can agree that a main goal in life is to find peace and joy while being productive, and de-stressing is a big part of that. Happily for us, yoga is here to help!
A regular yoga practice can have an immensely positive impact on your stress levels and overall. So remember that it’s important to maintain a regular yoga routine, especially when stress strikes.
Yoga to Relieve Stress: Try These 10 Poses
Yoga can relieve stress in the moment. It can also reduce the potential for stress – and also improve your ability to cope – when you practice regularly. Read on for ten yoga poses to help you reduce stress – now!
1. Cat Cow Pose
These two yoga poses together create a nourishing spinal massage that gets the blood flowing and releases tension in the spine and shoulders. When these two motions are paired together, they stimulate an emotional balance and overall feeling of calm.
2. Child’s Pose
When in doubt, take a Child’s Pose. It’s an excellent yoga pose This resting pose can be sequenced between challenging asanas, and is a simple yet effective way to calm mind and body whether you’re flowing on your mat or in the middle of a stressful day.
3. Downward Facing Dog
We do this pose a lot in our yoga practice, and for good reason! Down Dog helps awaken the senses. As an added bonus, it also reduces fatigue. It’s a great full-body stretch and rejuvenates the body by improving overall blood circulation. As a gentle inversion, it’s a go-to if you’re using yoga to relieve stress.
4. Supported Headstand
You may be thinking, how can being upside down reduce stress? Standing on your head calms the brain and reverses the blood flow. Any time your head is below your heart, you increase the blood supply to your brain, releasing endorphins (feel-good chemicals that help reduce stress and anxiety).
If you have neck issues, if Headstand is not part of your practice, or if you’re looking for a gentler alternative, spend 5-10 breaths in a wide leg forward fold instead.
5. Supported Reclined Butterfly Pose
Supta is a fantastic alternative to Savasana, or Child’s Pose. Laying down with one hand on your belly and the other hand on your heart, begin to inhale and exhale. You can feel your heartbeat, as your body melts into the earth and your hips begin to open.
This is where a yoga bolster or pillow can add extra support and calming. Lay the bolster longways (top to bottom) on the mat – you’ll lay back onto it so your spine is supported beneath the bolster.
Another juicy way to get more stress-relieving support in this pose is to place a yoga block underneath each knee so you can fully relax your hips without the stretch becoming too intense.
6. Half Pigeon Pose
For many of us, sitting long hours at a desk or driving results in tight hips. Half Pigeon is a wonderful, deeper hip stretch – but it can bring discomfort, so remember to breathe deeply and never push yourself to the point where you’re not able to breathe deeply.
The goal is to use yoga to relieve stress – not to create more of it! This pose is another great opportunity for a yoga block. To use a block in Half Pigeon pose, come into the shape and then slide the block under the hip of the leg that is bent.
Remind yourself to let go, surrender, and relax into the pose, which is a great reminder to apply in stressful situations and life in general.
7. Bridge Pose
Bridge calms the mind and helps alleviate stress, while stimulating abdominal organs, lungs, and thyroid. It strengthens and reduces tension in the back while expanding the front side of the body. You can hold this pose for 5 deep breaths, or try lifting your hips on your inhale breath and lowering them on your exhale.
8. Forward Fold
Forward folds are calming in their own right. The simple act of allowing your upper body to hang heavy will instantly make you feel less stressed both physically and mentally.
Make this stress-relieving yoga pose more enjoyable and gentle by slightly bending your knees. Having a microbend in your knees will help you lengthen your low back. After a few deep breaths, you’ll begin to feel tension release in the neck, shoulders, spine and hamstrings.
Shake your head yes and no a few times, and for even more release, interlace your hands behind your back and allow your arms to hang overhead. This is a very simple and accessible way to use yoga to relieve stress!
9. Eagle Pose
This empowering and detoxifying yoga pose can help ward off stress by improving concentration and balance. The pose releases tension in the shoulders, legs, and back while working into the major joints of the body. You are literally squeezing the tension out of your body! Allow yourself to feel this sensation, and then visualize the same thing happening to your stress. 🙂
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10. Legs Up the Wall
If you’re looking for more ways that yoga can relieve stress, look no further than Legs Up the Wall! It is commonly referred to as the ultimate stress relieving yoga pose for its ability to calm the nervous system.
When we are stressed, our bodies go into fight or flight mode, which activates the sympathetic nervous system. The parasympathetic nervous system is what helps your body calm down and rest. Legs Up the Wall activates the parasympathetic nervous system.
It is a pose that can be done anywhere, and a great pose to do when you need a few minutes to clear your head. Try it for a few breaths – or a few minutes – and see for yourself!
Learn About the Parasympathetic vs. Sympathetic Nervous Systems and How Yoga Affects Each
Prefer a Guided Class for Stress Relief?
YA Classes offers hundreds of online yoga classes, and many of them are meant to help you relieve stress! Check out one of these popular classes, or go to YA Classes and peruse the entire library. If you’re not yet a member, when you sign up for a free trial, you can take a short quiz to receive class recommendations based on your specific needs.
Stress Less With These Yoga Poses For Stress
Numerous studies have shown the broad range of benefits that yoga can have on stress. Yoga for stress relief is powerful and effective!
These ten yoga poses can relieve stress as it arises – and also prevent stress from piling up if you practice regularly. When stress creeps into your body, surrender to yoga instead, and create a space of serenity for yourself. Breathe deeply and know that relief from stress is on the way!
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