According to a report by Labblog, 39% of Americans are more anxious today than they were a year ago. Causes behind stress varied with different age groups and ranged from debt, illness of a family member/close relative to the urge to respond to a phone notification!
Out of all the mitigation strategies available, yoga can be performed anywhere without much equipment or expertise. This ancient practice has long been associated with health benefits like weight loss, improved complexion, reduced stress levels, and much more.
Keep on reading to find more about yoga poses that help with anxiety.
Stress Relief Yoga Poses
To make this easy for you, we have only included beginner-level yogic asanas, which require nothing but a quiet environment and a yoga mat. Before you hit the mat, remember you will not see/feel the results overnight. Experts say you will start noticing apparent results once you practice yoga for 6-12 weeks.
This pose soothes back pain and massages our spine to help alleviate any stress caused due to strenuous activities like extended desk jobs, hyperactivity, injuries, lethargy, etc.
- For the cat pose, lay down on your belly, then come up on all fours, keeping your back straight.
- Arch your back outwards while exhaling so your spine comes in a C-position. Keep your head aligned parallel to the ground and move your chin up if you feel any discomfort.
- Come back to the neutral position.
- For the cow pose, start on all fours, followed by making a concave arch with your back so that your tailbone and shoulder plates stick up and your lower back curves down.
- Tighten your core by drawing your navel, and keep breathing.
- Come back to the neutral position.
- Repeat this cycle for 10-15 minutes for the best results.
Being a combination of the downward-facing dog and child pose, this one impacts your body in two ways. First, it stretches your spine, upper back, and abdominal muscles, helps you stay calm, and relieves stress and anxiety.
- Come onto your yoga mat on all fours (making your knees and hands touch the ground).
- Stack your hips directly over your knees while you exhale.
- Start moving your chest towards your hand and breathe.
- Stay in the position for 30-60 seconds and relax your body.
Extended Triangle Pose
This is one of the most effective poses for improving posture for beginners as it activates your core muscles, promoting balance and stability in your body. It also calms your nervous system helping your body alleviate depression and anxiety.
- Stand on your feet by keeping them 2-3 feet apart.
- Make your arms move towards the side, keeping them parallel to the ground.
- Move your right foot 90 degrees and your left foot 45 degrees towards the right.
- Start shifting your hip towards the left as your chest and arms shift towards the right.
- While bending on your hips, lower your torso towards the right, making your left side face upwards.
- Hold the pose for a few breaths and slowly return to standing while exhaling.
Standing Forward Bend
This pose is one of the most basic poses in yoga and is usually misunderstood by many yoga beginners. It helps in relieving stress by releasing serotonin, dopamine, and endorphins, calming the brain nerves. It also stimulates your kidneys and liver. This pose is the perfect option for individuals who wish to target hamstrings, calves, and hips.
- Start by standing in a mountain pose, keeping your hands at your hips.
- Slowly try to fold your torso over your legs from the hips.
- Settle your hands on the side or in the front.
- Start inhaling to stretch your spine.
- Exhale and slowly straighten both your legs.
- Stay in a standing forward bend position for up to 1 minute and relax.
As the name suggests, this pose gives your body the appearance of a butterfly flapping its wings. In addition, it helps with intestinal pain and bowel movement regulation.
It is also an excellent position for getting instant relief from menstrual cramps. Consider this pose for a good stretch of inner thighs, knees, and groins to improve hip and groin region flexibility.
- Sit on your yoga mat with your soles pressed together and knees dropped to the sides and inhale.
- Place your elbows against your inner thighs while you hold your feet.
- Pull your abdomen gently towards the inside by leaning forward from the hip while exhaling.
- Hold for 30 seconds and relax.
How Does Yoga Help Relieve Stress?
It is well-known that yoga offers long-term health benefits and paves the way for a better, more focused, and healthier you, but how exactly does this happen? Yoga positions foster physical relaxation and eliminate bodily congestions like muscular knots.
Stretching your body and holding a particular position for some time leads to enhanced flexibility and emancipation of mood-boosting endorphins, which favorably alter how you manage stress. This also increases your attention span and concentrates your mind since you focus on a particular movement.
Hatha yoga, a combination of poses, breathing exercises, and meditation, is a standard yogic style to reduce stressors in our body. It also reduces the risk of chronic conditions like high blood pressure, heart disease, insomnia, asthma, etc.
As one becomes aware of the transient nature of their physiological sensations and emotions, it becomes easier to let go of negative memories and events. Over time, you will develop feelings such as joy and tranquility.
BONUS: Need one yoga pose that does it all? Try Surya Namaskar. This pose involves eight asanas woven into a sequence. Here’s how to perform a surya namaskar. Other effective asanas include child’s, eagle, camel, and sukhasana.
It is easy to get startled by the innumerable exercises when practicing yoga. Each yogic asana is targeted towards a specific issue, for instance, asthma relief, lowering stress or joint pain, etc. Consult with your doctor before starting yoga if you have any of the following conditions:
- Herniated disks
- Uncontrolled blood pressure
- Eye conditions
Do not get overwhelmed by complex yoga asanas and intensities. Instead, understand what pace and volume work for your body and practice that.
When it comes to stress-coping mechanisms, it is essential to understand that everything starts with you; thus, regular yoga practice with focus is the only key to long-term benefits.