Yoga is a popular exercise and booming business. The United Kingdom rates ‘yoga’ as one of the most-searched-for words on Google in 2016.
Yoga can be used for a number of purposes. It’s a great exercise, some view it as a spiritual practice, and some even use it to relax.
People claim that yoga is great for managing stress. They do certain yoga poses for stress relief. There are many different poses that might combat stress, and we’ll talk more about some of them in the paragraphs below.
Things to Consider
Some may doubt how yoga can help reduce stress, but there is some compelling evidence. It has been scientifically proven that exercise in general tends to reduce stress and may improve mood.
This has to do with our brain chemistry. Exercise stimulates the release of certain chemicals in our brains known as endorphins.
Endorphins are a type of mood-regulating chemical that when released help to lower stress.
Other chemicals are also released during exercise, such as dopamine and serotonin, which can help increase happiness as well as our sense of reward. This ultimately reduces anxiety and our chances of depression.
1. Easy Pose
The first entry on our list of yoga poses for stress relief is the easy pose.
You’ve probably already done this one without knowing it. It simply involves sitting cross-legged with your back straight.
Your legs should cross at the shins, and your feet should be under your knees. Finally, put your hands on your knees, palm-down, and you’re done.
Yoga is best accompanied with deep, slow breathing. There are some great breathing exercises specifically designed for yoga, such as lion’s breathing and alternate nostril breathing.
You could also try 4-7-8 breathing, a technique that’s more specifically aimed at reducing anxiety. To do this, you inhale through your nose for 4 seconds. Then, you hold your breath for seven seconds before pursing your lips and exhaling through your mouth for eight seconds.
2. Standing Forward Bend
Also known as Uttanasana, this pose can be described as a variation on toe touches. Start by bending forward and touching the floor.
If your knees are not already straight, straighten them and push your hips upwards. Many then grab their elbows, but this is optional.
You may retain this pose for a few breaths, but it isn’t necessary.
It is believed that the stretching of our hamstrings, combined with breathing can help us feel calmer. Unfortunately, those who already have certain stress-related issues, such as high blood pressure, may want to refrain from this pose. This can exacerbate them.
3. Thunderbolt Pose
Start this pose by getting on your knees and sitting on your heels. From there, cross your arms over your chest and place your hands under your armpits, with the exception of your thumbs. Try to keep your back straight and relaxed.
Hold this pose for 5-10 breaths or however long you’re comfortable holding it.
4. Child’s Pose
Start by kneeling with your seat on your heels. Bend your body forward and allow your head to gently touch the floor. Let your arms fall to your sides so that your hands are next to your feet with palms upward.
This pose is intended to reduce our adrenaline, thus taking us further away from a fight-or-flight reaction.
5. Corpse Pose
Lie down on your back without your feet touching. Your arms should be at your sides with your palms up.
Some suggest closing your eyes, but it’s not necessary. You should still allow yourself to relax as much as possible. It’s best to stay in this pose for several breaths or a few minutes.
Since you’re laying down without any muscle strain, your body should have little need of adrenaline, allowing you to calm down.
6. Eagle Pose
Start by standing on your right foot with knees bent. Cross your left leg over your right and hook your left foot behind your right leg.
Bring your arms out, cross them at the upper arm, then bend them upward. Bring your hands together so that your palms are touching. This will require crossing your arms again, further up.
This pose helps to relieve tension in several areas while also improving focus, both of which can help with stress.
This pose should not be done if you have bad knees.
7. Head-to-Knee Pose
Sit down and bend your left leg inward so that your left foot rests against your right thigh. Place your hands on the ground next to your right leg and bend forward so your head is touching, or close to, your knee.
This pose will help to stretch out several muscles, including your back and legs.
Hold this pose for several breaths or as long as you can.
8. Cat Pose
To begin this pose, get on all fours. Then, curve your back upwards and let your head fall forward naturally.
This pose helps to stretch and relieve tension in your back.
9. Cow Pose
This pose is very similar to cat pose in some ways. You start both poses on all fours, but you don’t curve your back. Instead, allow your torso to fall downwards naturally.
Push your head and chest upwards while attempting to broaden your shoulders.
The Best Yoga Poses for Stress Relief
There are many great yoga poses for stress relief. We’ve mentioned only some of them in the paragraphs above, but there are plenty more out there. We encourage you to do more research on your own if you’re interested.
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