5 Yoga Poses To Alleviate Anxiety and Stress
Take a moment to check in with your body and mind. How are you feeling today?
If you've got racing thoughts, tight shoulders, frustrating worry or perhaps just a niggling feeling of self-doubt and negativity, chances are, you're feeling the effects of some form of stress and anxiety.
This may be a daily occurrence in your life and you're having to manage an acute bout of anxiety, or it could just be a one-off stressful day at work. Whatever your situation and however those symptoms may be showing up, everyone can benefit from knowing some relaxation strategies to help you unwind and ease you into a calmer, more positive state of mind.
This is where the beautiful, magical, healing effects of yoga come in. A growing number of studies have shown that practising yoga regularly can provide significant relief both physically and emotionally when you're feeling anxious and stressed. Discover our top 5 yoga asanas (poses) that you can do pretty much anywhere to help you to release some of those unhelpful emotions and ground you back into the present moment.
1. Child's Pose
Opening the hips and releasing tension from the back, shoulders and neck, Child's Pose is a great way to release any stagnant, negative energy and find your inner calm. This is a particularly soothing asana in any yoga sequence and will allow you to find comfort, stillness and bring your attention back to your breath.
2. Legs Up The Wall
This semi-supine pose is extremely restorative and helps to regulate blood flow, which can be a very welcomed feeling if you've been sitting or standing all day. 'Legs up the wall' is great for relieving tension in the lower back, soothing swollen ankles, stretching out the back of the legs, back of the neck and front torso. Add in some slow, deep breaths and you'll gently soothe your nervous system, calming your body and mind. This pose is particularly useful before bedtime to help you switch off, or if you're struggling with insomnia.
3. Forward Fold (Padangusthasana)
Hanging out in this pose for a minute or two will encourage you to focus on your balance, in turn, keeping your attention centred on your concentration and breathing. This is an instant anxiety and stress alleviator if you've got racing thoughts or you're struggling to relax. It's also wonderful at stretching out tight hamstrings, stimulating the liver and kidneys, improving digestion and even soothing menstrual cramps.
Cat-Cow is a calming movement that brings a little warmth to your muscles as you flow, increasing the flexibility of your spine. It's a restorative stretch for the back and neck and gently stimulates the abdominal organs. Try a slow sequence of around ten cat-cows and you're guaranteed to feel relieved of some anxiety and tension. It's a great chest opener, encouraging deep, slow breaths as you move between cat and cow, which will restore focus and calm into your body and mind.
5. Reclining bound angle
This pose is a recharging opener for the hips, stimulating the kidneys, ovaries and bladder. Holding this asana for a few minutes can help to regulate your heartbeat and provide a sense of grounding, particularly as you feel the support of your mat beneath your back. It's a deep release for your hips, unlocking, untrapping and releasing negative emotions and tension. The hips are often a place where negative energy and trauma can accumulate, so this pose is particularly beneficial when you're feeling fragile and feel the need to 'let go'.
Have you tried yoga to help you unwind and relax?