Stress is something that affects us all. In fact, we need a bit of stress in our lives to help evolve, grow, gain perspective and stay motivated. But when we’re overloaded with stress (hello, 2017), it can become overwhelming and detrimental. Ultimately, too much stress affects our mental, emotional and physical wellbeing, which is why making time to practice yoga is so important.
Yoga provides the perfect tools to help us deal with stress. Below, you’ll find some key poses to help relieve anxiety and allow you to move through your day with more mindfulness and peace:
1. CHILD’S POSE (BALASANA)
This pose has an immediate calming effect. It allows the mind to turn inward away from distractions.
- Come to a kneeling position, with knees wide and big toes together.
- Place a bolster between your thighs, then fold forward from the hips and rest your chest down.
- Rest head on the floor or on a block, with arms stretched out in front.
2. CROCODILE (MAKRASANA)
This position allows for a deep connection with your own breath, helping to turn the mind inwards.
- Lay on your belly.
- Make a pillow with your hands and rest your head upon them.
- Keep your legs out straight behind you, with feet turned outwards.
- Focus on the breath down into the belly. Feel it pressing the floor as you inhale and soften back on the exhalation.
3. RECLINING BOUND ANGLE (SUPTA BADDHA KONASANA)
The detrimental effects of stress often occur because we’re holding onto unnecessary thoughts or feelings. This pose teaches us how to let go.
- Lay on your back, place the soles of the feet together and knees resting apart.
- A bolster can be placed underneath from the lower back up to the back of the head.
- Extra support can also be placed under the thighs.
4. LEGS UP THE WALL (VIPARITA KARANI)
This inverted position is instantly calming and introverting.
- Sit with the side of your pelvis against the wall.
- As you lay down, pivot legs to swing up the wall so your spine is lengthening away from it.
- A bolster or low block can be placed under the back of the pelvis for more comfort.
The ultimate stress-relieving pose!
- Lay on your back, with the spine in a straight line.
- Let feet and legs roll out from each other, and arms rolled out from the sides of the body.
- Tuck the chin slightly towards the chest. A bolster or blanket can be placed under the knees to relieve tightness in the lower back.
- Now, just breathe normally and relax.