5 Calming Yoga Poses to Relieve Stress

We often feel stressed in our day-to-day lives. In some cases, our stress doesn’t bother us much, but in other cases, it can feel quite overbearing. Relieving stress can make you feel lighter, more energetic, concentrated and ready to face new challenges in life. There are countless ways to do so, such as, music, reading, exercise and even yoga!

Yoga has many benefits! Namely, stress relief, mood lifting, getting better sleep, improving strength, balance and flexibility! Here are 5 yoga poses you can do to relieve stress!

Standing Forward Fold

This pose is effective for stress relief, fatigue and mild depression as the position assumed allows to bring mindful focus on your breathing which takes your mind away from stress inducing thoughts. As your head is tilted forward, blood rushes to your brains giving you a quick surge of energy. This pose is also useful for stretching your hamstrings, thighs and hips.

To perform this pose:

Reach high and exhale forward. Bend your knees enough for you to place your palms on the floor. Press your head against your legs and be aware of your spine stretching in different directions as you pull your head down and in. For a deeper stretch, straighten your legs. Hold this position for 6 to 8 breaths. While still inhaling, stretch your arms outwards and raise them and your torso back into your initial standing position.

Cat-Cow Pose

After a long period of being seated, assuming this pose can allow you to undo the negative effects that come with it. The focused attention on stretching your spine and lower back allows the muscles in those regions to regain their intended posture and alignment. With the attention paid to assuming the right posture as well as focusing on breathing, this pose alleviates stress and allows you to clear your headspace.

To perform this pose:

Cat – Start on all fours and while exhaling, with your shoulder and knees aligned, round your back towards the sky. Then, bring your navel towards your spine. Bring back to the neutral position where your spine and head are aligned.

Cow – Inhale and tilt your pelvis back and make your tailbone stick up. Keep abdominal muscles hugging your spine and draw your naval in.

Easy Pose

When assuming this posture, you allow your back to regain its natural alignment which then allows smoother blood circulation for your body. By this, your mind is relieved of mental exhaustion and with a better blood flow to the brain and controlled breathing, eliminates anxiety. Additionally, assuming a posture of opened hips and a lengthened spine also promotes a sensation of serenity.

To perform this pose:

Sit straight and extend your legs in front of you. Spread open your legs and with your knees wide, place each foot beneath the opposite knee and cross your legs into your torso. Place your hands on your knees with palms facing down. Align your head, beck and spine together and sit with your weight balanced. Stretch your spine to its full length but soften your neck and gently relax your feet and thighs. Remain in this position for a minute before gently releasing and changing the cross of legs.

Head to knee forward bend

Assuming this pose improves blood circulation throughout your body as it lengthens your spine which helps rush blood to your brain and to other parts. Pairing this with taking deep breaths, brings benefits such as relieving factors of mild depression and anxiety, calms the brain and helps with headaches, fatigue and even insomnia.

To perform this pose:

Sit straight and extend your legs. Bend your left leg and bring the sole of your foot to the upper inside of your right thigh. Be sure to keep your left knee rested on the floor. Place both palms on either side of your right leg and inhale. Turn your torso towards the extended leg and exhale while bending forward. Hold this position for 5 to 6 breaths and repeat it on the other leg.

Bridge pose

This pose reduces feelings of fatigue and anxiety as the position assumed allows for better blood circulation to the brain. With more oxygen in the brain, feelings of anxiety and fatigue fade. On top of this, the bridge pose stretches your back and undoes the harmful effects of prolonged sitting by realigning your posture.

To perform this pose:

Lay flat on your back with both knees bent. Place your feet flat on the floor hip width apart, Slide your arms along the body with your palms facing down. Inhale and raise your hips up, rolling your spine off the floor. Be sure to keep your knees hip width apart. Push your shoulders back to open up your chest. Engage your legs and buttocks to lift your hips up higher. Breathe and hold this position for 4-8 breaths.

Yoga is a great way to calm your mind after a long and stressful day. So, be sure to add yoga into your daily to-do list!