Does yoga help with anxiety? While it most likely won’t cure you of all stress and disorder forever, practicing yoga for even a few minutes per day can help noticeably with establishing peace of mind and reducing mental or physical pressure.
Multiple research studies have indicated that practicing yoga can reduce the secretion of cortisol, the main stress hormone. It can provide a nice mental break from the hectic lives that many of us lead. Yoga online is now a common activity that many Americans like to engage in given the COVID-19 pandemic, but you can still reap great benefits from practicing yoga by yourself.
We will show you 5 easy yoga poses that have been shown to alleviate stress and tension in the body, hopefully helping bring you a bit more calm to your mindset.
1. Tree Pose
One of the most recognizable yoga poses, the tree pose can help you focus your attention inward and ultimately quiet some of your racing thoughts. It primarily works the legs, hips, and glutes.
How to do the tree pose:
- Feel both of your feet on the floor and evenly distribute your weight to all four corners of each foot.
- Slowly begin to shift your weight to your right foot, lifting your left foot off the ground.
- Turn the sole of your left foot toward the inside of your right leg and begin to place it on the outside of your ankle, calf, or thigh (not the knee).
- Focus your gaze on something that doesn’t move to help keep your balance, and let your hands fall in a comfortable position.
- Stay here for 10 breaths, and then lower your foot. Repeat on the other side.
2. Triangle Pose
This energizing pose can help ease tension in your neck and back.
How to do the triangle pose:
- Start by standing with your feet hip-distance apart, then let your arms fall with weight at your sides.
- Step your feet out wider, forming a triangle with your feet and your pelvis.
- Turn your left foot out 90 degrees so that your toes are pointing towards the front of your mat (if you are on a mat).
- Pivot your right foot slightly inwards.
- Lift your arms, palms facing down, and extend your torso as you reach forward with your left hand towards your ankle.
- Hinge at the hip and bring your right hip back.
- Extend your right arm towards the ceiling, and stay here for 10 breaths.
- Do this pose on the other side.
3. Child’s Pose
The child’s pose can help ease stress and fatigue, all the while acting as a self-soothing pose as you hug your chest to your knees. It stretches the lower back and inner thighs.
How to do the child’s pose:
- Begin in a kneeling position on the floor (like a tabletop).
- Let your body sink back into your heels and walk your hands out in front of you.
- Let yourself fold comfortably.
- Hold this pose for 5 minutes.
4. Head-to-Knee Forward Bend
This pose has been shown to help soothe your nervous system. It primarily works the hips, hamstrings, and calves.
How to do the head-to-knee forward bend:
- Sit down on the ground with your legs out in front of you.
- Press the sole of your left foot into your right thigh.
- Inhale and extend your arms above your head. Then, exhale and fold forward, lengthening your spine as you go down.
- Hold this post for as many breaths as you feel comfortable.
- Repeat on the other side.
5. “Legs on the Wall” Pose
According to Healthline, this restorative pose allows for complete relaxation of your mind and body. It targets the hamstrings and lower back.
To do the legs on the wall pose:
- Sit with your right side against a wall.
- Lie back as you swing your legs up along the wall.
- Your butt should be as close to the wall as is comfortable for you. This could be right up against the wall or a few inches away.
- Relax, and soften in your back, chest, and neck. Allow your body to melt into the floor.
- Hold this pose for up to 10 minutes.
We hope that some of these poses are able to provide relief for you, whether you are aiming to ease clinical anxiety or relax after a stressful day at work. Good luck!
Interested in more mental health tips? Here are some of our other blog posts