These days, most people are so stressed out that they are barely able to keep it together. If this applies to you, here are five yoga poses that can help reduce your stress and tension.
Stressed out? Worried about the future? Afraid of a future without enough to do? Yoga is a proven stress reliever that can help you relax and ease the pressure. Here’s 5 yoga poses that will help you keep the stress away and reduce the tension.
Wine, cookies, ice, magnesium, Rescue Remedy, crystals…. Does anyone else have experience with finding external solutions to stress in all sorts of places?
Fortunately for my mental health and my bank balance, I discovered yoga about ten years ago and with it a stress management tool like no other. Yoga helps relieve tension and stress in the body and mind, and can make you more resilient when those recurring stress triggers occur.
Let’s face it, stress triggers can (and will) occur at any time. If you don’t monitor your stress levels, you may start to notice negative side effects. Whether it’s bad skin or joint and muscle pain, when it comes to stress, prevention is better than cure. Prepare your body and mind for potential stress with this free 30-day expert-led yoga challenge. Daily practice will really help you get into a routine, and your body will quickly get used to moving through the tension.
While yoga in general has a calming effect, certain poses have the amazing ability to help us release tension and stress. Look at her.
1. Eagle’s Pose (Garudasana)
This posture forces you to concentrate and focus your mind on one point, which is a great way to deal with stress. It can also help relieve tension in the shoulders and hips, which are often places where emotional tension builds up.
- From Tadasana, feet hip-width apart, hands shoulder-width apart. Raise your right hand above your left hand.
- Bend your elbows and bring your palms together. If it’s too strong, touch the back of your hands.
- Shift your weight to the four corners of your right foot and bend your knees slightly.
- Lift your left hip over your right hip. If your knees are okay and you can hook your toes on the right calf, do so; if not, leave the foot in place (not everyone can do this anatomically, so don’t force it).
- Activate the center of the body and begin to lower the hips, maintaining the length of the spine. Keep your eyes on the focus point and make sure your breathing is effortless.
- To get out, begin to relax slowly and return to Tadasana. Repeat the process on the other side.
Stress reduction tip: You need something to focus your eyes on. How about placing an object that calms or uplifts you in front of your mat to use as a drishti (focal point)?
2. Standing forward bend (Uttanasana)
Uttanasana can help calm a tense mind, balance the nervous system and promote a sense of calm and serenity. Energetically it helps balance the sacral chakra, which when over-stimulated can contribute to fluctuations and excessive emotional energy.
- From Tadasana, bend the knees, gently contract the torso and bend the hips forward, placing the hands in front of or next to the feet.
- Shift your weight to your feet and feel your sit bones go to the ceiling. When training the hamstrings, you can keep the knees bent to protect the lower back. Otherwise, stretch the back of your legs while keeping your weight on your feet.
- Grasp each elbow with the other hand and make gentle movements around the eyes, jaw, neck, head and consciousness.
- You can hold your breath a few times or longer if you feel comfortable. If you have low blood pressure, don’t rush out of the pose.
Stress reduction tip: Imagine your worries literally melting away on your head, swallowed up by the ground beneath your feet.
**Uttanasana is contraindicated in cases of back pain, hamstring injuries, glaucoma and high blood pressure. Blood pressure problems are a common side effect of stress, so consult your doctor first or avoid this position altogether if you have concerns.
3. Child’s pose (Balasana)
- From your hands and knees, bring your sit bones over your heels and extend your arms in front of you. Slowly tilt your upper body forward until the center of your eyebrows rest on the mat.
- Big toes touch, knees together or further apart than hips.
- The hands are traditionally placed along the back of the body, palms up, but you can bend your hands and forearms and rest your head on them if that is more comfortable for you.
- If your thighs or buttocks don’t touch your heels, you can put a pillow between them to help you relax. Hold this position for at least 10 breaths, releasing as much as possible on each exhale.
Why it’s great: When we are constantly on edge, we tend to stress the adrenal glands, which can lead to exhaustion.
The baby pose is one of the most soothing poses for the adrenal glands. Practicing this pose regularly can be like getting a huge hug, a bubble bath and a bowl of soup, all in one package!
Stress reduction tip: Visualize a soothing color in the center of your eyebrows (blue, purple or gold). Feel this color going in and out with each breath, and calm your mind more and more each time.
4. Lightning Pose (Vajrasana) Variation
This pose has an incredibly calming effect on the mind and body. Vajrasana is also very good for digestion, so if you tend to carry tension or stress there, this pose should help.
- Stand on your knees and squat on your heels. If you feel more comfortable, you can place a pillow between your sit bones and your feet.
- Maintain the length of your spine and feel how the top of your head reaches the ceiling.
- Cross your arms in front of your chest and place your palms under your armpits. The thumbs are pointing forward (see photo).
- Connect with your breathing and notice how quickly the mind begins to slow down and calm down. Keep breathing at least 10 times and feel the tension and stress being released with each exhale.
- Cross your legs if you find it uncomfortable to be on your knees for so long.
Stress reduction tip: Try to do this right before bed and you can enjoy a more restful sleep.
5. Reclining Angle Posture (Supta Baddha Konasana)
In this position, you’ll feel like you’re on a mini vacation! It will help you open up the hips, inner thighs and groin – all places where we can hold tension and stress. By leaning on the ground, you can surrender to the present moment and practice the art of letting go.
- Lie on your back in savasana. Bring the soles of your feet together and spread your knees. When one or both knees are off the ground, you can place yoga blocks, bolsters, or folded blankets underneath to make the pose more relaxed.
- Options for the hands : You can lift them above your head and grasp each elbow with opposite hands, or lay them on the floor along your torso. I prefer to place one hand on my heart center and the other on my belly, creating a soothing connection within me.
- Stay as long as you like. When you’re ready to go out, take it easy.
Stress reduction tip: This is a good opportunity to reinforce a positive and reassuring message to yourself. With each inhalation and exhalation, repeat the words I am calm and relaxed or I am letting go.
What are your favorite yoga poses to relieve stress and tension?