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10 Yoga Poses to Relive Anxiety

Taking the time to practice a couple of poses for a few minutes a day can have considerable impact on your state of mind.

There is no doubt that many people turn to yoga when feelings of stress and anxiety start to creep in, especially during the difficult times we have been subjected to over the past 12 months. Yoga allows you to stretch and strengthen your body, focus your mind and breath, and provides overall relaxation. The fundamental purpose of yoga is to foster harmony in the body and mind, granting you to eliminate the negative mental chatter that usually arises when we are unfocused or stressed, and boosting your overall mood.  

Yoga is all about patience and meeting yourself where you are. Taking the time to practice a couple of poses for a few minutes a day can have considerable impact on your state of mind. To get the most out of your sessions, make sure that you allow yourself to feel and experience any emotions that arisealongside being mindful of the sensations that move throughout your body as you do each pose. 

Here are our top 10 poses to help you with anxiety and stress: 

Hero Pose (Virasana)

This seated posture can help you find your centre. Focusing on your breath may help you find ease in the stillness of this pose. 

To do this: 

  • Get into a kneeling position. Your knees should be together, and your feet should be slightly wider than your hips. 
  • Keep the tops of your feet flat on the floor. 
  • If this is uncomfortable, put a cushion or block under your buttocks, thighs, or calves. 
  • Place your hands on your thighs. 
  • Sit up straight to open your chest and lengthen your spine. 
  • Hold this pose for up to 5 minutes. 

Child’s Pose (Balasana)

This relaxing pose may help ease stress and fatigue. 

To do this: 

  • From a kneeling position, sink back onto your heels. 
  • Fold forward, walking your hands out in front of you. 
  • Allow your torso to fall heavy into your thighs, and rest your forehead on the floor. 
  • Keep your arms extended forward or rest them alongside your body. 
  • Hold this pose for up to 5 minutes. 

Tree Pose (Vriksasana)

This classic standing pose may help you focus inward, quieting racing thoughts. 

To do this: 

  • From standing, bear your weight with your right foot and slowly lift your left foot off of the ground. 
  • Slowly turn the sole of your left foot toward the inside of your right leg. 
  • Place it on the outside of your right ankle, calf, or thigh. 
  • Avoid pressing your foot into your knee. 
  • Bring your hands into any comfortable position. This could be in prayer position in front of your heart or hanging alongside your sides. 
  • Hold this pose for up to 2 minutes. 
  • Repeat on the opposite side. 

Cat / Cow Pose (Marjaryasana / Bitilasana)

This is such a relaxing and releasing combination of postures if done properly. Keep your eyes closed to focus on connecting each movement to your breath. 

To do this: 

  • Come onto all fours with your hands below shoulders and your knees below your hip bones, keeping your back straight in a neutral position. 
  • Inhale, lower your belly, draw your shoulder blades together and peel open your chest, lifting your gaze to find Cow Pose. Exhale, press against your palms, round into your back body as you draw your shoulder blades apart from each other, gazing toward your navel to find Cat Pose. Continue these movements following your breath. 
  • Feel the arching movement up and down throughout your back while inhaling and exhaling with the rhythm of the movement. 
  • Move slowly to feel the movement of each vertebra of your spine. 
  • Hold each pose for 30 seconds to 1 minute, repeat 5 times. 

Legs-Up-The-Wall Pose (Viparita Karani)

This restorative pose allows for complete relaxation of your mind and body. 

To do this: 

  • Sit with your right side against a wall. 
  • Then lie back as your swing your legs up along the wall. 
  • Your buttocks 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. 

Standing Forward Bend (Uttanasana)

This resting standing pose may help relax your mind while releasing tension in your body. 

To do this: 

  • Stand with your feet about hip-width apart and your hands on your hips. 
  • Exhale as you hinge at the hips to fold forward, keeping a slight bend in your knees. 
  • Drop your hands to the floor or rest them on a block. 
  • Tuck your chin into your chest. 
  • Release tension in your lower back and hips. Your head and neck should hang heavy toward the floor. 
  • Hold this pose for up to 1 minute. 

Butterfly Pose (Baddha Konasana)

With a focus on your breathing, this pose encourages internal reflection. 

To do this:  

  • Come to a seated position and bring the soles of your feet together. Keep your spine tall and abs pulled in tight. 
  •  Grab hold of each foot with your hands and place elbows against your inner thighs. 
  • Keeping your spine long, inhale to prepare, and as you exhale, slowing lower your torso forward pausing when you feel the stretch.  
  • Hold for 30 seconds or more. 

Dolphine Pose

The shape of the pose means there’s increased blood flow to the brain to improve awareness and concentration. 

To do this: 

  • Begin on your hands and knees. Align your wrists directly under your shoulders, and your knees directly under your hips.  
  • Lower your elbows to the floor directly beneath your shoulders. Keep your forearms parallel to each other. Distribute your weight evenly across both forearms. 
  • Tuck your toes and lift your knees off the floor. Reach your pelvis up toward the ceiling. Keep your knees bent as you lengthen your spine. 
  • Then, gently begin to straighten your legs. Bring your torso and legs into the shape of an “A.” Do not walk your feet closer to your hands. If your upper back begins to round, bend your knees again until your spine is straight. 
  • Hold for 3 minutes. 
  • To release, exhale as you gently bend your knees and come back to the floor. Press back into Child’s Pose (Balasana) to rest. 

Camel Pose

Camel Pose is a powerful posture for back pain; however, it’s also seen as great for dealing with your emotions. 

To do this: 

  • Begin by kneeling upright with your knees hip-distance apart.  
  • Rest your hands on the back of your pelvis, with your fingers pointing to the floor. Lengthen your tailbone down toward the floor and widen the back of your pelvis. 
  • Lean back, with your chin slightly tucked toward your chest. Beginners can stay here, keeping their hands on their back pelvis. 
  • Reach back and hold onto each heel. Your palms should rest on your heels with your fingers pointing toward your toes and your thumbs holding the outside of each foot. 
  • Keep your thighs perpendicular to the floor, with your hips directly over your knees.  
  • Lift up through your pelvis, keeping your lower spine long. Keep your head in a neutral position, or allow it to drop back without straining or crunching your neck. 
  • Hold for 1 minute. 

Corpse Pose (Savasana)

This pose is considered to be the easiest to do physically, but the most difficult for the mind and spirit to master. 

To do this: 

  • Lie down on your mat with your arms by your side, palms up, legs relaxed, with feet turning toward the sides of your mat. 
  • You may use a pillow under your knees to support your lower back if you feel tension there. 
  • Close your eyes, release any tension in your face. 
  • Practice deep breathing in and out until you feel very relaxed. 

Tips: The best way to determine if you are relaxed and not holding tension is to tighten or clench your entire body, hold for a moment, and then release. 

WRITTEN BY

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