Yoga For Stress: 7 Mindful Practices To Destress

Aishwarya Aneesh

Aishwarya Aneesh
Jul 2023

2 min read
Yoga for stress

Table of content

Naturally, life can be overwhelming at times, with work, family, and other responsibilities taking up most of our time and energy. In such situations, Yoga for stress offers a great way to manage and reduce stress, find inner peace, and restore balance to our minds and bodies. 

In this blog, we’ll explore seven relaxing yoga poses and techniques that you can practice to reconnect with your inner calm and promote overall well-being.

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What Are Yoga Poses For Stress?

Yoga poses for stress refer to specific physical postures or asanas practiced in yoga that are known to have a calming and stress-reducing effect on the mind and body. 

These poses are designed to release tension, promote relaxation, and restore balance, helping individuals manage stress levels and find a greater sense of calmness and well-being. 

Regular practice of these poses can contribute to reducing stress, improving mental clarity, and cultivating a sense of inner peace.

1. Child Pose (Balasana)

Child’s Pose, also known as Balasana, is a restorative yoga pose that promotes relaxation and helps release tension in the back, neck, and shoulders. It is often practiced as a resting pose during yoga sessions or as a way to find a moment of calm and peace throughout the day. Here’s how to do it:

Start by kneeling down on the floor with your knees hip-distance apart.

  • Lower your torso forward, bringing your chest towards your thighs.
  • Rest your forehead on the floor or a prop like a folded blanket or block.
  • Extend your arms forward, resting them on the floor with your palms facing down, or bring them alongside your body with your palms facing up.
  • Relax your entire body and allow gravity to gently pull you deeper into the pose.
  • Close your eyes and take slow, deep breaths, focusing on the sensation of your breath moving in and out of your body.
  • As you hold the pose, feel the gentle stretch in your spine, hips, and shoulders.
  • Release any tension or tightness in these areas with each breath.
  • Stay in Child’s Pose for as long as feels comfortable and soothing for you, typically for several minutes.
  • To come out of the pose, slowly lift your torso, bringing yourself back to an upright kneeling position.

Child’s Pose Helps Reduce Stress By:

  • Calming the nervous system.
  • Releasing tension in the back, neck, and shoulders.
  • Encouraging deep, diaphragmatic breathing.
  • Creating a sense of comfort and surrender.
  • Promoting emotional release and relaxation.

2. Cat-Cow Pose (Marjariasana-Bitilasana)

Cat-Cow Pose, also known as Marjariasana-Bitilasana, is a dynamic yoga pose that combines gentle spinal movements with breath awareness. It is an excellent way to warm up the spine, release tension in the neck and back, and improve flexibility. This pose promotes a sense of fluidity and relaxation in the body. Here’s how to do it:

  • Begin on your hands and knees, placing your knees precisely beneath your hips and your wrists directly under your shoulders.
  • Find a comfortable tabletop position, with your spine in a neutral position.
  • Inhale deeply as you tilt your pelvis forward, arching your back, and lifting your head and tailbone towards the ceiling (Cow pose).
  • Allow your belly to sink towards the floor, creating a gentle stretch in your abdomen.
  • Maintain a relaxed gaze forward or slightly upward.
  • Exhale slowly as you reverse the movement, rounding your spine like a scared cat.
  • Tuck your chin towards your chest, bring your tailbone towards your knees, and draw your navel towards your spine (Cat pose).
  • Feel the gentle stretch along your entire back as you round your spine.
  • Repeat the flowing movement, coordinating it with your breath.
  • Breathe in as you move into Cow stance, and exhale as you move into Cat pose.
  • Continue this rhythmic flow for several rounds, allowing your breath to guide the movement.
  • Focus on maintaining a smooth and fluid motion, synchronizing each movement with the corresponding breath.

Cat-Cow Pose Helps Reduce Stress By:

  • Releasing tension in the spine, neck, and back.
  • Massaging the abdominal organs for improved digestion.
  • Enhancing breath awareness and promoting mindfulness.
  • Increasing flexibility and spinal mobility.
  • Creating a sense of relaxation and balance in the body and mind.

3. Forward Fold (Uttanasana)

Forward Fold, also known as Uttanasana, is a standing forward bend that offers a deep stretch to the hamstrings, releases tension in the lower back, and promotes a sense of calmness and relaxation. It is a rejuvenating yoga pose for back pain too, that can be practiced on its own or as part of a yoga sequence. Here’s how to do it:

  • Start by standing tall with your feet hip-distance apart and your arms resting at your sides.
  • Take a deep breath in, lengthening your spine and lifting your chest.
  • Exhale slowly and fold forward from your hips, keeping your spine long and extended.
  • Bend your knees slightly if needed to avoid strain in the hamstrings.
  • Allow your upper body to hang over your legs, bringing your hands to touch the floor or resting them on your shins.
  • Relax your head, neck, and shoulders, letting gravity gently deepen the stretch.
  • If comfortable, you can bring your palms to the back of your ankles or hold opposite elbows with your hands.
  • Take slow, deep breaths, allowing the breath to flow into the areas of tension and tightness.
  • Stay in this pose for several minutes, surrendering to the stretch and focusing on the sensations in your body.
  • To come out of the pose, engage your core muscles, bend your knees slightly, and slowly roll up to a standing position, stacking one vertebra at a time.

Forward Fold Helps Reduce Stress By:

  • Release stress from the lower back and hamstrings.
  • Calming the mind and nervous system.
  • Encouraging introspection and inner focus.
  • Facilitating a sense of surrender and letting go.
  • Promoting relaxation and a feeling of grounding.

4. Downward Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana)

Downward Facing Dog, also known as Adho Mukha Svanasana, is a fundamental yoga pose that offers a wide range of benefits. It stretches the hamstrings, calves, and back, while also building strength in the arms and shoulders. Downward Dog is often included in yoga sequences as both a transitional and a resting pose. Here’s how to do it:

  • Begin on your hands and knees, placing your knees precisely beneath your hips and your wrists directly under your shoulders.
  • Spread your fingers wide and forcefully press through your palms to equally distribute the weight.
  • Exhale and lift your knees off the floor, straightening your legs and pressing your heels towards the ground.
  • Engage your abdominal muscles and draw your tailbone towards the ceiling, creating an inverted “V” shape with your body.
  • Keep your hands shoulder-distance apart and your feet hip-distance apart.
  • Gently lower your head and neck, allowing them to relax between your upper arms.
  • Lengthen your spine by reaching your tailbone towards the sky and drawing your chest towards your thighs.
  • Press your heels down towards the floor to deepen the stretch in the back of your legs.
  • Take slow, deep breaths, allowing the breath to flow smoothly in and out of your body.
  • Stay in this pose for several breaths or longer, finding stability and ease in the posture.

Downward Facing Dog Helps Reduce Stress By:

  • Stretching the hamstrings, calves, and back to release tension.
  • Calming the nervous system through deep breathing.
  • Building strength and stability for a sense of empowerment.
  • Promoting a feeling of balance and calmness in the body and mind.

5. Legs Up The Wall (Viparita Karani)

Legs Up The Wall, also known as Viparita Karani, is a gentle and rejuvenating pose that allows for deep relaxation and release of tension in the legs, hips, and lower back. It is an accessible and restorative posture that can be practiced by people of all levels of flexibility. Here’s how to do it:

  • Find an open space near a wall and sit sideways with your hip touching the wall.
  • Lie on your back and slowly swing your legs up the wall while simultaneously sliding your hips closer to the wall.
  • Your legs should be straight and resting vertically against the wall, while your upper body lies flat on the floor.
  • Adjust your position so that your sitting bones are as close to the wall as comfortable for you.
  • Allow your arms to rest alongside your body with your palms facing up or place them on your belly for a grounding sensation.
  • Close your eyes and take slow, deep breaths, allowing your body to completely relax into the pose.
  • Relax your facial muscles, release any tension in your jaw, and soften your gaze inward.
  • Stay in this pose for several minutes, enjoying the sensation of your legs being supported by the wall and the gentle stretch in the hamstrings.
  • As you breathe, feel the tension and stress melting away, and a sense of calmness and tranquility washing over you.
  • To come out of the pose, bend your knees slightly and roll to one side, allowing yourself to rest in a fetal position for a moment before slowly rising to a seated position.

Legs Up The Wall Helps Reduce Stress By:

  • Facilitating deep relaxation and tension release in the legs, hips, and lower back.
  • Improving blood circulation and reducing swelling in the legs.
  • Activating deep breathing triggers the relaxation response in the body.
  • Restoring energy and promoting a sense of rejuvenation.
  • Cultivating a feeling of calmness and peace in the body and mind.

6. Reclining Bound Angle Pose (Supta Baddha Konasana)

The Supta Baddha Konasana, also known as the Reclining Bound Angle Pose, is a restorative and deeply calming posture that addresses the hips and lower back. It gently opens the hip joints, releases tension in the groin, and promotes a sense of calmness. Here’s how to do it:

  • Lay on your back on a yoga mat or another comfortable place to start.
  • Bend your knees and bring the soles of your feet together, allowing your knees to fall open to the sides.
  • Adjust your feet closer or farther from your body, depending on your comfort level and the sensation in your hips.
  • Rest your hands on your belly, allowing your fingers to lightly touch or rest them alongside your body, palms facing up.
  • Close your eyes and take slow, deep breaths, focusing on the sensation of your breath flowing in and out of your body.
  • Allow your body to completely relax into the pose, surrendering any tension or tightness you may be holding.
  • Feel the gentle opening and release in your hips and lower back as you settle into the pose.
  • If desired, you can place a bolster or rolled-up blanket under your knees or along your spine for added support.
  • Stay in the Reclining Bound Angle Pose for several minutes, allowing your body and mind to unwind.
  • When you’re ready to exit the posture, carefully roll to one side while softly bringing your knees together and hugging them against your chest. Then, sit up straight in a comfortable position.

Reclining Bound Angle Pose Helps Reduce Stress By:

  • It releases the lower back and hip strain.
  • Stimulating the parasympathetic nervous system for relaxation.
  • Encouraging a sense of surrender and letting go.
  • Promoting a feeling of grounding and stability.
  • Cultivating a greater sense of calmness and tranquility in the body and mind.

7. Savasana (Corpse Pose)

Savasana, also known as Corpse Pose, is the final relaxation pose in yoga practice. It is a powerful and restorative posture that allows for complete relaxation and integration of the body and mind.

Savasana is typically practiced at the end of a yoga sequence to allow the body to fully absorb the benefits of the practice and to promote a state of deep relaxation. Here’s how to do it:

  • Lay on your back on a cushioned surface, such as a yoga mat.
  • Extend your legs comfortably apart and let your feet fall open.
  • Place your arms alongside your body, slightly away from your torso, with your palms facing up.
  • Focus on your breathing while closing your eyes.
  • Take slow, deep breaths, allowing the breath to flow naturally and effortlessly.
  • Scan your body from head to toe, consciously releasing any tension or tightness you may be holding.
  • Soften your facial muscles, relax your jaw, and let go of any unnecessary effort.
  • Surrender your body to the support of the ground beneath you, allowing it to fully relax and decompress.
  • Bring your awareness to each part of your body, starting from your toes and moving all the way up to the top of your head, consciously releasing any remaining tension or discomfort.
  • Stay in Savasana for several minutes, allowing your body and mind to enter a state of deep relaxation.
  • When you’re ready to come out of the pose, gently wiggle your fingers and toes, deepen your breath, and slowly roll to one side before rising to a seated position.

Savasana Helps Reduce Stress By:

  • Inducing deep relaxation and calmness.
  • Balancing the nervous system.
  • Cultivating mindfulness and presence.
  • Restoring energy and reducing fatigue.
  • Integrating the benefits of the yoga practice on a physical, mental, and emotional level.

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The practice of these seven mindful yoga for stress and anxiety is, however, very helpful. These poses offer a powerful tool for reconnecting with calmness and finding inner balance in the midst of stress. 

Therefore, by incorporating these poses into your routine, you can release tension, cultivate relaxation, and promote a sense of well-being. Embrace the transformative power of yoga and allow it to guide you on a journey toward inner peace and harmony. 

Find solace in the present moment and discover the profound benefits of incorporating mindfulness into your daily life.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Which Yoga Is Best For Stress?

There isn’t a single yoga style that is considered the best for stress, as different individuals may find different styles more beneficial. However, restorative yoga, yin yoga, and gentle flow yoga are often recommended for stress relief due to their focus on relaxation, deep stretching, and calming breathwork.

Does Yoga Help To Reduce Stress?

However, yoga has been proven to aid in stress reduction. Through a combination of physical movement, breath control, and mindfulness, yoga activates the body’s relaxation response, lowers cortisol levels, and promotes a sense of calmness and well-being.

What Are The Best Yoga Poses For Stress Relief?

Some effective yoga poses for stress relief, however, include Child’s Pose, Cat-Cow Pose, Forward Fold, Downward Facing Dog, Legs Up The Wall, Reclining Bound Angle Pose, and Savasana (Corpse Pose). These postures aid in stress relief, mental clarity, and relaxation.

How Do I Start Stress Yoga?

To start stress yoga, find a quiet space and allocate dedicated time for practice. Begin with gentle yoga styles or classes specifically focused on stress relief. Explore our online yoga classes resources or seek guidance from a qualified yoga instructor who can provide appropriate guidance and, also, modifications based on your needs and abilities.

Why Is Yoga For Stress Management Considered Effective?

Yoga for stress management is considered effective because it combines physical movement, breath awareness, and mindfulness. It helps reduce muscle tension, promotes relaxation, increases self-awareness, and improves overall well-being. Regular practice of yoga enhances the body’s stress response system, allowing individuals to better cope with stressors and find balance in their lives.

What Is A High Blood Pressure Diet Plan?

A high blood pressure diet plan typically emphasizes whole, nutrient-dense foods and restricts sodium intake. It includes plenty of fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, whole grains, and healthy fats. The plan encourages limiting processed foods, fried foods, added sugars, and excessive salt consumption. It may also recommend reducing alcohol intake and incorporating regular physical activity to support overall cardiovascular health.

Is Ashtanga Yoga For Stress Effective?

Ashtanga Yoga, with its dynamic and physically challenging sequences, can be effective for stress reduction. The combination of breath, movement, and meditation in this practice helps promote relaxation, release tension, and cultivate mental focus.

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