Yoga Poses to Reduce Anxiety
Feeling anxious? These yoga poses can help.
No one likes to feel anxious, but it happens to all of us. That pit in your stomach and the shakes in your limbs are no fun, and it can be tough to control these symptoms once they start. If you find yourself dealing with anxiety, doing yoga can definitely help you cope. The physical yoga poses help to reduce stress by focusing on your breathing and movement and increasing blood circulation.
The yoga poses below will specifically target your stress and anxiety and leave you feeling calmer. These poses focus on grounding and stilling the mind. Try them and see how quickly those anxious feelings just melt away!
1. Standing Forward Fold
A forward fold is a good way to loosen up, relax your upper body, and reverse the blood flow. Increased circulation to the brain releases endorphins, feel-good chemicals that reduce anxiety. Let your body relax as you hinge from the waist and sway like a ragdoll or grab onto your ankles for a deeper stretch. As you exhale, focus on letting go of your stress.
2. Tree Pose
This is a good beginner pose for those new to balancing. Tree Pose requires a calm mind in order to maintain balance. Remember, trees sway, so let your body sway if it needs to. Focus on your body awareness and ground yourself to the earth. For more of a challenge (a great way to calm and center the mind), try this pose with your eyes closed.
3. Eagle Pose
This pose is about creating balance in the body as you work one side and then the other. Eagle Pose requires the mind’s full attention and helps us let go of negative thoughts and energy. It’s a great detoxifying pose so you can move things through and out of you. Try holding this standing pose for 30-60 seconds on each side.
4. Half Moon Pose
Another more challenging balance posture is Half Moon. It brings a stillness and focus to the mind as you work to remain balanced. Half Moon is a pose that activates earth and air energy, so you feel grounded and strong but also light.
5. Child’s Pose
Recovery poses like Child’s Pose can be taken throughout your yoga practice. This pose is all about relaxation as you rest comfortably with your limbs loose and your forehead on the mat. It’s a calming and centering pose that’s also gently restorative for your lower back, a place where we hold a lot of tension.
6. Supported Shoulderstand
Many inversions help with anxiety, as they refresh the blood throughout your body. Shoulderstand is an inversion that’s accessible even to beginners because of the support it provides. As you breathe, imagine your problems and anxiety flowing out of you. With each inhale, bring in positive cleansing energy.
Headstands are a more advanced inversion that requires focus and concentration. Your mind must remain in the present moment to maintain balance. Headstand is often referred to as the “King of Asanas” for its immense benefits, and at the top of that list is – you guessed it – relieving anxiety.
8. Fish Pose
A complimentary pose to inversions is Fish pose. This is a great pose to reduce the tension that many people carry in their back and shoulders, two places that get physically tight as a result of mental stress and fatigue. This pose reverses these negative effects and leaves you feeling more open and nourished.
9. Legs Up the Wall
Legs Up the Wall is a simple pose typically practiced at the end of a yoga class. It has a calming effect on the nervous system, which is why it’s a favorite for reducing anxiety. If you find your mind wandering during this pose, have a partner stack a bolster or books on your flexed feet. Having to balance the weight will keep you focused on the present moment.
10. Corpse Pose
Corpse Pose, or Savasana, can be practiced anytime you need to take a break and find some stillness. There is nothing active in this pose – simply relax and breathe, concentrating on deep inhalations and exhalations. While it may seem like you’re just laying there, the benefits on mind and body are palpable!
All images courtesy of YogiApproved.com.