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5 Yoga Poses for Stress Relief

Yoga has many benefits for our overall health and wellbeing. It provides us with greater flexibility, strength and muscle tone. However, aside from the physical, yoga can offer incredible stress relief and assist with balancing our moods. By creating a practice of mindfulness, focusing on our breath and including meditation and stillness, we can greatly relieve our daily and long term stress and anxiety.

There are in fact specific postures that are designed to help both the mind and body calm down and relax. Take a look at our top 5 poses (asanas) for stress relief:

1. Childs pose, Balasana
This is a great resting posture, allowing you to turn inward, and rest the forehead to the earth. It can help quiet the mind, ease stress and anxiety while also lengthening the spine. Good for the nervous and lymphatic system.

childs pose

2. Forward bend, Uttanasana
Forward folds (standing or seated) are a great way to turn inward and calm the mind, as well as elongate the muscles in the body and reverse the blood flow. This posture not only stretches the hamstrings, it can also relieve stress, fatigue and depression. Bend the knees slightly and just allow the body to hang forward.

wide uttanasana

3. Legs up the wall pose, Viparita Karani
By far one of the most therapeutic postures for stress reduction. Allowing the blood to flow away from the feet, it can help renew blood and lymphatic drainage back toward the heart.

legsupthewall

4. Supported Headstand, Salamba Sirsasana
A pose for the more advanced yogi, supported headstands (or inversions overall) help to ease stress and anxiety by reversing the blood flow and forcing you to focus on breath and being completely present in the moment. Calming the brain while strengthening the body, this also gives the heart a rest by saving it from pumping blood back up from the lower body (as it must do when standing). This can also be done against the wall for added support.

headstand

2. Corpse pose, Savasana
Ah, at last, the final pose of practice! Also recognised as the most important pose of the entire sequence, Savasana is the time when you can allow all the movement and breath work you just did to settle back into your body. It is meant to create a state of deep relaxation that slows the breath, quiets the mind and can simultaneously lower blood pressure and calm the nervous system.

savasana

 

You can do these poses anywhere, anytime. Try the simpler ones first if you’re a beginner and progress to a headstand as you become more experienced. To ensure you are doing them correctly ask your local yoga instructor for assistance with your personal practice or take a look at some of the many online yoga resources here:
My Yoga Online
Yogis Anonymous
Yoga Journal 

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