As a yoga and meditation teacher, I am most interested in yoga for stress and anxiety reduction. Here are six yoga poses that are proven to reduce anxiety and stress. They are for a more zen you, and I hope you try them (minus the bonus if you’re not experienced with yoga). Speak to your doctor first.
These poses help me a lot.
Here is a little Sunday sequence for you. Hang out in the poses 5-10 breaths.
1 & 2. CAT / COW STRETCH
Starting in table top on all fours with our wrists under our shoulders and our knees directly under our hips. Exhaling, starting from our tailbone, and slowly rounding our backs toward the sky, releasing our head last for Cat. On the inhale, starting from our tailbone, we’re extending our spines, lifting the crown of our head last, for Cow. Reaching through our sternum to lengthen our spine. Moving into Cat on the exhale and Cow on the inhale, flowing with our breath. Letting our bellies lengthen without dropping our udders in Cow.
This pose creates emotional balance, relieves stress and calms the mind.
3. TREE POSE
From Mountain Pose, we’re bringing our hands to heart center, and shifting our weight to balance on one leg. Bringing our opposite foot into our standing ankle, calf, or thigh (above or below the knee) and ensuring that our hips stay level. Keeping our hands at heart center, or for more challenge, reaching our arms overhead. If our foot is on our thigh, we are pressing our foot into our thigh and our thigh into our foot. Creating strength and length down through our rooted foot and up through our crown or our fingertips. Repeat on other foot.
By balancing on one foot, you promote concentration, awareness and focus. You can therefore can take your mind away from fears or worries, and places your attention onto your physical self.
4. WARRIOR III
With your feet hips distance apart, turn to the left and widen your stance about four feet apart. Turn your right foot about 90 degrees so your toes point toward the front of the mat. Shift your left foot about 45 degrees so that its at an angle toward to upper left side of the mat. Align your pelvis and torso with your right foot and bend your right knee, keeping both feet planted on the mat.
Raise your arms overhead and press your weight onto your right foot, lifting your left leg as you lower your torso forward, making your body parallel to the ground. Reach out through the heel of your left foot, keeping both legs actively engaged. Your arms will now be reaching forward. Straighten your right leg and shift your gaze toward the ground a few feet in front of you and hold for 2-3 breaths. Slowly lower your leg back to the floor and repeat on the other side. (YogaJournal)
Warrior III stimulates your abdominal region which helps improve your digestion, and we are learning that proper digestion and gut health are crucial in fighting anxiety. Like tree pose, warrior III gets your mind and focus on balancing your physical body, as well as enhances your core strength.
5. CHILD’S POSE
photo credit: PinterestFrom all fours, sinking our hips back toward our heels and lowering our body toward our thighs. Reaching our arms out in front of us for Extended Child’s Pose or bringing our arms around alongside our body. Resting, relaxing and checking in with our bodies. Permitting our bodies to find relaxation and rest.
Child’s Pose helps to release tension in the back, neck and shoulders and also helps to promote relaxation by encouraging steady conscious breathing, which is particularly great for anxiety sufferers due to a calming of the nervous system.
Thank you Laura Casella, our incredible show host for being such a willing participant. You’re a natural as we can see.
6. CROW POSE
Crow pose improves focus, reduces stress and leaves you feeling calm, energized and even self-confident.
This is for more advanced yogis.
Save this for anytime you want to feel relaxed. If you try this sequence, let me know below!