It’s normal to feel stressed. Work, school, and personal relationships are just a few causes. But if it piles on, chronic stress will harm your health.1 Enter the healing power of yoga.
One might argue that all yoga relieves stress. It’s true, but some poses steal the spotlight. These positions promote blood flow throughout the body, helping you feel rejuvenated. Others create a sense of calm.
Ready to loosen up? Check out these seven stress-busting yoga moves.
1. Easy Pose
Beginners and experts alike will benefit from easy pose or Sukhasana. It’s a classic meditation pose, so it’s perfect for fighting stress. You’ll improve posture and hip tension, too.
- Sit in a cross-legged position. Each foot should be under the opposite knee. Sit up nice and tall, but don’t arch your back.
- When you look down, your thighs and crossed shins should make a triangle. Rest your hands on your knees, palms facing up. Hold for at least 30 seconds.
If you regularly do this move, alternate your legs often.
2. Cobra Pose
Cobra pose or Bhujangasana will release tension in your back and shoulders. After all, this is where many people hold their stress. Loosening up your body will feel amazing.
- Lie down on your stomach, with your feet slightly apart. Place your palms flat on the mat below your shoulders.
- Lift your chest up and forward. Tuck your elbows in, and look up. If you’d like, straighten your arms and lift yourself up even further.
3. Wide-Legged Forward Bend Pose
When you do wide-legged forward bend or Prasarita Padottanasana I, you’ll also increase flexibility. But don’t worry if you can’t stretch very wide. It’ll still make you feel strong, helping you face whatever life throws at you.
- Separate your feet 4 to 5 steps away from each other. Bend forward with a flat back, placing your palms flat on the floor. If you can’t go that far, stop until you can feel a stretch.
- Lay your forehead on the floor. Again, if you can’t reach that far, simply hang your head. Keep the pose strong and sturdy.
4. Downward Facing Dog Pose
Downward facing dog or Adho mukha svanasana is a classic move. It’ll give you a full-body stretch and leave you feeling refreshed. Plus, the inverted position will encourage blood flow, which is a must during stressful times.
- Start on all fours. Place your heels and palms flat on the floor. At the same time, bring your hips upward, keeping your back straight as possible.
- It’s OK if your feet can’t flatten completely. Do the best you can, aiming to make a “V” shape with your body.
5. Child’s Pose
In between challenging poses, do child’s pose or Balasana. It’s restful and restorative, so it’ll be gentle on the body. For maximum stress-busting benefits, breathe deeply.
- Kneel down, keeping your big toes together. Place your bottom on your heels. Separate your knees hip-width apart.
- Fold forward until your torso is in between your thighs. Straighten your spine. Let your shoulders fall down, stretching your upper back. Rest your forehead on the mat.
- Reach your arms forward, or place them alongside your body. Do whatever feels good.
6. Extended Puppy Pose
Extended puppy pose or Uttana shishosana is a cross between downward dog and child’s pose. It’s another way to restore and relax yourself. If you hold tension in your back, you’ll love this position.
- Begin in child’s pose. Instead of resting your bottom on your feet, lift it up. Your upper thighs should be perpendicular to your lower legs.
- Meanwhile, straighten your back as you would in downward facing dog.
7. Corpse Pose
End your practice with corpse pose or Savasana. This relaxing position pushes you to let go and unwind, making it ideal for stress. It’s a lot like meditation! Because of this, corpse pose is one of the hardest to master.
- Slowly lay down on your back. Allow your body to soften, letting your legs fall outward and hip-width apart. Check with your shoulders to make sure they are relaxed and away from your ears.
- Place your hands at your sides, palms facing up. Embrace the stillness and let your body feel heavy.
Hold each move for 3 to 8 breaths or 30 seconds. If you’re a beginner, take it easy and don’t force anything. Listening to your body is a must for stress relief.