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10 Yoga Poses to Relieve Stress and Anxiety

Updated on June 23, 2015

Beating stress and anxiety with Yoga

As kids we never had to worry about stress because we were carefree wild kids running all around the house and pulling mischievous pranks on our parents and friends. Basically we had a tension free mind and were often sheltered by our amazing parents against any problem that came our way.

But in today's fast paced world where internet and social networks have made our lives super easy, the competition has risen higher than ever before.In such a scenario we often find ourselves working overtime, meeting deadlines. multitasking, losing sleep, getting depressed, skipping meals and more which ultimately leads to severe stress.

30 day Yoga challenge to beat stress - Tag a friend or family member who might be suffering from stress or depression. - Tomas Baliukonis
30 day Yoga challenge to beat stress - Tag a friend or family member who might be suffering from stress or depression. - Tomas Baliukonis

The Stressful question

Have you suffered from Stress? What approach did you take to cope with it ?

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Take a 30 day Challenge with these yoga poses

While we can’t stop an individual from pursuing their passion, work and studies despite the tough competition and hectic schedules, we can always relieve our body from all type of physical and mental stress with the wonderful gift of yoga. Yoga helps one heal both the inner and outer cores of the body helping one to start afresh and happy everyday with just a short session of yoga.

As students, professionals, elders and housewives, everyone for once suffer from dreadful symptoms of depression, stress and anxiety, many of us won't even know of it. Saying so one can beat these dreadful ailments by practicing yoga daily.

Things you'll need

Here is a productive list of best top 10 yoga postures that one can practice to beat stress and anxiety, and have a calmer, motivated and fit mind , body and soul. Let's practice some yoga!

1. Corpse Pose (Savasana)

In Corpse Pose (Savasana) one needs to stay still and relaxed like a dead body while the actual motive is to control the mind with slow breathing - thebackhealer
In Corpse Pose (Savasana) one needs to stay still and relaxed like a dead body while the actual motive is to control the mind with slow breathing - thebackhealer

Corpse pose - savasana is one of the most effective yoga relaxation techniques that relaxes the whole body by releasing all the tension from the central nervous system, giving the user a feeling of leaving their body and entering into a state of calming consciousness.

To practice corpse pose - savasana, simply lie down on your back with your arms (palm facing the upwards) and legs (ankles pointing outwards) apart. Close your eyes and practice slow breathing while continuing to be in the same state of rest. In this posture major emphasis is to relax the body completely and concentrate on staying still by calming your sub-conscious mind. (Duration: 10 to 15 mins)

Video: How to do Corpse Pose (Savasana) with Instructions

Benefits: Reduces blood pressure, anxiety, insomnia and headaches

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2. Bridge Pose (Setu Bandha Sarvangasana)

Bridge Pose (Setu Bandha Sarvangasana) releases upper body tension and stress
Bridge Pose (Setu Bandha Sarvangasana) releases upper body tension and stress

Bridge Pose - Setu Bandha Sarvangasana is quite effective yoga posture in relaxing the upper body and releasing tension from the upper spinal cord.

To practice bridge pose - setu bandha sarvangasana lay down comfortably on your yoga mate and bend your knees (feet touching your buttocks). Now exhale and lift your buttocks up with thighs parallel to the ground and arms apart supporting the shoulders. Lift the chin a bit to eliminate the space between neck and ground. You can use a pillow to support the posture. (Duration: 1 to 2 mins)

Video: How to do Bridge Pose (Setu Bandha Sarvangasana)

Release from the pose with an exhalation and move slowly back to the normal posture. Avoid in case of neck injury.

Benefits: Reduces high blood pressure, anxiety, insomnia, fatigue, back pain and headaches. Improves digestion, rejuvenates tired legs and spine problems.

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3. Legs Up The Wall Pose (Viparita Karani)

Legs Up The Wall Pose (Viparita Karani) helps release tension in lower body.
Legs Up The Wall Pose (Viparita Karani) helps release tension in lower body.

Legs Up The Wall Pose -Viparita Karani is a highly effective yoga pose for curing stress related to upper respiratory system and highly recommended for relieving the lower body.

To practice legs up the wall pose -viparita karani roll down to your right or left holding your legs firmly with one hand and move closer to a wall with sufficient distance to adjust your buttocks between the wall and the floor. Now roll back on your back while facing the wall, exhale and allow your legs to rest straight on the wall. You can use straps, sandbags or cushions to rest your legs and back during the pose. Make sure your hands and neck are relaxed and in a comfortable position during the pose. (Duration: 10-20 mins)

Video: How to do Legs Up The Wall Pose (Viparita Karani)

Once comfortable with the posture try doing it without the support of the wall. Not recommended for people with back injury and should be avoided during periods.

Benefits: Helps cure blood pressure, anxiety, insomnia,leg pain and headaches. Helps slow down aging symptoms and relieve respiratory problems. Highly recommended for pregnant woman.

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4. Child's Pose (Balasana)

Child's Pose (Balasana) releases all type of stress and anxiety from the mind - YogaLily
Child's Pose (Balasana) releases all type of stress and anxiety from the mind - YogaLily

Child's Pose -Balasana is one of the most calming yoga poses that specifically relieves stress and anxiety, calming one's inner core. Highly recommended for students preparing for exams.

To practice child's pose - balasana sit on your knees with a bit of gap between the two knees. Now exhale and submit all your tensions to the ground by leaning forward and resting your head against the ground. You can keep your hands either in front or sideways during the posture. (Duration: 5 mins)

Video: How to do Child's Pose (Balasana) with Instructions

During this resting pose you can use your breath or going through your body to concentrate on.

Benefits: Helps rejuvenate brain performance by relieving it from any type of stress and anxiety, stretches leg muscles and cures pain in upper body.

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5. Extended Puppy Pose (Uttana Shishosana)

Extended Puppy Pose (Uttana Shishosana) stretches out your spine and eliminates all back pain just like your dog would do - Curejoy
Extended Puppy Pose (Uttana Shishosana) stretches out your spine and eliminates all back pain just like your dog would do - Curejoy

Puppy Pose - Uttana Shishosana a modified version of the child pose that shifts its focus from lower resting posture to upper body.

To practice puppy pose - Uttana Shishosana get into child's pose. Move your head and shoulders a bit above the ground instead of resting them, while exhaling move your buttocks vertically above the knees and use your palms to move your body to the front during this motion. Make sure your elbows don't touch the ground during this pose. (Duration: 30 sec - 1 min)

Video: How to do Puppy Pose (Uttana Shishosana)

Benefits: Helps rejuvenate the spine and shoulders by relieving it from any type of stress with long stretching.

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6. Cat Pose (Marjaryasana)

Cat Pose (Marjaryasana) makes you a lot more energetic just like the cats - Tiffany Berry
Cat Pose (Marjaryasana) makes you a lot more energetic just like the cats - Tiffany Berry

Cat Pose - Marjaryasana is an excellent yoga posture to try when you want to feel more energized and active. Besides relieving stress it gives a great massage to the spinal cord.

To practice cat pose - marjaryasana get on your knees and create a table posture by using your hands against the floor. Make sure your hips and knees & shoulders, elbow and hands are vertically inline. Exhale and bend your back towards the ceiling (make an outward arc) as your head faces the floor (chin shouldn't touch the chest).

Video: How to do Cat and Cow Yoga Poses with Instruction

Keep moving from cat pose back to normal table top pose as you inhale and exhale. .

Benefits: Helps replenish energy demands, massages and stretches the spine and neck muscles. Improves digestion.

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7. Cow Pose (Bitilasana)

Cow Pose (Bitilasana) done in transition with the cat pose while inhaling
Cow Pose (Bitilasana) done in transition with the cat pose while inhaling

Cow Pose - Bitilasana is usually accompanied by cat yoga pose because the poses compliment each other, while one massages the back the other opens up the chest.

To practice cow pose - bitilasana simply get into cat pose and while inhaling back from the position make an inward arc as your head faces the ceiling (transit slowly). Keep moving back and forth between cat and cow pose for at least 20-25 times. In the cat pose video you can see the Yoga instructor doing both the poses together.

Benefits: Helps replenish energy demands, massages and stretches the torso, spine and neck muscles. Improves digestion. (stimulates stomach organs)

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8. Dolphin Pose (Makara Mukha Svanasana)

Dolphin Pose (Makara Mukha Svanasana) - Anne Hungerford
Dolphin Pose (Makara Mukha Svanasana) - Anne Hungerford

Dolphin Pose - Makara Mukha Svanasana a very effective yoga pose in dealing with stress, anxiety, fatigue, back pain and building one's core strength.

To practice dolphin pose - makara mukha svanasana get into table pose by sitting on knees and hands, Make sufficient space between the two knees and instead off using palms of your hand use your elbows to support the table pose by leaning in the front. Now straighten your knees and move your tailbone up while moving your legs inside to balance the pose.

Video: How to do Dolphin Pose (Makara Mukha Svanasana)

During the pose hold your head firmly in-between your arms and slowly get back to your normal posture with an exhale. (duration: 30 sec - 1 min)

Benefits: Relieves stress and anxiety, headache,insomnia, back pain,fatigue, menstrual irregularities, blood pressure, asthma, flat feet, osteoporosis, digestion problems and improves arm and leg strengths

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9. Standing Forward Bend (Uttanasana)

Standing Forward Bend (Uttanasana) an excellent pose to increase height - CareShare
Standing Forward Bend (Uttanasana) an excellent pose to increase height - CareShare

Standing Forward Bend - Uttanasana is an excellent yoga pose to get a complete leg and torso workout and helps stimulates the brain by relieving any type of stress and depression.

To practice standing forward bend - uttanasana stand straight with toes touching each other. Now from the hip joint move your torso towards the legs without bending your waistline. Bring your palms to touch the ground or your toes, in case you can't reach them then cross your arms and hold your elbows or back of your legs.With every exhale slowly stretch your torso even more and using the same get out of the posture. (duration: 1 - 2 mins)

Video: How to do Standing Forward Bend (Uttanasana)

During the pose bend your knees a bit and move your legs slightly inwards for better stretching.

Benefits: Relieves stress and anxiety, headache,insomnia, back pain,fatigue, menstrual irregularities, blood pressure, asthma, flat feet, osteoporosis, digestion problems and improves back and leg strengths

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10. Eagle Pose (Garudasana)

 Eagle Pose (Garudasana) strengthens the overall core of the body - Hannah Franco
Eagle Pose (Garudasana) strengthens the overall core of the body - Hannah Franco

Eagle Pose - Garudasana an excellent yoga pose to increase one's strength, flexibility and concentration. Highly recommended for students.

To practice eagle pose - garudasana stand straight on your feet and bend your knees a bit for the posture. Now lift your left foot up (toes pointing downwards) and balance on your right foot. Place your left foot behind the calf of the right foot and for the arms stretch them forward parallel to the ground and cross them with each other (back of hands facing each other) and bend your elbows to complete the eagle pose. Stay in the pose for about 1 min and keep reversing the legs.

Video: How to do Eagle Pose (Garudasana) with Instructions

During the pose hold the upper hand's thumb with the little finger of the lower hand.

Benefits: Strengthens and stretches the leg and shoulder muscles. Improves concentration and sense of balance.

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Salutation Seal (Anjali Mudra) - Finishing Yoga with Meditation

While Yoga heals the body both physically and mentally, meditation becomes a crucial part in unlocking the parts of the brain that have never been ventured before and tap on to one's cognitive potential.

Salutation seal helps one become one with all their five senses, helping one to remember things instantly, blocks the path to depression and opens the path to solution by making them realize the confidence and potential within.

Salutation Seal (Anjali Mudra) opens your mind and heart to calmness and knowledge by eliminating all types of confusion and stress.- Meg McElwee
Salutation Seal (Anjali Mudra) opens your mind and heart to calmness and knowledge by eliminating all types of confusion and stress.- Meg McElwee

To meditate in salutation seal - Anjali Mudra sit down in a calm and comfortable place and join your hands together resting against your chest. Make sure your elbows are out and not in a resting position. Lean your head slightly while keeping a straight back and start meditating in this pose by imagining a beam of light glowing in your heart while inhaling and dark energy flowing out while exhaling. Keep up the meditative posture for 5 to 10 mins.

Here meditative state's major emphasis is on staying aware with your heart, body, mind, soul through breathing which calms down the mind and opens up the heart.

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Remember never ignore stress because in long run it reduces your productivity and may have permanent damage on your body. As for yoga is concerned it has so many benefits that one article itself can’t express it awesomeness.

However to inspire you a bit I would mention some like improved memory, calmed composure, controlled blood pressure, glowing skin and overall increase in performance of all physical and mental senses. So practice yoga daily for a healthy lifestyle, fit body and a peaceful mind.

Share the yoga spirit with your friends and family and practice whenever and wherever you can with this 30 day yoga challenge to beat stress.

© 2015 Nell

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