10 Yoga Poses for Anxiety Relief (With Pictures)
Anxiety will undoubtedly affect everyone at some point in their life. Whether your anxiety is related to your job, school, or even life at home, yoga poses can help you relax and find inner peace. Try the following simple poses during times of stress to get yourself back on track and avoid stress related illnesses and injuries. Don't put too much pressure on it - remember, the goal of these poses are to relax and soothe your body and mind.
As with any exercise, remember to listen to your body. If you have any contraindications, please talk to your doctor before exercising or practicing yoga.
1) Child's Pose - Balasana
This pose is a comforting pose that can help you feel grounded. Relax in this pose as long as you need until your mind is quiet and you feel peaceful. For even deeper relaxation, try this modification: bring your arms to rest beside your thighs, palms facing up. You can also try resting your head on a block or folded blanket.
2) Standing Forward Bend - Uttanasana
This pose can feel very relaxing due to its inversion properties. Doing this pose several times throughout the day can help you to de-stress and re-gain energy. Don't push yourself too far in this pose - keep it simple for anxiety relief. If you like, use a block to rest your hands/arms/head on to keep your body relaxed.
3) Legs Up The Wall - Viparita Karani
This restorative yoga pose helps you to root your body and let stress drift away. Try staying in this pose for five minutes for stress relief and circulatory benefits. Use blankets or props if you like. A supported version of this pose can be even more relaxing. A weighted eye pillow can also be really nice!
4) Cat/Cow Pose - Marjaryasana/Bitilasana
These two poses, when done together, create a relaxing flow in the body and they help to curb stress. It helps you to bring awareness back to your body and your breathing. For best results, try to flow with the flow using your breath. For relaxation, focus especially on the exhale.
5) Tree Pose - Vrksasana
Anxiety can make us feel like we have no control. A great pose for this feeling is Tree Pose. This grounding pose can help you concentrate on something else, and make you focus on holding your balance. If you find it hard to quiet your mind, give Tree Pose a try, either in the full extension or using your hand to hold your leg as needed.
6) Camel Pose - Ustrasana
Poses that help you open your breath can be very helpful. Camel Pose is a heart-opener that makes you breathe deeply. It can also help you work through difficult emotions to find your calm center. Don't push yourself in this pose, as it is more challenging. Go only as far as you feel comfortable.
7) Fish Pose - Matsyasana
This pose opens your heart both physically and spiritually. It also opens the chest and lungs, allow you to breathe easier and circulate your system with fresh air. By opening the body in this pose, you can remove tension and stress clogs. Because Fish Pose is a heart-opener, be sure not to close off your feelings - acknowledge them as they rise and then try to release them.
8) Reclined Bound Angle Pose - Supta Baddha Konasana
This grounding pose helps to relax and calm your mind. For extra support, you can place pillows or bolsters underneath your knees. Do this pose to relieve both physical and mental tension. This pose is unique, as it helps to relax your muscles in different areas of the body.
9) Bridge Pose - Setu Bandha Sarvangasana
This back bending pose can help you to improve your mood whether you are feeling anxious or down. It helps to calm the mind while providing your body with renewed energy. If you sit at a computer at all, this is a great choice for soothing your mind while energizing your physical body.
10) Corpse Pose - Savasana
Savasana should always be practiced at the end of your yoga routine in order to completely relax and let the poses soak into your body. Allow any remaining anxiety and stress to melt away while you are in savasana. Remember that savasana is not a nap; in this pose, you should still be aware and focused on your breathing and mental state.