Do These 9 Yoga Poses for Stress Relief Any Time of Day
According to Emms, “Yoga helps to maintain a constant focus, calm and relax your mind, release stress and sculpt the body.” Her method and ethos is to promote well-being through a creative sequence of asanas, allowing her students to build core strength and improve flexibility.
Try the following poses next time you feel frazzled and want to restore your mind-body connection.
9 yoga poses to manage stress levels
Child’s pose is “a resting posture that quiets the mind, eases stress and benefits the nervous system,” Emms said.
How to do it: Kneel on yoga mat with knees to mat width distance, sitting on back of heels. Hinge forward until your chest rests on the floor and forehead rests on the mat. Hold for five breaths.
This pose gently stretches the inner groin area and the back of the spine, Emms explains. It also calms the brain and relieves from fatigue and stress.
How to do it: Lie on your back. As you exhale, bend your knees into the body. Grip the outside of your feet and draw your feet into your hands. Allow your feet to push back into hands. Hold for five breaths.
“This posture, along with cow pose, gently warms up the spine while relieving stress and calming the mind,” Emms said.
How to do it: Begin on all fours. Inhale and draw chin to chest, curling the spine. Draw your belly button up toward the spine.
This pose calms the brain and can help manage fatigue and headaches, per Emms.
How to do it: Begin seated with one leg extended. Bend your left leg, with the sole of your foot to the upper inside right thigh. Place both hands to the side of the right leg or around the right foot. Exhale into forward fold. Hold for five breaths and repeat on the other side.
“This pose helps stress reduction and renews blood and lymphatic drainage back into the heart area,” Emms said.
How to do it: Sit with hips against the wall and roll onto your back, taking legs up the wall. The bottom should be pressed as close to the wall as possible. Hold for five breaths.
“This pose stretches the hamstrings, thighs and hips,” Emms said.
How to do it: From standing, exhale forward and bend your knees to bring your chest to thighs. Grab onto opposite elbows and feel the spine stretch in opposite directions as the head pulls down and in. Press hips up and straighten legs to deepen. Hold for five breaths.
Pigeon pose “releases tension around the hip area and tension in the body,” Emms said.
How to do it: On an inhale, come onto your fingertips, lengthen the spine and open the heart. As you exhale, draw navel in and walk hands forward, lowering your upper body toward the floor. Stay for five breaths.
“Twists refresh blood flow to essential organs and boost immunity. They’re also great for stress release,” Emms said.
How to do it: Start with your legs straight out in front of you. Bend your knees to bring the right foot close to the left hip and left foot flat on the floor outside the right thigh. Sit tall, inhale and, as you exhale, twist deeper. Hold for five breaths.
“This is a great grounding posture to ease out tension in the neck and allow for a general stretch to the whole spine,” Emms said.
How to do it: Sit on the mat and bring the soles of your feet together. Allow your knees to drop to the sides. Inhale, open your chest and exhale as you fold forward so your forehead comes to meet your feet. Hold for five breaths.
Marina Emms is a London-based yoga teacher who specializes in yin and vinyasa yoga. She qualified with Yoga London and has been practicing for over 10 years. When she is not practicing yoga, Marina spends all of her time with her 2-year-old son and partner exploring parks and the English countryside. Follow her on Instagram.
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