All of us should have our own little tricks to help us stay balanced when life seems to get the best of us, and one of the best is practicing yoga poses to reduce anxiety. By transferring your focus to your body and breath, this ancient practice can help you slow down your entire system, calming your mind and releasing physical tension. Without further ado, here are 7 great yoga poses to reduce anxiety that can help you get through difficult times:
One of the best yoga poses to reduce anxiety is Savasana. This is often done at the end of the practice, but you can turn to it anytime you're feeling overwhelmed. Lie flat on your back and tuck your pelvis in, slightly scooping your tailbone up, to lengthen your back. Close your eyes and spread your arms by your side with the palms facing up. Quiet your mind, relax your whole body and focus on your breath, allowing yourself to melt deeper into the mat as you breathe out.
My personal favorite yoga pose for anxiety, Utthita Balasana stretches your spine, knees and hips, relieving tension in the whole body and helping your mind relax. Start in the tabletop position (on all fours), walk your palms a little bit forward and bring your big toes together. Bring your knees out to the edges of your mat, and send your sit bones back to touch your heels, creating space in the side body. Breathe in and, on the exhale, melt your upper body all the way down, relaxing the elbows and letting your forehead rest on the mat.
Ardha Chandrasana is a balancing pose that promotes focused awareness and quiets the mind, taking your attention off your thoughts and into your body. The posture implies staying on one leg, keeping the other raised parallel to the ground. One hand rests on the floor or on a yoga block (your LOTR book series can work too), while the other reaches up towards the sky.
If you are a beginner or the Half Moon pose seems a bit too challenging for you, you might want to try the Vrksasana, another one of the great balancing yoga poses to reduce anxiety. It implies standing on one leg, with the sole of the other one pressed against the inner thigh and the palms pressed together above your head. The Tree pose will induce concentration and help calm a racing mind, forcing you to focus your attention on your body. If your mind starts wondering, you'll notice it immediately, as you'll likely fall over.
Inversions like the Shoulder Stand can help you turn things upside down not only literally – it will allow you to escape your "monkey mind", throwing a new light on behavioral and psychological problems and relieving stress and anxiety. Besides this, it also improves mental power and positively influences your cardiovascular and endocrine system. Warning: beginners should best avoid attempting this pose without supervision.
Bitilasana is a gentle and easy yoga pose that can reduce stress and anxiety. It is usually combined with Cat Pose (Marjaryasana) on the exhale, creating a flowing, gentle vinyasa. Besides helping you calm your mind, this posture is also great for stimulating the organs in your belly, benefiting overall health. For proper alignment, place your knees under your hips and make sure your wrists are directly under your shoulders.
This is one of the more challenging yoga poses to reduce anxiety as besides great balance, it also requires flexibility. If you have knee injuries or are an absolute beginner, it is recommended to avoid the Eagle Pose or perform a simpler variation of it. Garudasana improves mental balance and concentration, helping you keep your mind off the things that are worrying you, and it is also a good relief for those suffering from lower back pain.
These are some of my favorite yoga poses that reduce anxiety. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do. Have you tried any of them? How did you feel afterwards?
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