Are you wondering how does yoga help with stress and how to practice it the right way? Read more to find out.
If you ask me if yoga is better than any other stress reliever, I will say yes. Yoga came to the rescue in my final year of university when I had a terrifying time dealing with a quarter-life crisis. Yoga helps to deal with stress by connecting your body and mind.
Let me tell you – yoga works better than anything else. I spoke to a therapist; I went cycling, I played badminton, and I also tried wine – none of those was able to drag me out of my darkest time until I knew yoga.
However, not everyone will respond to yoga the same way. High-strung people will find fast-power yoga the most relaxing type. Some will fall in love with the slow-paced style of Yin yoga.
Start With A Five-Minute Rest
Before jumping into any yoga pose, begin with yourself. You want to find a comfortable spot in your house or even your workspace where there is only you; prioritize peace and quietness so you can be uninterrupted.
Focus on your breath and let the moment of stillness cleanse your mind. You can copy my sequence below to get yourself started:
- Sit on the floor or a mat and relax your shoulders.
- Stretch your tailbone and contract your stomach until your head is relaxed.
- Inhale for five seconds while pushing your stomach out.
- Exhale and bring your stomach back to its normal position.
- Repeat this sequence four times or more if you like.
You might also be interested in learning about Reiki yoga.
5 Best Yoga Poses For Stress Relief
1. Butterfly Pose
Also known as Baddha Konasana, the butterfly pose is the most simple pose you can do on the ground whenever you feel anxious. You can begin by tucking both feet close to the groin while the hands are bound together at a particular angle.
Keep your spine straight to allow your tension to drain away. When combined with the healing powers of meditation and breathing techniques, your mind will slowly enter a meditative state and relieve stress.
2. Cow Pose
This pose also goes by the name Bitilasana. When you combine the cow pose and cat pose, you will control your mind through the art of inhaling and exhaling while awakening your spine. Lift your chin and look up to the ceiling while slowly pulling your shoulders away from the ears.
3. Cat Pose
The cat pose and cow pose do the same tricks. By imitating the posture of a cat, your back body slowly opens up while the core is stimulated. While the cow pose concentrates on inhaling, the cat pose focuses on exhaling as you pull your stomach toward your spine and round your back toward the ceiling.
4. Standing Forward Bend
Take your yoga pose up a notch with the Uttanasana pose. Despite the common misbelief, you won’t be touching your toes with your head. Instead, you will stretch your lower, middle, and upper back, move on with the neck and keep your arms behind the back to release shoulder tension.
This pose aims to wake up your hamstrings and soothe the mind.
5. Child’s Pose
This pose comes to the rescue whenever your physical body feels uneasy or your mind is unsettled. Also known as the Balasana pose, the child’s pose begins when you kneel slowly, extend your hands in front of you, relax your torso, give space between the knees, and let your butt touch your heels.
3 Ways Yoga Can Reduce Stress
The core principle of yoga is to unite your body and mind, which is something most of us find imbalanced.
Yoga Deepens Your Breathing
One major benefit of yoga is how it controls your breathing. Breathing exercises can improve the oxygen exchange in your body, reduce blood pressure, and relieve abdominal tension. These movements contribute to the performance of your nervous system and supply your brain with more oxygen to function at its best.
You might also be interested in these perspective-shifting yoga peak poses.
Yoga Hones Your Mindfulness
Practicing breathing the right way also helps with your concentration. You will learn to focus on the present and steer clear of digital buzz. Even the easiest poses, such as a butterfly pose, train you to sit in peace and be in the moment.
Yoga Improves Sleep
Yoga can help you manage insomnia and fall asleep faster by stimulating the vagus nerve through breathing. During a good night's sleep, your brain has enough time to prepare for another stressful day.
Yoga Nidra is similar to meditation yet not identical. Also known as yogic sleep, Yoga Nidra helps establish a meditation process you can do under the guidance of a teacher. The point of Yoga Nidra is to promote deep relaxation by lying down and entering a deep state of conscious awareness sleep.
If you liked this post, you might be interested in our explainer on does yoga help with anxiety?