Anxiety is one of the most common mental illnesses in the US, with more than 40 million adults experiencing some form or another. Yoga is known for calming the mind and relaxing the body, and according to Mayo Clinic, you can do yoga for anxiety relief. Their research found that combining yoga poses (asana), breathing (pranayama) and meditation to develop a yoga practice can help reduce anxiety, lower heart rate and reduce risk factors for chronic conditions like heart disease, depression and anxiety.
Practice these yoga poses to relieve anxiety and stress.
1. Corpse Pose (Savasana)
Incorporating Corpse Pose into your yoga for anxiety and stress practice helps you prioritize rest and meditation. Savasana calms your fight or flight response and activates your parasympathetic nervous system which calms your body by lowering blood pressure and slowing heart rate.
2. Child’s Pose (Balasana)
Similarly, Child’s Pose helps relieve anxiety by calming the nervous system. Relax your body and try letting go of the tension in your neck and back to get the most out of this asana.
3. Warrior II (Virabhadrasana II)
Warrior II Pose is an active pose that requires strength in the legs and core. Anxiety is caused by a multitude of factors but one of the most common is fear. Unlike many passive yoga anxiety poses, Warrior II helps build strength and courage in the face of uncertainty.
4. Upward Salute (Urdhva Hastasana)
The beauty of Upward Salute Pose is that it can be done anywhere, anytime. Feeling stressed and anxious often makes us want to close up and get small. Upward Salute combats anxiety by doing the exact opposite. Stand tall, reach into the sky and stretch from your toes to your crown.
5. Legs Up The Wall Pose (Viparita Karani)
Legs Up The Wall is a beginner inversion that subtly brings the heart higher than the head, increasing blood flow to the brain. This passive yoga anxiety pose can be done in the comfort of your home when you feel anxiety creeping in.
6. Bridge Pose (Setu Bandha Sarvangasana)
Bridge Pose works wonder for anxiety as both an inversion and heart opener. This pose creates extra space in your diaphragm, chest and throat, making it easier to breath. Place a block under your sacrum for added support.
7. Crocodile Pose (Makarasana)
Exchange anxious feelings of vulnerability with security in Crocodile Pose. This prone pose allows for complete relaxation with your belly and head resting on the ground.
8. Downward-Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana)
Downward-Facing Dog is a beginner inversion that stretches the entire body while expanding the chest for better breathing.
9. Plow Pose (Halasana)
Try Plow Pose for when you’re feeling despondent. It energizes the whole body and lifts your spirits. Plus, it can be done on your bed!
10. Bow Pose (Dhanurasana)
Bow Pose helps relieve anxiety by stretching your entire front body (opening your heart) while engaging your back muscles. It’s also known to help with posture and headaches.
11. Supported Shoulder Stand (Salamba Sarvangasana)
Salamba Sarvangasana literally translates to “all organs” and this pose helps with anxiety by refreshing the entire body and mind. This inversion for beginners is a nice complement on the way into Plow pose.
12. Easy Pose (Sukhasana)
Combine Easy Pose with diaphragmatic breathing for an intense awareness of what’s going on inside you. Use this pose for meditation and to try to find the source of your anxiety.
13. Fish Pose (Matsyasana)
You’ve probably noticed that yoga for anxiety often includes heart openers, and Fish Pose is no exception. This deep heart opener helps facilitate emotional release as it opens up your chest and throat—places many people carry a lot of tension from anxiety.