Disclaimer: The author of this article is not a professional yoga trainer or medical professional. These yoga positions are only general recommendations. Always check with your doctor before doing any workout or yoga routine.
Throughout my pursuit of a calmer mind, I’ve found that yoga has been incredibly helpful when it comes to dealing with anxiety. Here are 10 yoga poses to integrate into your flow to help soothe stress and calm anxiety.
Cat + cow
This is a great sequence to wake up your body and start establishing movement in rhythm with one’s breath. This also helps me create a greater sense of awareness and attention to my body. Doing cat-cow can also be extremely grounding so I’ve found it to be really soothing and helpful when I’m anxious.
Another grounding pose, melting heart is helpful in soothing stress as it is a great stretch for upper body shoulder and neck tension. This pose also involves pressing one’s forehead to the ground, which is also quite soothing.
Child’s pose is my favorite resting pose because it is such a comfortable, safe-feeling position. This is a great pose for when you are feeling anxious or overwhelmed.
Before I started doing yoga, I had no idea how much anxious energy I was storing in my hips. Using this reclined position to introduce movement and start to gently open up your hips can be a great way to release anxious tension.
Stacked shin folds
On the topic of opening up hips, doing stacked shin folds can also help achieve this goal. Taking it slow and steadily going deeper into this stretch by leaning forward gradually toward a resting position can be a deep but well-needed stretch for anxious people.
Continuing to work on the hips, the butterfly probably brings you back to elementary school P.E. class but it can be a seriously helpful stretch to relieve and release tensions in your hips by simply fluttering your legs like butterfly wings. Maybe that flashback to elementary school is a way to connect to and bring out the non-anxious child in you.
While opening up the tensions in your hips, the yogi squat is a great pose to help combat anxious feelings because it also has a very strong feeling of grounding, which I feel is best to pursue when feeling frazzled or anxious. This pose is great to feel the way your body can balance and help you feel more connected to earth and yourself.
Another extremely grounding pose is mountain pose. For me, this pose feels like a power pose in a way in that you are able to ground yourself into all four corners of your feet, stand tall, and receive energy with outfacing palms, or even take a variation that feels more nurturing. For you, this may look like hands folded by your heart, or whatever other placement that makes you feel most comfortable.
Happy baby is a great pose for relieving anxiety because you can introduce movement into a gentile hip opener. It can be extra soothing because you are reclined in this position and it can feel nice to have your whole back body supported by the earth but also because, with movement, you are able to massage your lower back. This spot can also hold a lot of anxious tension so it’s always great to relieve it.
Corpse pose is the ultimate relaxing position, though I find it can be relatively difficult to find a calm mind in Corpse pose if I do it toward or at the beginning of my practice. Instead, I like to save this pose for the final shape in my yoga session, so that my tensions are all released, and I have established a deep breath and at least sort of cleared my mind. Once you have a good buildup, corpse pose can work wonders and feel amazingly relaxing.
If you’re looking for a full yoga sequence with all of the best yoga poses for anxiety, I recommend this one!
What do you think are the best yoga poses for anxiety? What other activities help with your stress and anxiety? Let us know in the comments.