In this busy world that we live in with our never-ending to-do lists, it’s now, even more important to prioritise time for ourselves to reset, restore and reinvigorate our minds and bodies. We find Yoga to be the best for stress relief, and yes, there are best yoga poses for stress relief… we’ve shared them below!
We don’t need to research to tell you we feel less stressed after our yoga practise, we are proof in the pudding! We go in stressed, wired and anxious and leave feeling grounded, peaceful and relieved. BUUUT we did some research anyway because #facts are fun.
During our research, we found Doctors, Psychologists, Naturopaths and Nutritionists who all agree that Yoga helps with stress management.
Lynda Lawrence, our Naturopath friend says “Yoga can help to reduce stress and when the student is committed, it can help you become more present, less reactive and less attached to the stories/drama that concern you.”
We also found that there is a rise in Yoga Therapy. Where yogic based movements and practices are being prescribed to help with insomnia, anxiety, depression, neuromuscular problems, cardiovascular disease and even cancer patients. They’ve seen stress levels of patients who practice Yoga while going through treatment much lower than patients who don’t.
“I see a bright future where yoga and other mind-body practices become more accepted within standard medical care…” – Lorenzo Cohen, PhD, professor and director of the Integrative Medicine Program at MD Anderson Cancer Center
So we know that Yoga reduces stress AND there are best yoga poses for stress relief to practise. When we did our 21 Days of Yoga Challenge at the start of the year (which turned into a 50 day challenge because we felt so good) we felt like we could handle all of life’s situations and moments with more patience, kindness and love.
That’s why we’re running a our 21 Days of Yoga Challenge inside MerryBody Online Studio (we start TOMORROW!), all members get access to the challenge! There is still time to join right here!
We encourage you to try out these 10 Yoga poses and THEN get back to us with your personal experience.
Did you feel less stressed after the Yoga poses?
How was your mind before and after the Yoga poses?
How was your life moments after practising the Yoga poses?
We’d love to know! You can reach out on Instagram or Facebook and tell us all about it!
10 best yoga poses for stress relief
Follow these best yoga poses for stress relief, really focus on steadying the breath. Breathe in through the nose and out through the nose. See if you can either keep your inhale and exhale to an even count OR extend the exhale slightly. The extension of the exhale will take you into even more relaxation.
Thunderbolt pose (Vajrasana)
Start on your knees. Toes can be tucked or untucked. Knees are together. As you inhale take the arms wide, as you exhale cross right elbow under left, continue to wrap the forearms like a piece of rope, try to connect the palms. Inhale lift the elbows high and the hands away from the face, exhale relax the shoulders. Hold for 5 breaths, then repeat with the other side.
Kneeling cat/cow breath
This pose feels SO GOOD! From Vajrasana, release the hands to the knees. Inhale arch the spine, look up toward the sky, shine your heart.
Exhale curl the spine, tuck the chin, gaze goes toward the belly button. Repeat 3-5 times.
Forward fold (Uttanasana) with arms over the head
Start with your feet hip distance, make one big fist behind your booty. Inhale lengthen the arms, shine the heart, then exhale forward fold hinging from the hips, allowing the arms to fall over the head. Try to press the palms together. Hold for 10 breaths.
Forward fold (Uttanasana) rag doll
From the previous position (Uttanasana arms over head), inhale release the arms to the Earth, grab opposite elbow with the opposite hand, exhale and allow the torso to swing. Relax the head and shoulders. Hold for 10 breaths.
Eagle Pose (Garudasana)
Bring your right thigh over your left thigh, continue to wrap your right foot around your left calf. Sit low in the booty. Squeeze the inner thighs together. Inhale open your arms to shoulder height, exhale take right elbow under left, keep wrapping the forearms and connect the palms (just like we did with Vajrasana!). Find one point of focus and balance, this helps to calm the mind and de-stress the body. Hold for 5 breaths each side.
Wide forward fold with arms overhead (Prasarita Padottanasana)
Standing up, feet are wider than shoulders, pigeon toe the feet. Inhale make one big fist behind your booty, lengthen the arms, open the heart. Exhale forward fold, hinging from the hips, allow the arms to fall over the head. Try to connect the palms (if you can’t, release the pointer finger and thumb to create more space). Hold for 10 breaths.
Garland Pose (Malasana)
Standing up, feet are shoulder distance apart, the toes point out now. Inhale raise the arms above the head, palms connect. Exhale sit the booty all the way down toward the Earth, bring elbows to inner thighs. Press the knees open. Squeeze the booty. Relax the shoulders. Gaze at the horizon. If your heels don’t stay on the Earth, you can simply stay higher in the squat and bring elbows to thighs. Hold for 5 breaths.
Childs Pose (Balasana)
Kneeling on the Earth, knees are together or can be wide, bring the toes to touch. Inhale lengthen the spine, exhale melt over the thighs, allow the arms to reach forward. Bring your third eye (space between the eye brows) to the Earth. Relax the shoulders. Hold for 10 breaths.
Happy baby pose (Ananda Balasana)
Bend the knees into the chest, take hold of the inside or the outside of the soles of the feet. Allow the knees to fall down toward the Earth outside the ribs. At the same time, gently press the base of the spine back down into the Earth. Check in with the neck that it’s nice and long. Release tension from the shoulders. Hold for 10 breaths, you can add a gentle rock of the baby too (that feels so nice on the lower back!).
Savasana (aka the best pose ever)
Lie on the Earth. The feet will fall out, the arms to the side with the palms facing up. Gently tuck each shoulder blade. Gently tuck the chin so the back of the neck lengthens. Close the eyes, release any tension. Feel the body completely relax. Stay here for 7-15 minutes.
All of these Yoga poses are from our Quick 10 De-Stress Yoga flow which is Day 21 of our Yoga Challenge that we’re running inside MerryBody Online Studio!
If you’ve had an inkling to try Yoga, now is the perfect time. Let us guide you and share the magic of Yoga with you. See for yourself, how this ancient practise can de-stress the mind, body and heart.
We will leave you with this…
“The state of the mind and that of the body are intimately related. If the mind is relaxed, the muscles in the body will also be relaxed. Stress produces a state of physical and mental tension. Yoga, developed thousands of years ago, is recognized as a form of mind-body medicine. In yoga, physical postures and breathing exercises improve muscle strength, flexibility, blood circulation and oxygen uptake as well as hormone function.
In addition, the relaxation induced by meditation helps to stabilize the autonomic nervous system with a tendency towards parasympathetic dominance. Physiological benefits which follow, help yoga practitioners become more resilient to stressful conditions and reduce a variety of important risk factors for various diseases, especially cardio-respiratory diseases.” – Parshad O, West Indian Medical Journal, 2004
We’re so excited to share these poses with you, if you try them out… be sure to let us know!
Emma + Carla