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6 Yoga Poses to Lower Stress

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Oswego chapter.

Feeling tense? Practicing yoga can be a natural stress reliever, lowering symptoms of anxiety and depression. By transferring focus to the body and breath, movement can help temper anxiety while also releasing physical tension.

“Yoga helps our entire system slow down,” ViraYoga founder Elena Brower said. “Our bodies are programmed to heal naturally, and what stops that healing are all the stressors of daily life. Yoga dissolves those stressors for the time during practice and usually the effects last for hours after.”

When you start feeling anxious, follow these six easy yoga poses to decrease your stress level.

1. Child’s Pose

An essential resting position in yoga practice involves sitting on the knees and bending forward with arms in front or by the sides of the body creating comfort. “Child’s pose helps us turn inside and slow our minds down,” Brower said.


2. Half Moon Pose

Quiet your mind and develop focus with this pose. Raise one leg 90 degrees with one hand on the floor and the other straight in the air to keep balance. “Balancing poses take our attention off the mind and into the body,” Brower said.

3. Supported Shoulder Stand

According to wellness expert Dr. Terri Kennedy, inversions like headstand and shoulder stand can help you get out of the “monkey mind” by putting you in a different position than your normal life. Position both shoulders on the ground with feet straight in the air and place hands on the back for support.


4. Standing Forward Bend

Forward bends are excellent for calming our nervous system, according to Brower. The position provides a release of the upper body and soothes the mind through gentle inversion during practice or between poses.


5. Fish Pose

“Yoga Journal” recommends this pose for fatigue and anxiety relief, as well as gentle back and shoulder stretching. Place legs stretched forward, while hands are underneath the lower back, and arch your chest toward the ceiling. If experiencing discomfort, place a thickly folded blanket beneath the head for neck support. 

6. Corpse Pose

At the end of your practice, try lying down flat on your back with arms at your sides focusing on your breath for 10 minutes. “Corpse is the ultimate in terms of relaxation. It’s easier to tune into your breath when watching the belly rise and fall,” Kennedy said.

Stress adds more problems to life, especially when there are multiple things to do with not enough time in the day. When you find yourself in an overwhelming state, just breathe and try one or more of these easy-to-do poses to slow everything down. This, in turn, could lead to the desire to make your own yoga practice and try new, challenging poses in the future.