21 Stress Relieving Yoga Poses
Use these stress-relieving yoga poses daily or on a regular basis. These yoga poses can help calm the mind and the system acutely (in the moment) and help you achieve your stress-reduction goals. You don’t need to be a dedicated yogi to execute them, every little bit helps (especially in addition with these healthy habits!)! Using yoga for stress can help improve your health, your waistline and your sanity.
Can you do yoga poses to help relieve stress and anxiety? Of course! All of the stress-relieving yoga poses below are geared towards reducing daily stress- mentally and physically. While the poses use a variety of equipment, don’t be intimidated! These poses are helpful for all levels and can be done with a variety of intensities.
Use them individually as per your preference or you can choose 5-7 poses and create a mini flow sequence to do before bed.
Stress Relieving Yoga Poses
Since I’m not a certified yoga instructor, I brought in my good friend Martina Biljan a Holistic Nutritionist (and my own personal yoga instructor!) to give you some guidance on the best poses for stress relief!
- Standing with your feet hip-width distance apart, and firmly planted into the mat.
- Stack your hips over your heels, and your shoulders over your hips.
- Take your arms beside you, palms facing forward.
- Close your eyes, and imagine roots growing from the bottoms of your feet down into the center of the earth, while the crown of your head guides up towards the sky.
Standing wide-legged pose
- You will need a wheel
- Place your yoga wheel in front of your yoga mat (long side), about a foot away from you
- Standing with your feet wider than hip-width apart facing the side, outside edges of the feet parallel to the sides of your yoga mat
- Take your hands to your hips, and gently guide your tailbone down as you lift the center of your chest up to the sky on your inhale.
- As you exhale, hinge from the hips towards the floor.
- Reach your hands for the yoga wheel. Roll the wheel closer or further away from you to deepen the stretch and stay there for a round of breaths.
- Standing on your mat, hands on your hips.
- Shift your weight to your first foot, engaging your standing glute.
- Take the soul of your opposite foot either to your ankle (toe touching the mat), to your calf, or to your inner thigh, allowing the knee to open to the side.
- Make sure you don’t put your foot on to the knee joint.
- Bring your hands to heart center, and breath in the balance.
- It’s cool if you tip over – we all do it!
- Coming from tabletop on your mat, wrists under the shoulders, and knees under the hips.
- Find a neutral spine with our tail tucked to the back wall, and crown of the head forward.
- Tuck the toes under, and lift the hips up to the sky.
- Allow the heels to be heavy and the hands firmly planted into the mat.
- Guide your chest back to your thighs and the head to be heavy, creating a triangle.
- Make sure to take a soft bend in the knees, and free up the head and the neck from the shoulders. Breathe.
Dynamic Wide-Legged Forward Fold
- Seated on the mat, widen your legs to a comfortable place for your hips and inner thighs.
- Place the wheel directly in front of you with your hands on it.
- Begin to roll the wheel away from you and back in, breathing as you exhale away, inhale bring the wheel in.
- Play around with distance, comfort, and stillness.
- Seated on the mat, take one shin parallel to the front edge of your mat.
- Place the hands into the mat and lift yourself up, until the weight is in your hands and your front shin.
- Place the block under the glute of that bent leg, so you are sitting into it.
- Start to extend the opposite leg directly behind the respective legs’ shoulder.
- Shift yourself so your hips are even beside each other and adjust the block.
- Fold forward towards the floor. Use a block or wheel to rest your head onto.
Easy pose – seated cross-legged (meditation)
- Sit tall onto the mat, or a block.
- Cross your legs, like a kid in school. If on the block, the feet will be on the floor.
- Make sure your spine stays strong, and your face and shoulders relaxed.
- Take this against the wall, if you’re finding it hard to stay upright.
- With time and strength, it will become easier to stay seated.
- Use this position for breathing exercises and meditation.
- Coming from table-top on your mat. Hands shoulder-width apart, knees under your hips.
- Twist to feed one arm under the other, through the keyhole of your supported arm, torse, and thigh.
- Keep your hips stacked over your knees.
- Bring the working arms’ ear either to the mat, or on to a block.
- Let the fingers relax and breathe in your twist.
- Lying on your back bend one knee towards your chest.
- Place the wheel under the calf of the bent leg, and roll it forward until the leg is extended, or keep it bent so your knee is at 90 degrees.
- Allow that leg to rest completely and the hips to let go into the mat.
Supported side bend with supported
- Seated in mermaid position with one shin forward, and the other wrapped around to the back.
- Start by tipping over to the side body on the same side as your front leg, laying on the ground so that your ribs are towards the earth, and the opposite ribs are up to the sky.
- Rest your head on a block, and allow the opposite arm to rest over the head, or alongside you.
- Sit with your legs crossed.
- If your hips are really tight, stay here. If not, stack your chins in front of one another. Or, stack them right on top of one another.
- Use a block, if needed, between the top knee and bottom foot.
- You can use a wheel in front of you to rest your head on as you hinge forward. Or, use a block to rest your head-on.
Elevated and Supported Childs’ Pose
- On your mat, with your toes together, knees apart, place the wheel in front of you.
- Take your chest and forehead to the wheel in front of you.
- Allow the belly and chest to fall between the thighs, towards the ground.
- You can roll the wheel to the perfect spot for you, but keep the hips towards the heels.
Any forward fold – standing or sitting
- Have your feet hip-width distance apart, either standing or seated.
- Do this one with the knees softly bent. Don’t lockout.
- Allow your body to fold forward towards the ground, and waterfall downwards.
- You can also use a strap to loop around the bottom of your feet for an added stretch.
- If you are super tight, but a block underneath your knees (seated). Or, a block on your thighs between your belly and legs, and fold forward.
Bound angle – seated or reclining
- Sitting on your mat, join the souls of your feet together in front of your body, and allow your knees to fall open.
- Make sure you aren’t gripping at your hips. If you are, move your feet further away from your body.
- If hips are really tight, put a block underneath either the knees.
- Fold forward towards your feet, or lay back on your mat.
Supported bridge pose
- Laying on your back with your feet hip-width distance apart, and the feet flat.
- Engage the glutes as you lift your hips up to the sky.
- Slide the block underneath your glutes or sacrum. Choose whichever level of the block feels good for you to open up the heart.
- Make sure the block is nowhere near your lower back, or the small of the back.
- Allow your hips to be heavy into the block.
Supported Shoulder Stand
- Lying on the mat with your knees bent.
- Lift your hips and place your block under your sacrum, or hips, making it is not under the small of your back.
- Float your legs up directly above your hips, so your feet are up to the sky. You can bend your knees as much as you need
Legs on the couch/chair reclining
- Lying on your back with your hips flush to the couch or chair.
- Swing the legs until the back of the thighs are parallel to your chair, legs up in the air
- Bend the knees so your calves rest on the seated part of the chair and breathe.
Legs up the wall
- Sit on your mat with one hip closest to the wall.
- Rollover to the side away from the wall, and swing your legs up so they are flush with the wall.
- Allow the legs to be softly bent, or join the souls of the feet together.
- Try to get your hips/glutes right beside the wall.
- Stay as long as you like!
Reclining spinal twist
- Lying on the mat, bring one knee into your chest. Allow the other knee to stay heavy on the ground.
- Take your opposite hand to the thigh. Ie. If you brought your right knee in, your left hand would connect to the right thigh.
- Allow your left hand to guide that thigh over and across the opposite side of the body towards the mat.
- Extend your right arm directly from the shoulder.
- Repeat on the other side.
- Lying on your mat on your back, bring the knees into your chest.
- Guide the knees to the outside of your shoulders, or ribcage.
- Send the souls of the feet towards the sky.
- Hold onto the feet, shins or thighs as you allow the lower back to let go.
The Ultimate Stress-Relieving Yoga Pose -Savasana
- The most important and also most difficult pose of all!
- It looks so simple, as it translates to ‘corpse’ pose.
- This is how all yoga classes end.
- Lay on the mat with your feet a bit wider than hip-width, and your arms extended just alongside your torso. Palms up to the sky.
- Relish in your hard work, and enjoy this relaxing meditation.
- Most importantly, breathe!
Stress Relieving Yoga Poses- Tools
I’m not a dedicated yogi- but I do use these stress-relieving poses weekly to help reduce anxiety (I also use these stress-relieving bath bombs).
And when it comes to tools, I like to grab my yoga equipment from prosourcefit.com (use code mamabearfit to save some money!)- my favorite pieces are probably the yoga blocks. They tend to be used in my favorite poses?
- Yoga Mat – the bare minimum when it comes to using yoga to reduce stress and anxiety
- Blocks For Yoga – helpful for beginners to elevate more intense poses and make them easier
- Yoga Straps – great for getting a deeper stretch and working within your breath
- Yoga Wheel – perfect to open up the chest and stretch the back