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5 Yoga Poses to Help You Manage Stress

Currently, anxiety has become an epidemic – many people experience burnout and stress during work and school. Managing anxiety is complex and there are many ways to mindfully process our emotions.

One practical way to manage anxiety is through yoga. Below are 5 poses to help you feel more grounded and find your sense of ease.

1. Child’s Pose

This pose is extremely grounding and allows you to feel connected to yourself and the earth. Resting your forehead against something is very calming. Many people use this pose during a yoga class when they are in need of a rest during the practice. Child’s pose releases tension in the shoulders, neck, and back – this is where many people hold tension from their stress.

To get into child’s pose – start on your hands and knees or “table top” pose. Walk your knees outward, about as wide as the mat and touch your big toes together. Gently shift your hips back towards your heels, letting your torso rest between your legs, and lower your forehead on the mat allowing your arms rest in front of you on the mat. Stay in this pose as long as you’d like, take your time to find comfort and ease. To release, slowly come back into a table top on your hands and knees.

2. Laying Down Butterfly Pose

While lying on your back, place one hand on your stomach and one hand on your heart. Bring the palms of your feet to touch and let your knees fall open. You can rest your knees on a cushion or some blocks for more support. Resting your hands on your chest and stomach give you a sense of grounding. The calming sense of the weight of your hands will allow you to relax and connect to yourself.

Stay in this pose as long as you’d like to find ease and comfort. To release from this pose – slowly bring your knees together and roll over onto your right side, using your right arm as a pillow. Then gently lift yourself up into a seated position.

3. Deer Pose

Twists are detoxifying, allowing you to release and unwind. This pose is cathartic, giving you space to let go and renew.

Sitting on your mat with your legs to your side like a “mermaid”, place a cushion or bolster close to your right hip. Reach your arms up to lengthen your spine then turn towards the cushion to place one hand on each side of the cushion slowly lowering your torso on to the cushion. You can face towards your knees or away from them for a deeper twist. Stay in the pose as long as you feel comfortable and make any adjustments, repeat on the other side. To come out of the pose – slowly walk your hands underneath your shoulders and lift your body off of the bolster.

4. Forward Fold

Folding brings a sense of rest and calm. This pose slows down your heart rate and immediately calms and body and mind.

Standing with your feet hip-width apart, slowly fold your torso over your legs, letting your head gently hang. Grab onto your elbows or cross your arms to let your body hang as well. You can sway softly here and find grounding and ease. If you have low blood pressure, make sure to slowly roll up from this pose. To come out of the pose, slowly roll up to standing, vertebra by vertebra until you are standing up straight.

5. Legs Up the Wall

This pose drains the fluid from your legs downward creating balance. The act of resting your back on the floor is grounding and lowers blood pressure.

Laying on the ground near a wall, shift towards the wall so that your sits bones are resting against the wall. Then walk your legs up the wall so that they are straight or slightly bent – resting your feet on the wall. You can widen your legs or keep them closer together. You can close your eyes with one hand on your heart and one hand on your stomach to rest. To come out of the pose – slowly lower your legs to one side and roll onto one side and come up onto your hands and knees.

There are many other yoga poses that work for different abilities that can help manage stress and anxiety. Yoga is very cathartic and helps people process their emotions through contemplation and movement.

Taking the time for yourself to focus on your body and clear your mind is a great way to manage anxiety. Yoga is one of the best tools for mental health whether it’s a home practice, private session, or a group class.

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