Is yoga an amazing all-over workout? Heck yes! But that’s only one benefit. Yoga combines exercise with meditative movements and breathing. That makes it a great way to reduce anxiety, stress, and depression.
If you’re new to YogiLife, don’t worry. We created a list of the best yoga poses to help you calm down. Here’s how to get started.
Best yoga poses for anxiety
Yoga poses are usually arranged in an order that flows from pose to pose. It’s really about what feels best for you.
After some trial and error, you’ll find poses and sequences that you enjoy more than others. Experiment and keep an open mind as you breathe your way through your next yoga session.
1. Channel-Cleaning Breath (Nadhi Shodhana)
Some yogis consider this more prep than pose, but it’s a perfect way to bring focus (and oxygen) to your brain.
You can do this breathing technique while sitting in a chair or cross-legged on the floor. Try to get comfortable, take two or three deep breaths in through your nose, and exhale through your mouth.
Once you’ve settled in, use your right thumb to close your right nostril. Inhale through your left nostril. Then, open your right nostril and close your left one (use your ring finger). Exhale through your right nostril, inhale, and switch sides. Repeat this pattern for several breaths.
2.Child’s Pose (Balasana)
Kneel on the floor with big toes touching. Open knees to hip width. Sit on your heels and exhale as you bring torso down between thighs. Lengthen the back of your neck to maintain a stretch in your spine.
Hands and arms should rest at your sides or next to your torso. Relax shoulders and let gravity pull them toward the floor. You can stay here for 30 seconds or as long as it feels good.
3. Big Toe Pose (Padangusthasana)
Stand on a mat with feet 6 inches apart. Flex quadriceps (front thigh muscles) to lift kneecaps. Exhale and fold at your waist. Be sure to keep your back, neck, and head in a straight line. Grab big toes with index finger, middle finger, and thumb of each hand. Press big toes into the floor to secure the hold.
On an inhale, straighten your arms and raise your torso to gently release your hamstrings. On the exhale, fold back down into the forward bend. Continue this pattern for several breaths.
Pro tip: If you can’t touch your toes, use a strap under your big toe.
4. Cat Pose (Marjaryasana)
This pose and the next one (Cow Pose) work well together. Both stretch your spine and your abdominal muscles.
Start in a tabletop position (on hands and knees) with knees directly below hips and hands below shoulders. Keep head and neck neutral and your gaze on the floor.
On an exhale, round your spine but keep shoulders and hips in position as much as possible to stretch the muscles around your spine. Release your neck, but don’t tuck chin to chest. As you inhale, return to the starting position.
You can repeat Cat Pose or move directly into Cow Pose to alternately stretch your abdominal muscles.
5. Cow Pose (Bitilasana)
Start in a tabletop position with knees directly below hips and hands below shoulders. Keep head and neck neutral and your gaze on the floor.
On an inhale, lift chest and sitz bones toward the ceiling. Your belly should sink toward the floor as you lift your head into a forward gaze.
As you exhale, return to the neutral starting position or transition into Cat Pose.
6. Bridge Pose (Setubandha)
Lie faceup with knees bent and heels hip-width apart. Place heels directly under knees and arms at your sides with palms on the floor. If you don’t have a mat or if your neck and shoulders are sensitive, place a folded towel or blanket under your shoulders.
As you exhale, press through heels and inner feet. Raise hips toward the ceiling. Continue to raise hips until thighs are almost parallel with the floor. Extend through arms as you clasp hands beneath pelvis.
Lift chin away from chest. Press your sternum toward the ceiling and broaden your shoulder blades. Try to create a small lifted space between shoulder blades as you reach sternum to the ceiling.
Hold for up to 1 minute. Exhale on the release and roll your spine gently back to the floor.
7. Camel Pose (Ustrasana)
Camel Pose acts as an energy booster. But go slowly until you develop the flexibility and strength to fully hold the pose. This helps prevent injury.
Kneel on the floor with knees hip-width apart. Create a slight inward rotation of your thighs as you gently flex your glutes. Press tops of feet and shins into the floor. Place hands on the back of your hips/pelvis. Keep front of thighs pressed back as you press pelvis forward. Don’t go too far and put stress on your lower spine.
On an inhale, raise sternum and heart as you roll shoulder blades back and down. Keep head up and chin close to sternum. Support yourself with your hands at your lower back or, to go deeper, touch backs of feet with hands.
If this is your first time doing this pose, try using one hand at a time. But continue to press back through thighs so they stay perpendicular to the floor as you reach for your feet. If you can’t reach your feet, raise onto toes to elevate heels.
Hold this pose for 30 to 60 seconds.
8. Bow Pose (Dhanurasana)
Lie facedown with arms at your sides. Keep knees hip-width apart as you bring heels as close to glutes as possible. Grasp ankles with hands.
Inhale as you simultaneously lift your thighs, heels, head, and sternum away from the floor. Pull shoulders away from ears and keep shoulder blades against your back.
Hold this pose for 20 to 30 seconds. Make sure to breathe throughout.
9. Extended Puppy Pose (Uttana Shishosana)
Start on all fours with knees below hips and hands below shoulders. Point toes and walk hands forward. Raise your glutes while dropping forehead to the floor. Keep arms active by not allowing elbows to touch the floor.
There should be a curve to your lower back, so you feel a stretch through your spine. Pull hips toward heels and stretch through your arms.
Continue to breathe as you hold the pose for 30 seconds, and then release by bringing glutes to heels and lifting out of the pose.
10. Extended Triangle Pose (Utthita Trikonasana)
Stand with feet 3 to 4 feet apart. Point left foot forward while pointing right toes to the side (this should create a 90-degree angle). Align your heels. Kneecap of each leg should be aligned with the corresponding ankle.
Actively reach arms out from your sides until they’re parallel to the floor. Palms should face down, and shoulder blades should be wide.
Exhale as you fold at hip joint toward your right leg. Rotate torso to the left but maintain an equal stretch on both sides. With arms straight, use right hand to touch shin, ankle, or the floor while raising left arm toward the ceiling.
Hold the pose for 30 to 60 seconds. Repeat on the other side.
Yoga trains your mind and body to focus on the moment. This can curb anxiety, stress, and depression. Plus, it’s a killer workout!
Just be patient with the process and remember to breathe. It can take a while to find your fave poses and sequences. Everything will come together.
Source : greatist.com