If you’re like many people, the last thing you feel like doing when you’re stressed out is exercising. Working out can feel like just one more item on the to-do list, and oftentimes the motivation just isn’t there.
However, getting your body moving is one of the very best ways to calm down, chill out, and get your day back on track. Yoga naturally de-stresses the body by stretching underused muscles and encouraging the mind and body to focus on just one thing at time.
The best part about yoga is that you don’t even need to pay for an expensive gym membership or seek the guidance of a trainer to reap its benefits. Sure, many yoga classes are an hour long, but you can do yoga on your own for 5-10 minutes or simply hold a couple poses for a few seconds.
Certain poses are better for stress relief than others, so here are some of the best ones to try next time you become filled with tension and need to get on with your day.
Although this is physically one of the easiest poses in yoga, it’s also one of the most calming. While in a low kneeling position, reach your arms forward to stretch out all those tense muscles in your neck and back.
Downward Facing Dog
This is another stress-fighting pose that will help you quiet your mind and gain perspective. Press your hands down while raising your butt to the ceiling and lowering your heels to the floor. This one takes a bit of practice, but don’t worry if your heels are floating in the air or if your knees are bent at first.
Upward Facing Dog
Down dog pose is typically followed by upward facing dog pose, which requires you to lie on your stomach, lift your chest and hips off the floor, and bring your shoulder blades back to open your chest. This pose is known for releasing anxiety and boosting mood.
Standing Forward Bend
Another very straight-forward pose is the standing forward bend, which requires you to bend at the waist and use the weight of your body to stretch the back of your legs and lengthen your spine. You can do this pose pretty much anywhere during your day!
A more challenging yoga pose is eagle pose, which requires concentration and focus. This is a great pose for squeezing tension out of the body and twisting out all of the junk that’s cluttering your mind. One leg wraps around behind the other while you squat down and twist your arms around each other with bent elbows. This is also a great pose to strengthen your legs, shoulders, and back.
Legs Up Against the Wall Pose
With a similar effect as downward facing dog, this pose helps us see the world in a different way and increase blood flow to keep you energized and motivated despite stresses in your life. Simply lie on your back and stretch your legs up straight against a wall and hold this position for a few minutes. This is a great pose to combine with meditation techniques, like deep breathing and repeating a mantra.
One of our favorite ways to practice yoga anywhere for any amount of time is by using handy apps, like Yoga Studio. You can download classes at the beginner, intermediate, or advanced level (or even specific classes for runners or back pain sufferers) that last between 10 minutes and an hour. Once you find the poses that work best to de-stress your body and mind, you can do them anywhere and anytime!