10 Yoga Poses to Help You Relieve Stress and Improve Your Mind, Body & Spirit
Today, stress is more pervasive than ever. It can hit you at any time and in any place, whether you’re working on an assignment or seeing a friend for dinner. The impact of stress on your mind and body is equally widespread. Stress manifests itself as muscle tension, which makes it difficult to relax; poor sleep; and weight gain because of overeating to soothe yourself. Stress isn’t just something that affects you briefly every now and then — it’s something that affects you every day, all day long. In addition to the physical effects stress has on your body, prolonged stress can have a lasting impact on your mental well-being too. That’s why reducing stress is important for your physical and mental health. With the right yoga poses under your belt, you can reduce stress and improve your mind, body & spirit all at once — no matter what kind of day you’ve got ahead of you! Read on to learn more about how stress affects us, how yoga can help relieve some of that pressure, and the best yin poses for relieving stress and improving your mind-body connection
What is Stress?
Stress is a response your body has to a perceived threat. It occurs when your body senses an increased amount of reactivity in a given situation. In an effort to protect itself, your body releases chemicals such as cortisol and epinephrine. These chemicals are meant to help your body prepare for danger, so that it can react quickly and effectively. However, if the “threat” persists, cortisol and epinephrine will continue to flow through your body. When this happens over an extended period of time, it can lead to an array of negative health effects, including muscle tension, anxiety, and even heart disease.
How to reduce stress with yoga? We recommend starting with a few breathing exercises to help you focus on your present moment. Then, continue to incorporate yoga poses into your daily routine to keep yourself feeling healthy and centered. Try to find ways to incorporate more yoga into your day so that you don’t forget how beneficial it can be for relieving stress!
Why Is Stress Bad for Your Body and Mind?
Stress is a normal part of life — for example, being in a new environment can cause you to feel a little stressed. But if the stress level in your life consistently feels overwhelming and causes you to feel anxious, then you may be dealing with a more serious problem. Chronic stress is a well-documented risk factor for anxiety and depression. What’s more, stress can also cause you to gain weight. While certain foods can help you power through your day, if you frequently reach for high-calorie snacks because you’re stressed out, you’re more likely to put on pounds. Furthermore, stress is one of the leading causes of muscle tension, which can lead to stiff joints and chronically tense muscles. This makes it difficult to relax and make your joints and muscles feel good!
How to Reduce Stress with Yoga
Incorporate more yoga poses into your routine. You don’t have to incorporate yoga into your schedule every single day — a few times a week should be enough to reap the benefits! Start with gentle poses and work your way up to more challenging sequences as your body gets stronger and you improve your flexibility.
Choose poses that address your specific stressors. If your work schedule is always hectic, it can really add up to stress. Try selecting poses that focus on your diaphragm, which will help you stay hydrated and focused. Similarly, if your relationship with your partner is strained but you don’t want to talk to each other, try some poses that allow you to center yourself while staying connected with your partner.
Try breathing exercises while you’re on your yoga mat. Yoga poses can be great at centering you and de-stressing, but they can do so much more! While you’re in a pose, try incorporating deep breathing exercises that focus on your abdomen. These exercises can help to relieve stress and improve your mind-body connection at the same time.
The Top 5 Yin Yoga Poses for Reducing Stress and Improving Your Mind, Body & Spirit
The best yoga poses for reducing stress and improving your mind-body connection have a few things in common: They focus on connecting with your breath, and they allow you to unwind and relax. The following poses are ideal for this purpose:
Seated or Standing Forward Fold – The seated or standing forward fold focuses on opening your chest, shoulders, and neck while centering your spine. When you’re in this pose, you’re simultaneously breathing deeply and centering your spine. This is a great pose for relieving stress and improving your mind-body connection.
Bridge Pose – The bridge pose is often recommended as a pose to help alleviate lower back pain and increase core strength. However, it’s also a great pose for relieving stress and improving your mind-body connection.
Corpse Pose – This pose is often referred to as “yoga’s natural relaxation finale.” That’s because it’s a great way to wind down and relieve stress.
Downward Facing Dog – The downward facing dog pose is a great extension of the bridge pose. This pose focuses on opening your chest and breathing deeply while engaging your core muscles.
The good news is, you can reap the benefits of yoga poses to reduce stress without ever leaving your own home. You don’t have to travel to a local studio, join a class, or pay a premium for a pass to get the most out of your yoga practice. With the right yoga mat and some headphones on, you can reap all of the benefits of yoga as easily as you can take a quick break from your desk!
As you can see, yoga is a powerful tool for reducing stress and improving your mind-body connection. While it isn’t a substitute for professional help, it’s a great way to improve your mental health and reduce stress in your life.