Stress is a common condition that most people experience. It can occur when you have financial concerns, overwhelming work deadlines, health issues, and other similar upsets. The result is muscle tension, lack of sleep, hypertension, headaches, and weight gain. Stress and anxiety are not good for the mental and physical body. Although stress is a physiological response designed to save you from potential danger, it has turned into a chronic state of mind and body.
What Is Stress
When your body is under stress, your heart rate and blood pressure increase, your muscles tighten, and cortisol, the stress hormone, floods your bloodstream. These are all warnings triggered by your body to either fight off the dangerous situation or flee from it. When the perceived danger has subsided, the stress hormone should also decrease. However, even the most common of daily activities can trigger these overwhelming responses: work, school, family. That means cortisol remains in the blood stream causing much harm to the body: chronic anxiety, depression, migraines, and risk for heart disease.
How To Manage Stress
Luckily stress is a treatable condition. If you are able to reduce the amount of stress in your life or integrate exercises that help manage your stress is ideal. Yoga is one of those reliable resources that can help manage a stressful lifestyle. Even if you are new to yoga, you can perform several yoga postures at home to help relieve stress. Yoga can also help with headaches. Some postures are geared toward relaxing the muscles in your head, neck, and back. Yoga can also improve blood and oxygen flow to your head and upper body. The best time to treat a headache is at the first sign of tension. Try some of these yoga postures to reduce your stress and the likelihood of a debilitating headache.
5 Yoga Poses to Relieve Stress
- Easy Pose
- Child's Pose
- Standing Forward Fold
- Legs Against the Wall
- Corpse Pose
These are some basic yoga postures that you can practice to help feel better when you're feeling anxious and stressed.
This is a basic sitting posture. You can do this sitting on the floor or a soft cushion. Cross your legs in a comfortable fashion with a lengthened spine. (You can even sit up against a wall for added support.) Rest your arms down by your side to relax your shoulders and neck. You can close your eyes and simply focus on your breathing. This is a typical meditative posture. It allows your body and mind to fully relax. The intention is distract yourself from the worrisome thoughts that can produce stress. Instead, listen to the sound of your breathing and experience the sensation of your breath in this position.
Take just 5-10 minutes per day in a quiet location to practice Easy Pose. Feel free to play some soft music in the background to help you relax.
This is a restful yoga posture. In an active yoga class, it can be done to take a moment of rest when moving through dynamic sequences. You can also perform it independently at home as a way to relax.
Come to your hands and knees. As you are able, sit back toward your heels as you extend your upper body forward on the floor. Rest your forehead on the ground (or a soft pillow). With your gaze downward at the floor or with your eyes closed, you reduce the distractions of the world around you. It is a meditative moment to focus inward. You can pay attention to your breathing or even repeat a simple mantra ("I am relaxed,") as a way to help calm and clear your mind.
You can perform this pose any time during the day. It is particularly helpful when you feel a headache coming on. Hold the posture for at least 5 minutes so your body and mind can settle.
Standing Forward Fold
Stand with your feet about hip width apart. Extend your arms over head, then slowly fold forward to touch your toes. Bend your knees as much as you need to in order to reach the ground. The pose not only stretches your back and hamstrings, but it can also relieve stress.
Standing Forward Fold is a yoga posture that can also help with tension headaches. With the action of folding forward and your head pointing toward the ground, you allow the blood to flow to your head to help minimize muscle spasms and blood vessel blockages. It also helps relax your head, neck, and back muscles to encourage blood circulation to your brain and upper body. You do not need to hold this posture for very long; 30 seconds to 1 minute is sufficient.
Legs Against The Wall
Another restorative yoga posture that can help with bodily stress as well as tension headaches is Legs Against The Wall Pose. For this, you may want to have a blanket underneath you for added support and comfort. You will need a clear wall space to perform this pose. While sitting on the floor, slide one hip as close to the wall as possible then swing your legs up the wall and lie down on your blanket. Both legs will extend upward against the wall.
In regular conditions, we are standing or sitting most of the day. This may create added stress on the veins in your lower extremities as they pump blood back up toward the heart. To relieve that stress, it is a good idea to elevate your legs so the blood can flow through the veins back to your heart with the assistance of gravity. Perform this pose daily for about 15 minutes as a meditative practice.
Savasana (Corpse Pose)
This is a common yoga pose that is often performed at the end of a yoga class. The action is to simply lie flat on your back on a yoga mat while completely relaxing your mind and body. You can also practice this yoga posture in your bed with softer conditions. Take the time to be in stillness and focus on your breathing. By doing so, you begin to separate your attention from distracting, stressful thoughts. This is a good way to help you fall asleep, too. Perform it every night as a meditative and relaxing exercise before bed. You can even take moments during the day when you're feeling stressed to lie down on a yoga mat, rug, floor, or couch for about 10 minutes to decrease tension in your body.
Give these yoga postures to relieve stress a try during the week and notice the changes in your stress level. You will feel better throughout your entire body.