5 Magical Yoga Poses For Stress Relief

Practicing Yoga routines provides a healthy foundation for staying fit and lowering stress. According to the American Institute of Stress, 73% of people in the United States regularly experience psychological symptoms related to stress. Besides the obvious contributions to flexibility and muscle tone, Yoga is linked to having a positive effect of decreasing stress on a physiological level. Yoga practice helps to aid individuals with depression through the reduction of the steroid hormone cortisol, without the use of antidepressants, as documented in the US National Library of Medicine.

These 5 poses will help you find your rhythm of a healthy yoga lifestyle while reducing your levels of stress.

Cat and Cow Pose

The Cat and Cow poses can be combined to stretch and warm up the body, preparing it for daily movement. This is the best exercise to extend flexibility through the entire length of the spine, and to stimulate and strengthen the abdominal organs. The kidneys and adrenal glands are also activated by this action. During the Cat and Cow pose, the chest muscles extend and allow you to have a slow and deep respiration. This position encourages the air to enter through a gradual and smooth breath, it relieves the stress and frees the mind.

Image source: UOL

Advantages of Cat and Cow:

  • Helps to reduce stress.
  • Induces a meditative state while you keep your concentration on counting slowly and inwardly during the period that you maintain the Cat's Posture.
  • Prevents or helps to relieve back pain.
  • Promotes flexibility to the back, neck and rib cage.
  • Straightens the back and corrects bad posture.
  • Strengthens the muscles of the wrist, forearms and shoulders.
  • Massages the internal organs of the abdomen and thus improves digestive aid.
  • Improves blood circulation.
  • Tones and strengthens the abdominal muscles.

Downward Dog

The Downward Dog is an inverted pose. This means that the heart is above the head in order to stimulate blood flow, provide energy and calm the body. This pose can help with allergies and respiratory problems. If there is any nasal congestion, the movement opens up the sinuses, which frees up the mucus providing relief for the nasal passage. This exercise also stretches the entire spine and shoulders. Some studies about meditation indicate that lowering the gaze helps to quiet the mind. Downward dog is a great position to improve body's balance because it targets the upper and lower body at the same time: hands, arms, shoulders, back, calves, hamstrings while arching the feet.

Advantages of Downward Dog:

  • Calms the mind and helps relieve stress and mild depression.
  • Energizes the body.
  • Stretches the shoulders, hamstrings, calves and hands.
  • Strengthens arms and legs.
  • Helps to relieve the symptoms of menopause.
  • Relieves menstrual discomfort when done with head support.
  • Helps prevent osteoporosis.
  • Improves digestion.
  • Relieves headache, insomnia, back pain and fatigue.
  • Works as a therapy for high blood pressure, asthma, flat feet, sciatica and sinusitis.

Standing Forward Bend

In the Standing Forward Bend pose, the body reconnects with the earth. The alignment of the posture provides a sense of balance positioning the heart exactly at the centre of the body. This position helps to relieve flatulence, constipation and indigestion. It also stimulates and tones all of the nerves around the spine and speeds up the metabolism. The Standing Forward Bend stimulates the excretion of digestive processes, which reduces the possibilities of diseases. Moreover, it improves the circulation to the brain and face.


Image source: UOL

Advantages of Standing Forward Bend:

  • Stimulates the brain by increasing blood flow, reasoning and mental clarity.
  • Prevents headaches – it should not be performed when you are experiencing strong cases of head pain.
  • Promotes a healthy disposition and a general sense of vitality in the nervous system in regards to range of motion.
  • Encourages the ability to perceive the inner objects of the mind (emotions, thoughts and all mental variation, root of imbalances and psychological suffering).
  • Activates all of the posterior musculature groups, promoting greater elasticity of the legs (calves and thighs), back and cervix
  • Assures agility and lightness in body movements.
  • Relieves back pain from poor posture and fights hyperlordosis.
  • Relieves pain in the stomach, activates the liver and kidney functions.
  • Improves intestinal function.
  • Benefits the spinal nerves and helps to prevent sciatic pain.

Reclined Hero

This posture may be off limits for many people, but it is nevertheless useful for intermediate practitioners who find great fun and even a great benefit to the back and knees. The Reclined Hero rejuvenates the knees, shins, thighs and ankles. It opens the chest and flattens the stomach and is one of the best poses to be practiced when looking to lose weight and “tune up”. In addition, this exercise provides spine and pelvis adjustment. It generates great pressure on the internal organs, also benefiting the intestinal tract, stomach, kidneys, liver, urinary bladder, prostate and colon. With practice, the body starts to relax into the posture, which may provide sense of calmness and peace while reclining.


Advantages of Reclined Hero:

  • Relieves stress and pain from tired legs.
  • Opens the lower back
  • Stretches the hamstrings and abdomen.
  • Increases flexibility in the hips, knees and ankle joint.
  • Alleviates menstrual cramps.
  • Improves digestion.
  • Stimulates thyroid and parathyroid glands, responsible for metabolism.
  • Lowers high blood pressure, which is why exercise is not recommended if you have a heart condition.
  • Helps to therapeutically treat arthritis, asthma, diarrhea, digestive problems, flat feet, headaches, high blood pressure, infertility, insomnia, gas, heartburn, respiratory diseases, sciatica and varicose veins.
  • Helps to therapeutically treat arthritis, asthma, diarrhea, digestive problems, flat feet, headaches, high blood pressure, infertility, insomnia, gas, heartburn, respiratory diseases, sciatica and varicose veins.

Triangle Pose

The Triangle pose is one of the best Yoga poses to tone the belly. It is also used for improving digestion and stretching the muscles on the side of the body. This pose is admired for its various benefits. A number of elements come together in this position to bring about changes in physical, mental, and healing sense. This exercise improves the shape of leg muscles, spinal nerves and abdominal organs. It stabilises and firms the muscles of the limbs and torso. In addition, the triangle pose restores  the equilibrium between body and mind, because it targets the areas that take the brunt of daily stress and allows them to find solace and release.

Image source: http://www.sheknows.com/

Advantages of Triangle Pose:

  • Gives flexibility to the back.
  • Tones and strengthens both arms that are in healthy tension.
  • Stretches and strengthens the neck muscles because the pose requires you to look upwards in all variants of the Triangle Posture.
  • Prevents headaches and pain in the neck.
  • Improves breathing.
  • Provides flexibility to the hips and spine, making it a good therapeutic Yoga exercise, particularly to correct scoliosis.
  • Relieves stress.
  • Improves digestion and constipation.
  • Helps to alleviate back pain and symptoms of menopause.
  • Used therapeutically for anxiety, infertility, neck pain and sciatica.

The greatest challenge to practice Yoga is not necessarily the flexibility of the body, but the mind. Yoga means learning to observe and feel in the present moment. People are a totality of body, energy, emotion and mind. Free yourself from your conditioning to find relieve from the stresses of life. Make your Yoga practice a moment for acceptance and understanding about yourself, your limits and your goals. Don't push it hard, just let it flow.

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Tatiana Meneses

Writer, graduate in Journalism, post grad degrees in both Communications and Marketing. Currently studying SPA Massage Therapy. Passionate for yoga and subjects related to behaviour, health and well-being.