5 Yoga Poses to Help Relieve Stress Now

Yoga has long been touted for its anti-stress benefits. And research, indeed, backs up that claim.

Studies show that yoga can help improve mental health, increase feelings of relaxation and reduce irritability in people who practice it. The mind-body practice helps regulate the stress response, which triggers physiological changes in the body, such as lower blood pressure, lower heart rate and increased airflow to the lungs – which help us all calm down, according to Harvard Medical School.

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Practicing yoga can help you build resilience to better deal with the challenges that arise when you’re not practicing — and it can be used in the moment to help reduce stress, says Amber Wallin, founder of Hot Mess Yoga in Chicago and a yoga instructor certified by the Yoga Alliance, the world’s largest nonprofit yoga association that certifies teachers and schools. “Yoga can help prevent stress and flare-ups,” she says.

But which postures are best for entering a state of calm?

Grounding poses, in particular, help stop the hamster wheel of mental chatter (read: worry and anxiety), Wallin says. Grounding poses are where you are supposed to let the mind relax. While other poses that are more physically challenging, such as inversions or balancing poses, may require a lot of concentration and physical strength to stay, poses that can be held longer without breaking a sweat can be done to help. settling in,” says Wallin. .

For stress-busting practice, Wallin suggests keeping your phone out of reach. (Keep it in another room so there’s no temptation to pick it up and turn off notifications.) She also recommends making yoga comfortable for you. If that means doing it in sweatpants or underwear, then go for it. A warm room or with the air conditioning on? I am fine too. Don’t set expectations. It’s okay if you can’t touch your toes. It doesn’t matter if you need to edit. Your yoga practice is for you and allows you to release your anxiety. He doesn’t need to look certain.

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Wallin recommends practicing these yoga poses for 15 minutes a day, but she adds that any time you can spare will help. Pick a single pose and try it when you feel overwhelmed with the moment or at the end of a stressful day to unwind. Focus on your breathing throughout each pose. Taking long, deep breaths slows your heart rate and will help trigger those anti-stress benefits. Also, when you focus on your breathing, it’s harder to focus on what’s stressing you out.

Here are five grounding poses to try to relieve stress today. Repeat if necessary and if you see fit: