Restorative Yoga Poses for Anxiety - Aura Wellness Center

Restorative Yoga Poses for Anxiety

Restorative Yoga poses for anxietyBy Virginia Iversen

What are the best restorative Yoga poses for anxiety? Firstly, let’s look at anxiety and how it affects us.  Anxiety is often defined as the fear of being hurt in the future. Anxiety is a form of fear, fear of physical or emotional harm in some form. The anxious feeling may be appropriate for our situation, or the anxious feelings may be dramatically disproportionate to the situation at hand. In either situation, the physical and emotional reactions to anxiety will remain similar. Asanas for anxiety are in demand.



Your palms may sweat, and your heart may beat faster. You may find yourself perspiring more and experiencing digestive distress. All of these physical reactions occur to prepare the body to fight or flee a dangerous situation. However, when anxious feelings are continual or do not match the reality of the situation, they can impede us from living a healthy and fully engaged life. Restorative Yoga Poses for anxiety are beautiful tools for slowing down and releasing anxious thoughts and feelings.


Supported Bow Pose

Backbending Restorative Yoga poses for anxiety have positive effects because they are in the heart-opening family of postures. You will need a bolster and two blankets to practice the Supported Supine Bow Pose. If you do not have a bolster, fold a thick blanket or towel to approximately the same size and shape as a Yoga bolster. Place the bolster lengthwise on your Yoga mat. Fold the two blankets into squares and place them where your knees will be. Gently lie back over your Yoga bolster.


The bolster should support your entire upper torso and head. Bend your knees and bring the soles of your feet together in a diamond shape. Adjust the folded blankets, so they are directly under your knees. If you have an eye pillow, place it over your eyes and let your arms rest by your sides. You may wish to place a blanket over your lower torso for an added sense of support and comfort. Hold this pose for several minutes. When you are ready to come out of the pose, roll softly to your right side and come up to a sitting position. Pause and reflect on how you feel.


Legs Up the Wall Pose

Legs Up the Wall Pose is one of the better Yoga poses for anxiety. It is a mild inversion and will give you many benefits of a full inversion in a restful and supported manner. Come to a wall in your home or Yoga studio to enter this pose. Place the short end of your Yoga mat against the wall. Scoot one side of your bottom flush against the wall. Slowly lie back on your mat as you raise the back of your legs against the wall.


For support, you may place a folded blanket or Yoga block under your hips. Keep your legs active by reaching them towards the ceiling with your feet slightly flexed. Hold this pose for several minutes. When ready, bring your legs down and roll to your right side. Come up to a sitting position with your next inhale and pause for a few moments in Easy Seat.


© Copyright – Virginia Iversen / Aura Wellness Center – Publications Division

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About Restorative Yoga Poses for Anxiety

By Faye Martins and Dr. Paul Jerard, E-RYT 500, YACEP

When you’re feeling anxious, your body is in a state of high alert, making it feel uncomfortable or even painful. Yoga poses can help to release the tension in your body and mind and allow you to feel more relaxed.

1. Cat-Cow Pose: This pose is a great way to release tension from the spine and the belly, which are often tight in people who suffer from anxiety.

2. Supported Fish Pose: This posture is excellent for relieving stress and tension from the neck and upper back. Due to the use of props, the Supported Fish Posture is one of those relaxing poses you can safely sink into.

3. Forward Bend: Forward bends are calming and can help to relieve symptoms of anxiety, including fatigue, headache, and insomnia.

4. Camel Pose: This pose opens up the chest and helps to release pent-up emotions that may be contributing to anxiety



Yoga poses prevent anxiety by teaching the body to relax and release tension. Many yoga poses can be done in a restorative way, meaning they help the body find its natural balance and come into a state of ease. When the body is in a state of ease, it is more likely to cope with anxiety and stress. Many yoga poses can be helpful for anxiety, but some of the most effective poses include:

Child’s pose: This pose helps release tension from the back and shoulders and can be calming for the nervous system.

Cobra pose: This pose helps to open up the chest and lungs, which can allow for deep breathing and help to reduce anxiety.

Puppy Pose: This pose helps to lengthen and stretch the entire body, which can help to reduce muscle tension and promote relaxation.



Most yoga poses can be modified to enable students to hold them for more extended periods. For example, students can use props such as blocks or blankets to support their bodies in poses such as Downward-Facing Dog or Warrior II. Students can also modify poses by coming into them from a different angle or using a different variation. For example, instead of coming into Triangle Pose from standing, students can start in downward dog and then step their feet to the outside of their hands before reaching up to the sky. Or, instead of doing an Extended Side Angle Pose with the bottom arm reaching down to the floor, students can place the hand on a block. There is also an option to rest the forearm inside the forward leg lightly. These are just a few examples – there are endless possibilities for modifying yoga poses.


What About Vinyasa?

Restorative Yoga poses for anxiety are not the only solution. There’s no denying that some students need active, dynamic classes like Vinyasa to feel better. The room’s heat or movement in the class can help purge anxiety and tension from the body. Active students will also respond well to walking for anxiety. Everyone should walk more often for mental, physical, and emotional health.  Each of us is wired differently. Some students are younger, active, or goal-oriented.


One Last Word for Restorative Classes

For some students, active classes can aggravate their anxiety. If you feel more anxious after a Vinyasa class, it might be time to try something different. Restorative yoga is a much slower, more gentle practice that can be incredibly effective for students struggling with anxiety. In restorative yoga, students hold supported poses for long periods, allowing the body and mind to relax completely. This can help to ease tension and worry and allow students to find a sense of calm and peace.

© Copyright – Aura Wellness Center – Publications Division


Related Studies

Chu P, Gotink RA, Yeh GY, Goldie SJ, Hunink MG. The effectiveness of yoga in modifying risk factors for cardiovascular disease and metabolic syndrome: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Eur J Prev Cardiol. 2016;23:291–307.

Javnbakht M, Hejazi Kenari R, Ghasemi M. Effects of yoga on depression and anxiety of women. Complement Ther Clin Pract. 2009;15:102–4.

Streeter CC, Whitfield TH, Owen L, Rein T, Karri SK, Yakhkind A, et al. Effects of yoga versus walking on mood, anxiety, and brain GABA levels: A randomized controlled MRS study. J Altern Complement Med. 2010;16:1145–52.

Tayyebi A, Babahaji M, Sadeghisherme M, Ebadi A, Eynollahi B. Study of the effect of Hatha Yoga exercises on stress, anxiety, and depression among hemodialysis patients. IJCCN. 2011;4:67–72.

3 thoughts on “Restorative Yoga Poses for Anxiety”

  1. Sometimes anxious feeling is appropriate for the situation and sometimes its prevent us to adapt with the situation. Restorative Yoga Pose helps us to adapt with present situation. Nice article!

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