Teaching Hatha Yoga - Two Yoga Poses for Stress

Yoga Poses for Stress

yoga posesBy Sanjeev Patel, CYT 500, and Faye Martins

The constant demands of work, relationships, and responsibilities can overwhelm and exhaust us. Will yoga poses for stress relief help us? Yoga is here to relieve stress and help you find your inner calm. Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned teacher, we will take you through various yoga poses specifically designed to melt away tension, soothe your mind, and restore balance to your body.


Understanding Stress and Its Effects on the Body

In today’s fast-paced world, stress has become an unavoidable part of our lives. But what exactly is stress, and how does it affect our bodies? Stress is the body’s natural response to demands or threats, whether they are real or perceived. When we encounter a stressful situation, our sympathetic nervous system kicks into high gear, releasing hormones like cortisol and adrenaline.

These hormones trigger the “fight-or-flight” response, preparing our bodies to face or escape the threat head-on. While this response can be helpful in short bursts, prolonged exposure to stress can affect our physical and mental well-being.

Physically, chronic stress can lead to various health issues such as headaches, muscle tension, digestive problems, weakened immune systems, and even cardiovascular diseases. Mentally and emotionally, it can manifest as anxiety disorders, depression, sleep disturbances, and difficulty concentrating.

Not only that, but daily stresses also impact our overall quality of life by affecting our relationships with others and diminishing our ability to enjoy everyday activities. That’s where yoga comes in – offering us a holistic approach to combatting stress by targeting the physical symptoms and underlying mental and emotional causes.

By incorporating specific yoga poses into your routine, you can activate your body’s relaxation response, which triggers a cascade of beneficial effects such as reduced heart rate, blood pressure, and levels of stress hormones in your body.

Yoga encourages deep breathing, muscle relaxation, and mindful awareness—all essential to combat chronic stress.

In addition, Yoga helps release built-up tension stored in your muscles, releases endorphins (the feel-good chemicals), and promotes better sleep.


Benefits of Yoga for Stress Relief

Yoga has long been recognized as a powerful tool for stress relief. Its benefits extend beyond the physical, deepening our mental and emotional well-being. By practicing yoga regularly, you can effectively manage and reduce stress levels.

One of the significant benefits of yoga for stress relief is its ability to calm the mind. Through focused breathing and mindful movement, yoga helps quieten anxious thoughts and bring a sense of tranquility. As you flow through different poses, your attention becomes anchored in the present moment, allowing worries to disappear.

In addition to calming the mind, yoga also releases tension from the body. Stress often manifests as muscle tightness or discomfort, contributing to further feelings of unease. Yoga poses gently stretch and release these tense muscles, promoting relaxation throughout your entire body.

Beyond immediate stress relief, regular yoga practice builds resilience against future stressful situations. By cultivating mindfulness on the mat, we learn how to respond rather than react when faced with challenges off the mat. This shift in mindset allows us to navigate stressful circumstances with more excellent composure and clarity.

Furthermore, consistent yoga fosters self-care and self-compassion – vital elements in managing stress effectively. The time spent on your mat becomes an opportunity for self-reflection and nurturing yourself physically and mentally.

Incorporating yoga into your routine provides numerous benefits for combating stress levels holistically – by calming the mind, releasing tension from the body, building resilience against future stresses, and fostering self-care practices.

Yoga offers a comprehensive approach to achieving inner peace amidst life’s daily pressures.

And remember, you don’t have to be an expert yogi; even simple poses can significantly reduce stress.


Basic Yoga Poses for Relaxation

Yoga can be a powerful tool for finding calm amidst the chaos of our daily lives. By combining movement, breathwork, and mindfulness, yoga helps release body tension and quiet the mind.

Practicing basic poses is one of the simplest yet effective ways to promote relaxation through yoga. These poses are accessible to everyone, regardless of their experience level or flexibility. Here are a few foundational postures that you can incorporate into your routine:

1. Child’s Pose (Balasana): This gentle resting pose allows you to surrender and release stress. Kneel on your mat with your knees hip-width apart and fold forward, reaching your arms out in front or alongside your body.

2. Forward Fold (Uttanasana): Stand tall with feet hip-width apart and slowly hinge forward at the hips, folding over your legs while keeping them slightly bent if needed. Allow gravity to help release tension in the back and hamstrings.

3. Legs-Up-The-Wall Pose (Viparita Karani): Lie on your back near a wall and extend both legs against it. This pose promotes circulation and relaxation by reversing blood flow.

4. Corpse Pose (Savasana): The ultimate relaxation posture for many yogis! Lie flat on your back, arms relaxed at your sides, palms facing up.

By incorporating these basic yoga poses into your routine regularly – even just a few minutes each day – you’ll cultivate a sense of inner peace and calmness that can help counteract everyday stressors.

Remember: every person’s journey with yoga is unique; listen to what feels suitable for your body! So take some time today to unroll that mat, breathe deeply as you move through these poses, and give yourself permission to relax fully – mind!


Advanced Yoga Poses for Deep Relaxation

Advanced yoga poses can provide more profound relaxation and rejuvenation in the quest for ultimate stress relief. These poses require more strength, flexibility, and balance than basic ones but offer profound benefits for calming the mind and body.

One such pose is the Shoulder Stand (Sarvangasana). This inversion helps relieve stress, improves blood circulation, and stimulates the thyroid gland. Reversing gravity’s effects on our bodies allows fresh oxygenated blood to flow towards our brain, promoting mental clarity and tranquility.

Another advanced pose that promotes deep relaxation is the Supported Headstand (Salamba Sirsasana). Known as “the king of all poses,” this inversion increases blood flow to the brain while providing stability and peace. It requires focus, core strength, and proper alignment to experience its calming effects fully.

Restorative Fish Pose (Matsyasana) is ideal for those seeking physical release and mental calmness. This gentle heart-opening posture relieves tension in the upper body while encouraging deep breathing. Stretching out muscles in the chest, throat, and shoulders releases stored emotions, contributing to stress.

Achieving deep relaxation through advanced yoga poses like these examples mentioned above may take time; thus, ensuring safety by practicing under the guidance of a qualified instructor is crucial. Remember always to listen to your body’s limitations when attempting advanced postures.

By incorporating these challenging yet rewarding poses and other stress-relieving techniques into your practice regularly, you can unlock new levels of tranquility and find solace from life’s pressures!


Technical Yoga Practices for Stress Relief

In addition to basic and advanced yoga poses, there are specialized practices that can specifically target stress relief. These practices go beyond physical postures and incorporate other elements of yoga, such as breathwork, meditation, and mindfulness. Combining these techniques can create a powerful toolset to combat stress.

One technique is Pranayama or breath control exercises. Deep breathing activates the body’s relaxation response and helps calm the mind. Techniques like Alternate Nostril Breathing or Ujjayi Breath are particularly effective in reducing stress levels.

Another practice is Yoga Nidra, also known as yogic sleep. This guided meditation takes you through different stages of deep relaxation while remaining fully conscious. It promotes profound rest and rejuvenation, which helps alleviate stress.

Meditation is another powerful tool for stress relief. Mindfulness meditation focuses on being present in the moment without judgment or attachment to thoughts or emotions. Regular practice enhances self-awareness and enables you to manage stressful situations more effectively.

Restorative yoga is a gentle style that uses props such as blankets, bolsters, and blocks to support your body in relaxing poses held for longer durations. It encourages deep relaxation by activating the parasympathetic nervous system, which counteracts the fight-or-flight response triggered by stress.

Yoga therapy sessions with a qualified instructor can be highly beneficial for individuals dealing with chronic stress or trauma-related issues. Customized sequences address specific needs through mindful movement, breathwork, visualization techniques, and other therapeutic interventions.

Remember that finding what works best for you may involve trial and error since everyone’s response to different practices varies. The key is consistency – regularity in your chosen specialized yoga practices will yield long-term benefits in managing your overall well-being amidst life’s inevitable stresses.


Tips for Incorporating Yoga into Your Daily Routine

1. Start with short sessions: If you’re new to yoga or have a busy schedule, committing to long practice sessions can be overwhelming. Instead, incorporate short 10-15 minute yoga practices into your daily routine. This will make it easier to stick with and gradually build up your practice.

2. Choose a convenient time: Find a time of day that works best for you to do your yoga practice. Some people prefer starting their day with yoga as it helps set the tone for the rest of the day, while others find that practicing in the evening helps them wind down and relax before bed.

3. Create a dedicated space: Set aside a designated area in your home to roll out your mat and practice without distractions. Having a clean and clutter-free space will help create a sense of calmness and make it easier for you to focus on your practice.

4. Use online resources: Countless online platforms offer free or paid yoga classes catering to all experience levels. Take advantage of these resources by exploring different styles of yoga and finding instructors whose teaching style resonates with you.

5. Make it non-negotiable: Treat your daily yoga practice as an essential appointment with yourself that cannot be skipped or rescheduled easily. By making it non-negotiable, you prioritize self-care and ensure that stress relief becomes integral to your routine.

Consistency is critical when incorporating new habits into our lives – including yoga! So be patient with yourself, celebrate small victories, and most importantly, enjoy nurturing body and mind through regular yoga practice.



These days, stress has become an everyday companion for many. However, by incorporating yoga into your daily routine, you can find solace and relief from the pressures of everyday life. The practice of yoga not only helps to calm the mind but also has numerous physical benefits that contribute to overall well-being.

By understanding the effects of stress on our bodies, we can better appreciate how yoga is an effective tool for relaxation. Through its various poses and breathing techniques, yoga promotes deep relaxation and reduces muscle tension, allowing us to release built-up stress and anxiety.

From basic poses like Child’s Pose and Legs-Up-The-Wall Pose to more advanced ones such as Corpse Pose or Supported Shoulder Stand, plenty of options are available for those seeking stress relief through yoga. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced practitioner, these poses can be modified to suit your needs and comfort level.


Advanced poses like Forward Fold with Support or Reclining Bound Angle Pose offer profound benefits for those seeking deeper relaxation. These postures help stretch the body while simultaneously soothing the mind and promoting feelings of tranquility.

In addition to traditional yoga poses, specialized practices such as Yin or Restorative Yoga can relieve targeted stress. These styles focus on longer holds in gentle positions that allow for deep release and rejuvenation.

To effectively incorporate yoga into your daily routine, it’s essential to set aside dedicated time each day specifically for this practice. Start small by initially committing just 10-15 minutes and gradually increasing it as you build consistency. Find a quiet space where you feel comfortable practicing without interruptions.

Remember that consistency is critical when reaping the benefits of any new habit – including practicing yoga for stress relief! Make it a priority in your schedule so it becomes second nature over time.

Finding peace amidst the chaos is essential in maintaining balance within ourselves. By embracing yoga as a tool for stress relief, we can cultivate a lasting sense of calm.


© Copyright – Aura Wellness Center – Publications Division

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Teaching Hatha Yoga – Two Yoga Poses for Stress

By Sanjeev Patel, CYT 500

Anxiety and stress are the root causes of many life-threatening conditions, such as cancer, heart disease, and high blood pressure.  The following two Yoga poses are easy to practice and help students release stored negative energy and tension, which can create ailments or worse.


Half Spinal Twist (Ardha Matsyendrasana)

This posture is sometimes called the “Half Lord of the Fishes pose.” The name can be traced to Sage Matsyendra. Ardha Matsyendrasana can confuse some, but it releases physical tension within the entire body. Physical tension stored at a desk, in a car, and on the couch is a recipe for stress overload.

Directions: Sitting, bend the right knee and place the right foot with the heel against the left buttock. The sole of the left foot is on the floor outside the right knee. Bend the left arm behind the back and look over the left shoulder. The right arm presses on the outside of the left thigh and knee, the right hand grasping the inside of the left foot. The twist begins in the sacrum and climbs gradually up the spine to the head. Butt stays firm on the ground, feet remain flat on the floor, toes spread. The spine is straight. Then, alternate sides.

This twisting posture prevents backache and keeps the spine flexible and young. It massages the internal organs, aiding in digestion and detoxification. Like all twisting postures, it has the mental benefit of reminding us that we have the power to unravel ourselves in all kinds of unhealthy situations.


Lion Pose (Simhasana)

Sometimes, this asana is called “Roaring Lion Pose.” For many people, the lion is a favorite Yoga pose. You can perform it silently, but I like to be loud and roar. Sitting with spine straight in Thunderbolt Posture, hands on knees, come slightly forward, roaring and exhaling the lungs completely while opening the eyes wide (rolled back) and opening the mouth as wide as possible, protruding the tongue out and down as far as it will go.

Hold this position on the exhale for as long as possible (6 seconds), keeping the body tense the whole time. Relax and return to the upright thunderbolt position; breathe normally. Repeat. This exercise tones the throat and face muscles, bringing fresh blood and new vigor to those areas. In addition, the psychological effect of this pose cannot be underestimated. It is playful, bringing lightness to the mind when overburdened. Lion Pose is tense, which leads to better relaxation upon release. Lastly, it is loud and, therefore, self-expressive, discouraging shyness.

© Copyright – Aura Wellness Center – Publications Division

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