Top Five Yoga Poses for Stress Relief

While all forms of exercise help boost the mood, yoga is a supreme way to naturally relieve stress. Yoga is known for its stress relieving properties and Beth Shaw, Founder and President of Yogafit Training Systems, Worldwide, Inc., in Torrance, Calif., says, "The benefits of yoga include decreased stress and tension, increased strength and balance, increased flexibility, lowered blood pressure and reduced cortisol levels."

The corpse pose quiets the thoughts and aids in relieving stress.
Wikimedia Commons/Thamizhpparithi Maari

Certain poses (asanas) are better than others when it comes to alleviating the symptoms of anxiety. I will highlight the top five yoga poses for stress relief. Perform all five postures to receive the best benefits.

#1 Corpse Pose (Savasana)

The corpse pose is the perfect way to begin the relaxation process. This asana is done for complete relaxation of the entire body. It quiets the thoughts and aids in relieving stress. It also decreases the severity of mild depression.

Many times it is hard to release the tops of the thighs in this position, which can cause tension rather than release it. To counteract this problem you can gently lay two 10-pound bags of sand on top of each thigh.

To fully melt into the corpse pose and completely mellow the mind, relaxing music can be used to set the mood.

#2 Bridge Pose (Setu Bandha Sarvangasana)

The bridge pose quiets the brain while energizing lethargic legs. This asana helps ward off mild depression while relieving stress. It also decreases backaches and headaches.

#3 Extended Puppy Pose (Uttana Shishosana)

The extended puppy pose is a combination of the child's pose and downward-facing dog. It relieves stress while elongating the spine and shoulders. When holding this pose for long periods of time, a bolster or rolled blanket can be placed between the thighs and calves to safeguard the knees and lower back.

#4 Standing Forward Bend (Uttanasana)

The standing forward bend is a stress soothing, hamstring awakening pose. It can also aid in alleviating a mood that is melancholy in nature. Allow yourself to melt into this pose by keeping your knees slightly bent, which will create a better stretch in the back of the legs.

#5 Salutation Seal (Anjali Mudra)

The salutation seal is an excellent pose to finish with, and it is a supreme way to create a meditative mindset. Try to keep your palms and thumbs soft while performing this soothing asana that disintegrates stress.

Remember to create a tranquil atmosphere before beginning the stress relieving yoga poses. Engage the senses by adding gentle sounds, soothing scents and peaceful lighting.


Personal Experience

Yoga Journal

More from Rebecca Bardelli:

The Use of Yoga in Complementary and Alternative Medicine

Top Five Funniest Yoga Videos

Top Five Items for Your Pre-Yoga Workout

Five Forms of Exercise to Beat Stress

Rebecca completed courses in Medical Terminology, Administrative Medical Assisting, and Coding and Billing. She is recognized by the National Healthcareer Association as a Certified Billing and Coding Specialist (CBCS) and Medical Administrative Assistant (CMAA). In addition, Rebecca is a former gymnast and is avid about yoga, swimming and other athletic activities.

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Updated Thursday, Jan 5, 2012