The mind and body are intricately connected. Taking good care of your physical health can also work wonders for your mental health — a sentiment that yogis have shared for generations. That’s why, when faced with negative emotions like stress and anxiety, many people turn to yoga for its restorative, relaxing, and healing properties, both for body and mind.
Yoga is especially useful in times of extreme uncertainty and discomfort (and, last time we checked, the world is still pretty much in chaos!). Luckily, you can target those feelings of anxiety with yoga poses aimed directly at relieving those negative emotions. If you’re feeling out of sorts lately, try these 8 yoga poses to combat anxiety:
Photo by Juan Miguel Agudo
1. Bridge Pose
The Bridge Pose is an inversion, meaning it brings the heart higher off the ground than the head. This pose opens up space around your heart, allowing for focus and clarity of thought. What’s more, inversions are thought to be beneficial for soothing the nervous system, which is on high alert during times of stress and anxiety.
2. Triangle Pose
The Extended Triangle Pose is a great pose for yoga rookies, as well as for alleviating symptoms of anxiety. Because this post makes you tilt sideways, it is said to equally distribute energy flow throughout your body. This is believed to bring you a sense of calm and balance to your practice.
Photo by Katee Lue
3. Child’s Pose
The benefits of Child’s Pose have been studied by the likes of Harvard Medical School and the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. Thanks to Child Pose’s grounding qualities, this posture provides a sense of calm and stability. Please note, however, that you should be careful with Child’s Pose if you have knee or hip injuries!
4. Cat Cow Pose
Cow and Cat Pose encourage you to link your breath to your movement, ultimately awakening your spine. This rhythmic, calming posture enables deeper breathing, which lowers stress and anxiety levels.
5. Camel Pose
This uplifting yoga pose is not only an anxiety-buster, but it’s also recommended for alleviating back pain. By relieving tension in the shoulders, back, and neck, you’re releasing the stress that tends to build there when we’re anxious.
6. Tree Pose
It can be hard to take your mind off of what’s making you anxious, or off your anxiety in general. Tree Pose commands all of your concentration, hopefully helping you momentarily shift your focus.
Photo by Benn McGuinness
7. Warrior III
Like Tree Pose, Warrior III also requires extreme focus for balance. This pose promotes core strength, which helps improve digestion. What does that have to do with anxiety, you might ask? Studies have actually discovered a link between a healthy gut and decreased anxiety levels. See, body and mind really are tightly intertwined!
8. Legs Up The Wall
This relaxing, restorative pose allows you to pause, take a breather, and feel the stretch in your hamstrings, lower back, neck, and pelvic muscles.
Cecilia is a freelance writer and contributor to Slow North. She writes largely about sustainability, especially as it applies to beauty, wellness, and the future of technology. She is a graduate of the journalism department at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo and is based in Los Angeles, CA.