Feeling anxious, tired, stiff or tightly spun? Today’s gentle yoga for anxiety workout is for you. In this 8 minute video, I’ll walk you through five gentle stress-busting yoga poses that you can do every day to stretch your muscles and switch off your mind.
It’s very cool to be good at yoga these days, and part of me wishes I could do it better. But I don’t like the trendy heated studios, and I find it tough to slow down my busy brain for long enough to stay focused on the flow, so I don’t go all that often.
(And let’s be honest, I was just that never cool to begin with!)
Saying that, there are a few yoga poses that I love, and the five that I’m showing you in today’s video sit at the top of that list. These moves are the reason that I’ll try to hit the mat once every week or two, and they’re what I call on at home to soothe both body and brain.
As I’m not a yoga teacher or a particularly loyal student, I’m teaching this series in my novice way (pros: consider yourself warned). This sequence is designed to help you reduce anxiety and calm your central nervous system, which means we will be moving slowly.
Being able to slow down and enjoy the movement experience is much more important than the poses themselves. Don’t worry about getting from A-to-B with any great haste — this is about using the body to unwind the mind.
Here are the poses that you’ll be doing:
Here’s why you’ll like it: As a balancing pose, Tree will make you feel more grounded. You root one foot firmly on the floor as a reminder that you are secure and stable in your own life. In contrast, the lightness and length of the spine will help elevate your energy (and show you that there’s always room to grow).
Here’s what you need to know: Keep the lifted foot AWAY from the knee-cap; the foot can be placed above or below the knee.
Seated Spinal Twist
Here’s why you’ll like it: This pose is energizing for the spine, a great stretch in the shoulders, hips, and neck, and stimulating for the digestive system. When I feel anxious that my gut gets knotted up, so I use this pose to wring out that tension gently.
Here’s what you need to know: Sitting on a folded blanket will decompress your low back, and helpful to do if you’ve got tight hamstrings. Got back or neck issues? Move gently or avoid this posture.
(Modified) Legs-Up-The-Wall Pose
Here’s why you’ll like it: Reversing circulation in the legs relieves fatigue in the lower limbs. Some also say that changing the direction of blood flow gives you a new perspective on life. Check it out for yourself and see what you think.
Here’s what you need to know: This pose is an inversion, which means you need to avoid it if you have eye problems, such as glaucoma, or neck/back issues. You can also let your legs rest against the wall if that’s more comfortable for you.
Here’s why you’ll like it: Pigeon pose can feel pretty intense, but it’s important to do as tight hips can lead to back pain. Some yogis believe that those knots in your hips may represent energy blocks in your life. I think they may just come from sitting too much. Who knows!
Here’s what you need to know: For knee issues, you will want to take the modification OR try these hip stretches, including a seated-chair-pigeon pose (much more gentle on the knees and back).
Here’s why you’ll like it: This pose requires nothing of you. A rare thing for women these days. Savasana will help you tap into your parasympathetic nervous system by having your body relax and focusing on your breath.
Here’s what you need to know: If you feel low-back tension, place a rolled blanket under the knees. Once settled, focus on your breath, imagine that your body is melting through the floor and let thoughts come and go without blocking them or engaging with them.
Yoga For Anxiety: 5 Poses To Unwind Body & Mind
Now I’d Love To Hear From You
What daily practices do you use to help reduce anxiety? Let me know by leaving a comment below.