5 Stress-Reducing Yoga Poses

Learn to go with the flow using these 5 mellow moves

March 21, 2014
reclining pigeon
1/6 Beth Bischoff

There’s loads of research out there showing that yoga reduces levels of the stress hormone cortisol, creating that Zen-like state of mind. These five yoga moves from Kimberly Fowler, founder of YAS Fitness Centers, will help calm your mind so you can mentally move past that tension-inducing midday meeting or post-work traffic jam.

knees to chest
2/6 Beth Bischoff
Knees to Chest

Lie on back, bring knees into chest, hug them, and rock from side to side.

Breathe deeply into lower back and with each exhalation, allow entire back to relax.

Hold this pose for at least 40 seconds.

easy spin twist
3/6 Beth Bischoff
Easy Spin Twist

One of Kimberly’s favorites, this easy spin twist can be done practically everywhere and is super easy to do.

From knees to chest pose, keep right knee pulled into chest and let left leg go straight onto the floor.

Take a deep breath and on your exhale, bring knee across the body.

Keep shoulder blades on the floor & look out over right shoulder.

Hold this for about 40 seconds & then switch sides.

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legs to wall
4/6 Beth Bischoff
Legs to Wall

Sometimes called the nurse’s pose, the legs to wall pose alleviates lower back pain.

Lie down with butt at the wall (or at least as close as possible).

Extend legs up the wall. Flex toes toward the torso and work on getting knees straight by extending the hamstrings.

Hold this pose for at least one minute.

reclining pigeon
5/6 Beth Bischoff
Reclining Pigeon

The great thing about this pose is that it releases hips and lower back, both of which are areas that we hold a lot of stress.

Remain on back and bring right leg on top of left thigh. Reach arms around right leg and grab your shin. (If you can’t reach your shin then grab the back of your thigh. Pull knee to your chest.)

Ideally hold this pose for 3 minutes. Fowler jokes “If you have tight hips, this isn’t fun!” When asked why yogis hold this pose for so long, Fowler explained that hip is the biggest joint in the body, which means that it does take a while to get the muscle and ligaments in the region to release.

After 3 minutes on one side, switch sides, and hold left side as long as the right.  A quick note: Don’t surprised if one side feels tighter than the other.

downward facing dog
6/6 Beth Bischoff
Downward Facing Dog

This is a great pose for stress relief because to opens and stretches the shoulders, lower back, AND hamstrings.

Come to all fours. Bring hands about should distances apart and feet hip distant apart.

Press into hands into the ground and lift butt toward the ceiling. Ideally, you should look like an inverted “V” shape. Try to get heels toward the ground and hips toward the ceiling. To loosen up further, take turns alternating bending your knees and bring movement to the pose.


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