9 Yoga Poses to Reduce Stress and Anxiety

Stress is slowly killing you.

10% of strokes are caused by work related stress. 1 in 5 Americans suffer from extreme stress. This includes heart palpitations and depression. Of all the human illnesses and disease, stress is the root cause of 60% of them. That is madness! We must make a much larger effort to reduce stress in our lives!

Entrepreneurs know all about stress. Getting up early and staying up late (do we even know what the word “sleep” means?). Being the boss and the social media manager. Pouring yourself into your business. Thinking always, “if I can just get this done then I’ll relax”. But one thing leads to another and when you finally look up, it is 10pm. Where did the day go?

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When you have your own business it’s hard to unplug. We feel like we’ll miss something important or people will say we’re not dedicated. We don’t really want it. But if you ignore your body, eventually it’s going to say “enough is enough.” Whether that’s in the form of a migraine or a ruptured appendix.

Adrianna Huffington got an extreme wakeup call while trying to build The Huffington Post. She collapsed and hit the side of her desk resulting in a broken cheekbone and a gash above her eye. This was from pure exhaustion. And in China, the word guolaosi is used when someone had died from over working aka working themselves to death.

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We’ve got to start taking time for ourselves. In the end it’s not only better for our bodies but also our business.

We’ve got to start taking time for ourselves. In the end it’s not only better for our bodies but also our business.

Yoga is the perfect activity to reduce stress.

Having a regular yoga practice:

  • Lowers blood pressure
  • Builds focus
  • Boosts self esteem
  • Improves concentration and creativity
  • Helps you get a better night’s sleep
  • Eases pain
  • Increases energy
  • Strengthens immune system
  • Reduces headaches

These are 8 yoga poses that will reduce your stress and anxiety. These effects can be felt almost immediately. Before you get started, start to cultivate your breath with this free breathing printable.

Extended Puppy Pose

Think of it as a cross between child’s pose and downward facing dog.

  1. Get on all fours with your shoulders stacked over your wrists and your hips stacked over your knees. The top of your feet should be relaxed down on the mat.
  2. Slowly walk your hands out in front of you, lowering your chest down toward the ground. Keep your hips over your knees and your arms shoulder distance apart. Slowly lower your forehead down to the ground. It’s ok if it doesn’t touch.
  3. Press into the palms of your hands and lift your elbows and forearms away from the ground. Let your knees hover over the mat.
  4. Relax your neck and breathe.

Benefits:

  • Lengthens the spine
  • Calms the mind
  • Invigorates the body
    Relieves symptoms of chronic stress, tension, and insomnia

Head-to-Knee Forward Bend

  1. Sit on the floor with your legs straight in front of you.
  2. Bring your right foot into your left thigh. Try to get it as high as you can.
  3. Move your right leg out slightly, to a 45 degree angle.
  4. Exhale, then slowly bend over your right leg. Grab your toes, ankle or shin.
  5. Switch and do the other side.

Benefits:

  • Calms the mind
  • Helps relieve mild depression anxiety, fatigue, headache, menstrual discomfort and insomnia

Seated Forward Bend

  1. Sit with both legs stretched out in front of you. Keep your feet flexed.
  2. Exhale and lower your forehead toward your knees.
  3. Grab your toes, ankles or shins.

Benefits:

  • Relaxes a distracted mind
  • Relieves stress and anxiety
  • Improves digestion
  • Relieves symptoms of PMS and menopause
  • Reduces fatigue

Cow Pose

  1. Get on all fours with your shoulders stacked over your wrists and your hips stacked over your knees. The top of your feet should be relaxed down on the mat.
  2. Lift your chin up and drop your belly to the mat.
  3. Look toward the sky arching your tailbone upward.

Benefits:

  • Calms the mind
  • Stimulates organs in the belly
  • Creates emotional balance

Cat Pose

  1. Get on all fours with your shoulders stacked over your wrists and your hips stacked over your knees. The top of your feet should be relaxed down on the mat.
  2. Round your spine upward dropping your tailbone down as you look back at your thighs. You should look like a Halloween cat.

Benefits:

  • Gentle massage for the spine and belly organs
  • Stimulates digestive tract

Legs Up On the Wall

  1. Lay on your back with your feet up on the wall. The soles of your feet should face the sky.
  2. Try and get your bum as close to the wall as possible. If needed, place a pillow under your lower back for support.

Benefits:

  • Helps with mild depression, insomnia
  • Eases menstrual cramps

Tree Pose

  1. Stand firmly with both feet on the floor.
  2. Slowly bring more weight into your left foot.
  3. Lift your right foot slowly off the ground bringing it to your shin or inner thigh. If this is too much just raise the heel of your right foot.
  4. Press your palms together in front of your heart in a prayer position.

Benefits:

  • Eases anxiety
  • Promotes concentration, focus and awareness

Fish Pose

  1. Lie on your back on the floor with your knees straight.
  2. Place your hands comfortably under your bum palms on the floor. Keep your arms close by your sides.
  3. Lift your upper back and head off the floor.
  4. Slowly rest the back of your head or the crown of your head on the floor. You should be looking behind you. If this is too much on your back bend your knees.

Benefits:

  • Helps with insomnia
  • Combats fatigue

Forward Fold

  1. Stand straight with feet together.
  2. Slowly bend at the waist.
  3. If you can’t touch your toes grab both elbows and left gravity do the work.

Benefits:

  • Calms your mind
  • Reduces fatigue and anxiety
  • Improves digestion

So the next time you feel overwhelmed or the day is getting the best of you… stop. Take a break. Try some of these poses. If you stick with it, over time your anxiety will improve and it will take more than a few clients to stress you out!

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Featured Image: Crystal Bos Photography