Flexibility,  Mental Wellness,  Yoga Poses

10 Beginner Yoga Poses for Stress Relief

I’ll let you in on a little tip that all of the best yogis know.

It’s that yoga isn’t just great for the body, but it is also a fantastic way to combat stress, anxiety, and depression.

By combining the breath, different poses, and meditation, many people are able to find quick relief from their emotional struggles through yoga practice.

As we move through the poses, we are able to release tension in the body and the mind.

Here we will work through a series of 10 yoga poses for stress relief for yogis of all levels!

Who can benefit from these poses?

  • Those who suffer from anxiety, stress, or depression
  • People who live with panic disorder and panic attacks
  • Anybody looking to reduce their anxious thoughts
  • Those who are looking for a mind-body experience

Try these poses when you need to feel connected to your body or when you need to quiet the mind.

Through regular practice, these poses are able to release tension in the mind and allow for a healthier mental state.

Hold each pose for 3 – 5 deep breaths.

Who’s ready to unwind?

#1 Downward Facing Dog

Downward facing dog pose in the gym.

Down dog has many benefits. It calms the mind, relieves fatigue, and improves focus.

It has all of these health benefits due to the fact that the head is below the heart. With the head below the heart, the brain gets much better blood flow.

  • Starting on your hands and knees with legs hip width apart, press into your feet
  • Raise your hips toward the ceiling until you feel a stretch down the back of your legs. Spread your fingers out wide
  • Push your heart towards the floor and try to straighten your spine
  • Pull your shoulders away from your ears and lengthen your neck and feel the stretch in your armpit area
  • Stretch your heels toward the floor

#2 Puppy Pose

Puppy pose in the gym.

Puppy pose is like the perfect combination of downward facing dog and child’s pose. It’s the perfect way to open the chest, stretch the shoulders, and stretch the spine.

  • Start on hands and knees
  • Walk the hands forward until you feel a stretch in the armpits
  • Drop the head to the floor
  • Allow a slight curve in the lower back

#3 Seated Forward Fold

Seated forward fold in the gym.

Seated forward fold is able to calm the nervous system, relieve stress, and massage the internal organs as you bend forward. It is also a fantastic stretch for the entire back side of the body.

  • Starting by sitting with legs straight out in front of you
  • Hinge forward at the hips
  • Straighten your arms to reach toward your toes
  • With each breath, relax a little deeper toward the legs

#4 Butterfly Pose

Butterfly pose in the gym.

Butterfly pose is a great way to release tension in the neck, legs, and spine. It targets the hips and hip flexors and allows the spine to be aligned.

  • Starting seated, bring the bottoms of your feet together and as close to your torso as is comfortable
  • Straighten your spine and pull your shoulders away from your ears, making your neck long
  • Relax your knees toward the ground with each breath
  • For more of a stretch, fold forward over your feet

#5 Child’s Pose

Child's pose in the gym.

Child’s pose allows us to gently stretch the back, while calming and centering the mind.

  • Starting on your hands and knees, rest your hips back towards the bottom of your feet
  • Press your chest to the ground
  • Stretch arms out straight in front of you, palms on the ground, until you feel the stretch in your armpit area
  • With each breath, relax your chest closer to the floor, deepening the stretch in your armpits

#6 Supported Shoulder Stand

Supported shoulder stand in the gym.

A great way to release tension, supported shoulder stand gets the blood pumping to the brain and helps to quickly put you in a good mood.

  • Start by laying on your back with the hands to your sides
  • Raise the legs toward the sky
  • Pull the shoulders together and move the hands to support the lower back
  • Straighten the legs to the sky and engage the thighs
  • Imagine creating a straight line from your toes to your shoulders

#7 Cobra Pose

Cobra pose in the gym.

Many of us tend to carry tension in our shoulders when we have a lot of stress. Cobra pose can be the perfect way to combat this!

By opening the heart and rolling the shoulders back, the lungs are able to expand fully and the spine is pulled into alignment.

  • Start by laying flat on your stomach
  • Plant the palms on the ground under the shoulders, squeezing into the ribcage
  • Lift the chest off the mat until you feel a nice backbend
  • Engage the core and thighs
  • Look toward the sky in order to keep the neck in line with the spine

#8 Cow Face Pose

The hips are another part of the body that often tend to hold onto stress and tension. Cow face pose is the perfect pose to release tension in the hips and lower back.

By focusing on lengthening the spine, cow face pose also allows us to improve the posture and strengthen the back.

  • Start by sitting with legs crossed
  • Adjust the top leg until the knee is stacked on top of the other
  • Wiggle your feet up as close to your hips as possible
  • Reach one arm up and over the shoulder as the other arm reaches back behind to meet fingertips
  • Lengthen the spine and look straight forward in order to keep the neck in line
  • Repeat with the other leg on top

#9 Bridge Pose

Bridge pose in the gym.

By gently stretching the spine, bridge pose is a great way to relax the back and shoulders. It also pulls the hips into alignment with the rest of the spine and releases tension between the vertebrae.

  • Begin by laying on your back with knees bent, and feet planted on the ground under the knees
  • Keeping the knees hip width apart, press into the feet and raise the hips toward the sky
  • Shimmy the shoulders together and clasp the hands together under the back
  • Press the chest toward the sky

#10 Supine Twist

Supine twist in the gym.

Supine twist is a relaxing way to open the shoulders, loosen the lower back, stretch the muscles surrounding the spine, and improve digestion!

Any spinal twist is perfect for cleansing the digestive system. By twisting, we massage internal organs with the surrounding muscles.

  • Start by laying on your back with knees bent and the bottoms of the feet resting on the ground
  • Spread the arms out to either side to help stabilize you
  • Let the knees drop toward the ground to one side and extend the bottom leg
  • Try to keep both hips on the ground
  • Rest the hand on the same side on top of the knees, to help deepen the twist
  • Look back toward your outstretched arm to keep the neck in line with the spine
  • Repeat to the other side

Feeling nice and relaxed?

When practiced regularly, these poses can help to alleviate stress, anxiety, and depression. Additionally, they can also help to relax those who suffer from insomnia.

What do I need before I get started?

You don’t need anything in order to start practicing yoga except for your own motivation!

However, having some of these props and things can be helpful and can make us feel more motivated and confident in our practice!

Here are some of my favorites :

I hope you’ve enjoyed this series of yoga poses for stress relief!

Which one of these poses is your favorite? How have these poses helped to relieve your stress, anxiety, or depression? Inspire others by commenting below!

If you want to see more yoga poses for beginners, sequences, challenges, and workshops in the future, subscribe to the email list!

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