7 Powerful Stress-Relieving Yoga Poses

7 Powerful Stress Relieving Yoga Poses

Yoga is so much more than improving flexibility and balance. One of the top benefits (and a personal favorite!) of implementing a regular yoga practice is stress-relief. I find that regularly practicing yoga, regardless of whether it’s in a studio or at home, significantly reduces stress (something I am always working on) in addition to relieving physical tension and calming the mind.

In fact, I recently took an extended break from yoga and now that I am practicing regularly again, stress-relief has been one of the most significant benefits I’ve seen.

In my recent poll over on Instagram, many of you voted ‘stress-relief’ as one of your top motivations for practicing yoga, so I’ve gathered together 7 powerful stress-relieving yoga poses that will release physical tension and reduce overall stress. Remember, deep breathing is essential to any effective yoga practice, especially when the goal is stress-relief.

7 Powerful Stress-Relieving Yoga Poses

7 Powerful Stress Relieving Yoga Poses 4Downward-Facing Dog

Benefits:

  • Stretches shoulders and hamstrings
  • Relieves stress
  • Strengthens arms and legs

How to do the pose:

Starting on your hands and knees with your shoulders slightly in front of wrists and your hips directly above your knees, tuck your toes under. Exhaling, press against the floor and raise your hips toward the ceiling. Keep your hands pointed forward and your arms straight. Press your heels toward the floor and press your shoulders away from your ears. Keep your head in between your arms and hold for 30 seconds to 2 minutes.

7 Powerful Stress Relieving Yoga Poses 57 Powerful Stress Relieving Yoga Poses 7
Cat/Cow Pose

Benefits:

  • Relieves stress
  • Stretches chest, spine, and neck
  • Improves breathing

How to do the poses:

For cat pose, start on hands and knees. Exhale, rounding your spine upward and dropping your head between your arms. Keep your hips tucked in and engage your core muscles.

To move into cow pose from cat pose, inhale and arch your spine, lifting your head to look upward. Lift your chest forward and your sit bones toward the ceiling. Remember to move with your breaths between these two poses, exhaling for cat and inhaling for cow pose.

 

Related Post: 7 At-Home Yoga Poses for Beginners

7 Powerful Stress Relieving Yoga Poses 3Standing Forward Bend

Benefits:

  • Stretches hamstrings, spine, and hips
  • Improves posture
  • Strengthens spine

How to do the pose:

From mountain pose, inhale and raise your arms overhead. Bend forward over your legs as you exhale, keeping your back as flat as possible. Lengthen the spine and bring your arms to the mat (this mat is my favorite for all forms of yoga) or reach around to hold your legs. You can also bend your knees to make the pose more accessible. Hold 1-4 minutes and breathe deeply.

 

7 Powerful Stress Relieving Yoga Poses 2Seated Forward Bend

Benefits:

  • Improves digestion
  • Relieves stress and tension
  • Stretches hamstrings, spine, and shoulders

How to do the pose:

Sitting with your legs extended in front of you, flex your feet. Inhale as you lift your hands toward the ceiling and lengthen your spine. Exhale and bend forward from your hips as you lower your hands to your feet. Try to keep your back flat as you fold forward and keep your neck in line with your spine, gazing down to the mat. Breathe deeply and hold for 1-2 minutes.

 

Related Post: 7 Yoga Poses that Boost Cleansing and Detox

 

7 Powerful Stress Relieving Yoga Poses 1Bridge Pose

Benefits:

  • Stretches chest and spine
  • Improves digestion
  • Stimulates thyroid

How to do the pose:

Lying on your back, bend your knees and place your feet on the floor. Your feet should be close enough to your hips that your hands can reach your heels. Keep your knees hip-width distance apart. Raise your hips off the mat and stretch your neck away from your shoulders. Lift your hips as high as possible. Optional: inch your shoulders under your upper body and bring your hands together to create a fist. Press your hands into the mat. Hold for 30 seconds-1 minute.

 

7 Powerful Stress Relieving Yoga Poses 8Upward Facing Bow Pose

Benefits:

  • Stretches chest and spine
  • Stimulates thyroid
  • Strengthens thighs and glutes

How to do the pose:

Similar to bridge pose, start lying on your back. Bend your knees and place your feet on the floor. Your feet should be close enough to your hips that your hands can reach your heels. Keeping your knees hip-width distance apart, bend your elbows and place your hands on the mat near your head, fingers pointing toward your body. Exhale. Straighten your arms and press up through your legs, lifting your hips and torso off the mat. Hold for 5-30 seconds. To come out of the pose, bend your arms and tuck your neck as you slowly lower down to the mat.

 

7 Powerful Stress Relieving Yoga Poses 6Supported Shoulderstand

Benefits:

  • Stretches shoulders and neck
  • Improves digestion
  • Relieves stress

How to do the pose:

Lying on your back, raise your legs upward, keeping them as straight as possible. Bend your elbows and bring your hands to your low back as you raise your torso off the mat. Tuck your tailbone in and keep your core engaged. Avoid turning your neck. If you need extra support in this pose, place a folded blanket below your shoulders. Breathe and hold for 30 seconds minimum.

 

*All photos of yoga poses courtesy of YogaStudio App, one of my 9 Must-Have Health Apps.

Please note that these poses can be modified if needed. Remember to breathe deeply to experience maximum benefits from these poses.

Have you tried any of these yoga poses? Do you have a go to stress-relieving yoga pose?

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Hannah Smith

Hannah is the founder of Healthfully Hannah and is a nutrition professional empowering women to live healthfully through science-based, step-by-step guidance. Read Hannah’s health journey that led her to discover the power of Functional Medicine and Nutrition. Get in touch with Hannah right here.


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