Yoga Therapy: How to Do Yoga for Stress Relief

When experiencing anxiety and stress, it’s often healthy to engage in some stretching and light physical activity. Practicing yoga therapy, or yoga for stress relief is an effective way to calm your mind and soothe tension. Let’s explore some yoga poses that you can incorporate yoga into your routine so you can experience the holistic benefits to both mind and body.

How Does Yoga Relieve Stress?

First things first: we need to understand how yoga relieves stress. 

Yoga decreases levels of cortisol, otherwise known as the stress hormone. It can lower depression and reduce mood swings by restoring dopamine and serotonin in the brain.

Yoga also triggers the parasympathetic nervous system that tells the mind and body to relax when it’s activated. It can also impact the vagus nerve, which researchers say allows people to move from feeling stressed to being more relaxed.

When you focus on deep breathing, you can lower your blood pressure, and decrease your heart rate. As you breathe and move in and out of poses, you can release tension and stress.

Statistics on Yoga for Stress Relief

There are a number of research studies that show the positive effects yoga can have on relieving stress. A 2018 study followed women who practiced yoga 3 times a week for 4 weeks. After 12 sessions, they experienced major reductions in stress and depression.

Another study done in 2020 followed adult men and suggested that yoga stretches can reduce cortisol levels and have a positive effect on parasympathetic nerve activity. This encourages relaxation. 

In a different study, people who did an 11-minute yoga Nidra meditation for 30 days reduced their stress levels and improved their sleep. In a follow-up 6 weeks later, the benefits remained.

Yoga for Stress Relief: 3 Poses to Try

Yoga for stress relief doesn’t have to be complicated. After all, if it was, wouldn’t that stress you out even more? That’s not what we’re trying to accomplish here. What we want is for you to feel less stressed, and these 3 easy poses will help to get you there.

Cat-Cow Pose

Connect your breath to your movements as you work to calm your mind and release stress. 

Start in a tabletop position and place your wrists underneath your shoulders, and your knees beneath your hips.

Next, turn your gaze toward the ceiling as you inhale. Allow your belly to move toward the may while arching your back.

As you exhale, draw your chin toward your chest and bend your spine toward the ceiling. Continue this flow between these two positions for 1 minute.

Legs-Up-The-Wall Pose

Sit on the floor facing the wall, with your body as close to the wall as possible.

Lie on your back and place your legs up the wall with straight knees. Make sure your hips are next to the wall or just a few inches away.

Put your arms alongside your body, or place one hand on your belly with one hand on your chest. Hold this pose for as long as 15 minutes.

Child’s Pose

This is a simple pose that screams relaxation.

Start in a kneeling position, placing your knees together or slightly apart. 

Sit back on your heels and hinge at your hips while folding forward. Rest your forehead on your mat.

Extend your arms in front of you or along your legs. Sink your torso into your thighs. Breathe deeply and focus on relaxing. Hold this pose for up to 5 minutes.

Getting the Most from Your Yoga Practice

When you do yoga for stress relief, we want you to get the most out of your practice. Here are some tips to get you on the right track.

Release negative thoughts.

If negative thoughts surface when you do yoga, try to focus on the present moment and bring your attention there. If you find yourself getting lost in your thoughts, try to bring your awareness back to your body and breath. This takes time, but if you keep at it, you’ll learn how to release negative thoughts.

Make life less stressful.

Besides adding yoga to your life, you can also do things to make life less stressful. Look at your schedule and see where you can make changes. This can include giving yourself more free time, eating better, or spending more time outdoors. 

Speak to your doctor.

Before starting any yoga practice, be sure to consult with your doctor to make sure that it’s the right move for you. If you suffer from sciatica pain or are looking to manage PTSD, there are other yoga poses that can help reduce the effects of those medical conditions. Again, always consult your doctor before engaging in a new physical routine.

Yoga for Stress Relief at The Yoga Connection

At The Yoga Connection, we bring private yoga therapy and yoga classes to the Raleigh area. We want to help you feel your best and manage stress effectively. That’s why we offer a variety of yoga classes for people at all levels. Whether you’re a beginner or have already been practicing, we offer many different classes in Johnston County. We even offer private and semi-private sessions

Call us today at  919-971-1431 or reach out to us online to learn more about how yoga can help relieve the stress in your life.