5 Yoga Poses for Anxiety – Balance, Reconnect & Restore
In today’s fast paced world, it can be easy to neglect the need to recharge our batteries once in a while
Modern life can be demanding. Whilst advancements in technology have given us the ability to be super-productive, juggling – and achieving – multiple things at once, it has come alongside the expectation of being on-call at all hours. Leaving us with the feeling, where’s the ‘off’ button? Whether it’s a demanding boss, or financial worries keeping you up at night – or perhaps none of the above… One thing’s for sure – we all know what it’s like to feel a little overwhelmed.
Yoga provides the perfect opportunity to ‘switch off’, and reconnect. Moving the focus to our bodies allows us to divert attention away from swirling, negative or anxious thinking. And let’s face it, that kind of thinking does no one any good.
Here at AdventureYogi, we’ve compiled a list of some of our favourite yoga poses for easing anxiety. These basic poses are open to all abilities – yogi or non-yogi – and are powerfully relaxing and restorative. All that’s required is a mat, a quiet space and of course, the manic “Monkey Mind” himself…
Child’s Pose (Balasana)
Child’s pose is the ultimate restorative pose, proving a safe haven to return to when things start to overwhelm – on or off the mat. Aside from physically releasing tension in the back, shoulders and chest, Child’s pose also has a soothing effect on the mind. Positioning yourself in this way, with your head (or ‘third eye’) on the ground and eyes looking back towards you creates a feeling of safety and security. Sometimes when things start to get too much, we end up having the sensation of wanting to ‘curl up and hideaway’. Child’s pose is the perfect physical representation of this, providing a feeling of comfort and reconnection.
Legs Up The Wall Pose (Viparita Karani)
Legs Up The Wall pose is a beautifully simple restorative pose, and super as a go-to for calming an overactive mind. In putting ourselves in this position, we are essentially inverting the typical stances we take during the day. As such, we are allowing the nervous system to relax, whilst grounding ourselves. This feeling of being grounded is soothing in times of stress as it brings feelings of security, allowing us to bring our attention back to the present moment.
Seated Forward Bend (Paschimottanasana)
All forward bending poses are restorative and calming for the mind, but being seated allows you to really sink into the pose. In this position, our heart rate slows and our breathing relaxes, allowing us to turn our focus gently inward. Our head folding in towards our body provides a feeling of safety and relaxation, creating a comforting environment for our thoughts to unwind.
Bridge Pose (Setu Bandha Sarvangasana)
This heart opener can be of great help in moments of anxiety and insecurity. Often when we feel anxious, our body can end up tensing and scrunching up… In contrast, when we open our chests in this way we create feelings of expansion and freedom. Exposing the space around our heart takes the focus away from swirling thoughts, whilst proving a great stretch for the muscles along our back and legs.
Tree Pose (Vriksasana)
Balancing poses are great for quietening the mind as they literally anchor you in the present moment. And of course, it’s difficult to put any kind focus on negative thoughts when you’re trying not to fall over! On-going anxiety can end up leaving you feeling scattered, and unbalanced. Tree pose is great for combating this as it’s extremely grounding. A great tip in this pose is to try and visualise that there are roots growing down your legs directly into the earth below… Not only will this help keep you balanced, but it’s also very centring.