Yoga for stress relief: Try these exercises for relaxation

Are stress and restlessness getting on your nerves? Turn to yoga, where relaxation meets rejuvenation and stress bows down to serenity. Whether you have work-related stress, bedtime stress or even panic attacks, you can find a sense of calm with with this simple 5-minute yoga flow for stress relief specially curated for the occasion of International Yoga Day 2023. Let’s take a look at these tips of yoga for stress relief.

Yoga has long been recognized as a powerful tool for stress relief. Even scientific research supports its effectiveness in promoting relaxation and reducing stress levels. A study published in the Journal of Clinical Psychology in 2017 found that yoga interventions significantly reduced stress and anxiety levels in participants, compared to control groups. Yoga combines physical postures, deep breathing exercises, and mindfulness techniques, which work together to activate the parasympathetic nervous system and induce a relaxation response. By incorporating yoga into our daily routines, we can cultivate a greater sense of inner peace and fight problems like day-to-day anxiety, depression and restlessness.

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Yoga for stress relief

Let’s take a look at a yoga flow suggested by certified yoga instructor Swati Kain. It comprises 5 yoga poses for stress relief. Just take out 5 minutes a day if you’re a busybee, and see the difference.

1. Cat-Cow (Marjari Asana)

Begin this gentle yoga flow on all fours, aligning your wrists beneath your shoulders and knees under your hips. As you inhale, arch your back gently, lifting your gaze upward (Cow Pose). Exhale and round your spine, dropping your head towards the floor (Cat Pose). Flow smoothly between these two postures, synchronizing each movement with your breath. This gentle spinal flexion releases tension and leads to a stress-free day.

Also read: Back pain will be by-gone if you regularly do cat-cow pose

2. Child’s Pose (Balasana)

Transitioning from Cat-Cow, slowly shift your weight back, sitting on your heels. Lower your forehead to the mat, extending your arms forward or  alongside your body. Allow your breath to deepen, as you surrender to the comforting embrace of Child’s Pose. This restorative posture helps to calm the mind, release tension in the back, and provide a sense of inner peace.

child's pose for stress releif
Yoga can help you enhance your mood and alleviate stress. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

3. Downward Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana)

This yoga pose is great for stress relief. To do downward facing dog, tuck your toes under and lift your hips towards the sky, forming an inverted “V” shape with your body. Ensure a strong connection between your hands and the ground as you extend your spine with purpose. In this rejuvenating posture, focus on the elongation of your spine and the stretch through your hamstrings. Take slow, deep breaths, allowing any accumulated stress to melt away with each exhale.

4. Deep Breathing (Pranayama)

Sit comfortably, either cross-legged or on a chair, and close your eyes. Bring your awareness to your breath, gradually deepening each inhale and extending each exhale. Inhale deeply through your nose, filling your belly, chest, and lungs with fresh air. Exhale slowly, allowing any tension to release with each breath. Continue this deep breathing technique for several minutes, centering your mind and soothing your nervous system.

5. The Humming Bee Breath (Bhramari Pranayama)

To get relief from stress, settle into a position that feels comfortable for you, gently closing your eyes to invite a sense of calmness. Place your index fingers on your ears, pressing the cartilage lightly to block external sounds. Take a deep breath in, and as you exhale, create a soft humming sound by vibrating your vocal cords. Feel the soothing resonance travel through your entire being, calming your mind and releasing stress. Repeat this practice for several rounds, allowing the gentle hum to restore your inner tranquility.

pranayama for stress relief
A superb breathing technique for stress reduction! Image courtesy: Adobe Stock

By cultivating mindful movement and intentional breathing, this soothing practice can help you release tension, find balance, and embrace inner calmness. Dedicate time to yourself and make this gentle yoga flow a part of your self-care routine, allowing stress to fade away and serenity to take its place.

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