Science is finally catching up on the many benefits of yoga. A recent study compared the amino acid – GABA – in individuals who practice yoga regularly. The levels were significantly higher for yoga practitioners compared to individuals who walk on a regular basis. This amino acid, GABA, has been found to be essential for a well-functioning central nervous system and brain. The amino acid will promote a feeling of calmness inside your body. A low GABA level is a major cause of stress, anxiety, and depression.
Yoga also has many other documented benefits such as an enhanced immune system, insulin secretion, and energy metabolism. Insulin is important for the production of serotonin. It not only regulates sugar but helps stimulate the production of serotonin too.
One of the many reasons Yoga can be so effective is because it can help release tension and lower the cortisol levels in your body. When a person is stressed out, he or she has an elevated level of stress hormone – cortisol.
By practicing yoga, you will also help to improve your posture, which will also have a positive effect on your mood.
There is a physiological connection between posture and mood. When your lungs and heart become lifted, you are in a position to breathe more deeply, and the thoracic spine begins to elongate, thus improving your posture and mood.
Although these are simple things, they can have a great impact on your physiological and mental state.
Yoga also teaches an individual the art of self-study. Whether you want to improve your physical or mental state or want to improve any other part of your life, yoga will teach you how to deal with these situations without any stress or anxiety.
So, you can see that yoga has a lot of great benefits to offer.
Below are some simple yoga poses that will offer the best physical and mental health benefits to you. Yoga and mindfulness practices can help anxiety and there are specific yoga poses that can allow you to reduce stress and depression in the long run.
Yoga Poses For Stress Relief
1.) Standing Forward Bend – This pose will help improve upper body circulation while calming and energizing your body.
- Stand with your feet parallel to the ground.
- The hip should be width apart and toes pointing forward.
- Breathe in while stretching your spine upwards.
- Your arms should be straight above the head with palms facing in.
- As you breathe out, extend the body and hips forward while bending from your hips.
- Try to bring your hands towards the floor.
- If they are unable to touch the ground, make sure they, at least, touch your legs.
- The body should be very close to the front of your thighs in this position.
2.) Extended Puppy Pose – This pose is a cross between a child’s pose and a downward-facing dog’s pose. It will help release tension in your upper body while lengthening your spine. It will calm your mind as a result.
- You need to begin on all fours.
- Make sure you stretch your hands far enough so that you can drop the chest towards the floor.
- Your arms should be straight at this point.
- The hips should be rested on your knees while the arms should be shoulder-width apart.
- Place the forehead on the floor and pull the hips back towards the heels.
- Hold this position for 1-2 minutes for the best results.
3.) Child’s Pose – This is a very calming pose. It will help quiet the mind and reduce stress and anxiety at the same time. It gently stretches your back which is great for the nervous and lymphatic systems too. Regular practice of this pose will teach you to consciously explore your breath.
- Start in a kneeling position.
- Drop the buttocks on your heels as you stretch the body and arms down and forward.
- Hold this position for a few minutes, as it feels comfortable for you.
4.) Bridge Pose – This is another beneficial yoga pose that may help you relieve stress and anxiety quite effectively. This pose will stretch your neck, spine, hip, and chest. It improves the circulation in these areas. It will calm the brain and central nervous system. The position may also stimulate the abdominal organs, thyroid glands, and lungs. Help relieve the symptoms of menopause. Reduce fatigue, insomnia, and tiredness. It may even relieve symptoms of asthma and high blood pressure.
- Lie flat on the back with arms at your sides.
- Your palms should be down.
- Bend the knees and place your feet flat on the floor.
- Keep the feet hip-width apart.
- They should be parallel to each other.
- Now press the upper arms and feet to the floor and begin to lift your hips towards the ceiling.
- The weight of your body should be distributed equally inside and outside of your feet.
- Now, make sure you move the chest towards your chin.
- Keep the knees over the ankles.
- The buttocks should be firm but not clasped.
- Try to lift the hips as high as possible, but within your comfort level.
- Hold the position for 5-15 breaths.
Yoga is considered one of the best techniques to relieve stress and is easy enough that most people can do it. Just make sure to go at your own pace and not to overextend yourself.
You may want to give the above poses a try and see if you feel less stress or anxiety afterward.
It can be quite helpful to go to a yoga class in your area so that the instructor can help guide you more effectively. There are also many great yoga videos on Youtube that can show you the correct alignment of each pose.