Anxiety can strike any time, any day. When it does, do you know what to do to help minimize it?
For starters, laying off the caffeine and sugar is a good idea since these stimulating substances often make anxiety worse. Other than that, breathing deeply and engaging in some type of calming activity can help soothe your nerves, get rid of that tight feeling in your chest, and get your mind right again.
If you can get away from your hectic everyday life for a few minutes, consider taking the time to go through a quick yoga sequence of anxiety-relieving poses. Here are just five that can help.
Cat-Cow (Marjaryasana Bitilasana)
Getting on your hands and knees to alternate between arching and rounding your back helps to gently massage your entire back and core while eliminating any tension or discomfort in this area, making it a powerful stress reliever. Exhale as you round your back as much as possible into cat pose and inhale into cow pose to synchronize the breath with the flow of movement.
Legs Up the Wall (Viparita Karani)
Lying down flat on your back with your legs straight up in the air as close to a 90-degree angle as your flexibility allows helps to calm the nervous system and regulate blood circulation throughout the body. You don’t necessarily need to have a wall around to place your legs up against, but it helps. Maintain this pose while you complete 5 to 10 deep breaths (or as many as you like) to rid your mind of anxious thoughts.
Seated Forward Bend (Paschimottanasana)
Sitting with your legs straight out in front of you while bending your upper body to stretch your arms toward your toes does wonders for the lower back, hamstrings, hips, abdomen and pelvic area. It’s an ideal pose for cultivating inner peace and for self-reflection. Remember to keep your feet flexed and your knees soft as you reach as far forward as you can while pointing your forehead down toward your legs. As you exhale, lean forward a bit more into the pose.
Child’s Pose (Balasana)
If you’re a yogi, then you must already know that child’s pose is one of the main resting poses — making it a perfect pose for reducing anxiety and promoting calmness. You can stretch your arms out in front of you or alternatively lengthen them out in the opposite direction toward your feet as you sit on your knees and bend forward. It’s also just a great pose overall for beginners and those who still have a lot of work to do on their flexibility.
Often integrated into many yoga sequences as the last pose of the practice, corpse pose is meant to get you totally relaxed and present. Although it looks as simple as lying down on your back with your palms facing upward and feet naturally fallen outward, corpse is sometimes described to be one of the most challenging poses because of how active the mind tends to be. Focus on relaxing each muscle and each thought at a time, and use it as a starting point for meditation if you wish.
All or any individual one of these poses can help next time you start to feel stress or anxiety set in. Take a few minutes for yourself and you’ll be on your way back to a much calmer state of mind and body in practically no time at all.