*Disclaimer- if you believe that you need medical help for anxiety, stress, or depression, please see your doc! Using yoga to reduce anxiety is simply my personal opinion based on my own research and personal success.
I love yoga. There. I said it. Can you believe it? Me. The weight lifting, crazy runner girl coach from Arkansas, loves to do yoga. Yoga has helped with my anxiety tremendously and it really is something that I have incorporated into my routine.
Let’s start with a soap box, shall we?
Sometimes there are bloggers that try to create “expert lists” of different things and sometimes you’re not even sure that they practice what they preach.
The internet is a hodgepodge of lies and glass mirrors. It’s full of people pretending to be experts in a certain field, when in reality, it is all a facade. This is why I never recommend downloading just any free workout plan that you see on Pinterest or a blog without checking the creator’s credentials.
Okay, soap box over.
Now, before diving into some yoga poses to use to help bring heart rate down and put your mind at ease, let’s talk a little bit more about yoga.
First thing that you need to know is that there is more than one type of yoga. There are more relaxing practices of yoga and more intense practices.
Let me tell you a story.
A few years ago, probably 4 years ago at this point, I went to my very first yoga class. This was before I blogged or coached and I still worked in corporate America.
My job was a job of enforcing compliance, so there was quite a large group of folks that didn’t care for me. Which translated to me having a hard time making friends while there.
Well, one of the girls in the office, she was considered “one of the cool girls” (can we say high school drama?) invited me to a hot yoga class.
Well, thinking that all yoga was the same (again, this was before I had any of my current certifications) I went. I was expecting a calm and relaxing class.
GIRL. Let me tell you.
There was nothing RELAXING about that dang class. First of all, it was summertime in Arkansas which is 3 degrees cooler than the fires of hell and they opened the windows of the yoga studio AND turned on the heater.
When they say hot yoga, they mean HOT yoga.
I’ve always been an athlete and was no stranger to sweating but I’m pretty sure that I have never sweated so much in my entire life.
But, because I was with the “cool girl” in the office, I was determined I was not going to humiliate myself.
Well, I survived, but after that, I only went to the more relaxing yoga classes.
Which is what I wanted to tell you about today.
You don’t have to go to a yoga class to practice yoga poses to help you reduce anxiety. Harvard Medical School put out this little short article about yoga being related to anxiety and depression reduction, if you’d like to give that article a little gander.
Now! Let’s dive into my favorite yoga poses that I will do a lot of times in my home gym post workout and right before bed. My bedtime routine is almost to the level of sacred, y’all and so important to getting ready to rest your body and get ready for a new day.
I’m an early bird because I have a business to run, clients to take care of, and a family to love on, so I have to get up and get stuff done, which means my sleep must be on point. More tips for bedtime routines here.
Okay! Let’s dive in.
Yoga Poses to Reduce Stress- Cat/Cow
Come to all fours and arch your back like a cat [imagine that] with yoru head down while taking a deep breath. Upon the exhale, relax your back down and let it dip the other directions while bringing your head up where the top of your head is parallel to the ceiling.
Repeat this back and forth motion several times in a slow and steady motion.
Yoga Poses to Reduce Stress-Child’s Pose
On all fours lower your butt until it is sitting on your calves and relax. Reach your hands to the opposite wall and wiggle your fingers. Deep breaths and allow your body to fully relax.
Yoga Poses to Reduce Stress- Downward Dog
On all fours and shift your weight back to your heels and push yourself up into a tent sort of shape. Be sure to not over arch your back and keep it nice and straight. Relax back into those heels and breathe deeply
Yoga Poses to Reduce Stress- Warrior Two
In the warrior two pose, your front foot will be flat on the ground with your knee bent and your back foot will be behind you and your back foot will be flat as well. Your arms will be out in a T position and your weight will be more on your front foot.
Tip- Be sure to check that back foot that the arch of your foot is parallel to your heel of your front foot.
Yoga Poses to Reduce Stress- Reverse Warrior
This one is a bit tough, but just relax and work through it. Your feet in the same position as warrior two, and then drop the arm over your back leg and arch your back as shown below.
Only go as far back as is comfortable with your back. This stretch should feel really good and it should not hurt at all.
There ya go. Those are my favorite yoga poses that help get my heart rate down and reduce my anxiety.
One final thing that I really like to do to help reduce my anxiety is to foam roll. If you’ve never foam rolled, you are missing out!
Where do you start with foam rolling?
First, you need a foam roller! They are not expensive at all and to be quite honest I’ve never seen one break. I’m sure they wear out at some point, but they last so well, I’ve never had to replace mine.
You can grab one on Amazon for around $15-$20 and they’re available for Prime shipping! Tip- Be sure to grab one that is 18 inches or longer! I’m sure you could get them at a Sporting Goods store but to be quite frank, I don’t really remember ever seeing one in either of my local shops. I have seen them on other websites and they’re way more expensive than Amazon. I’m all about a bargain and this is a bargain for a foam roller!
Once you have your foam roller, you’ll be ready to roll. Yep, pun intended because I tell super corny jokes a lot.
If you want, you can throw in your e-mail below and I will send you a free printable for 6 of my favorite foam rolling exercises. Plus, I’ll send you some other free stuff as well!
Don’t worry. I won’t spam you. I’ll send you a few free gifts in addition to your printable and then you’ll hear from me once a week for a weekly motivational newsletter!
Plus, you can unsubscribe at anytime and there won’t be any hard feelings 🙂
Are you ready to tackle some yoga?
While some people say it’s a bunch of hippie dippie nonsense, I say that they’re wrong. There’s something to it.
While I may not know all of the psychological science behind it, I do know that it has helped me and several of my clients.
Again, if you believe that your anxiety is more than just normal stress, don’t be afraid to go see your doc. There’s no shame in it at all.
Enjoy your yoga!