Today, yoga is considered the panacea for stress and stress related disorders, all over the world. What makes it so powerful and effective is the fact that it works on the principles of harmony and unification. Yoga sees the body and mind as one entity. According to Nityatara Raina, who is a yoga therapist at Sir HN Reliance Foundation Hospital, Mumbai, "The gross form of the mind is the body and the subtle form of the body is the mind. The practice of asana integrates and harmonizes the two. Both the body and mind harbour tension or knots, and the aim of asanas is to release these knots."
Yoga Asanas For Stress Relief:
Nityatara Raina said, "What is vital and mandatory is that asanas are performed with breath awareness. The rule of thumb with breathing during most asanas is- inhalation when movement is in upward direction/against gravity and exhalation when movement is in downward direction/towards gravity."
She also mentioned some stress relieving asanas that will not just release stress but also strengthen your stress coping mechanism:
An excellent asana for a stressed state. It soothes the nerves and cools the mind. An asana which needs to be held for 3-5 minutes. Gradually one can build on the duration. Done regularly it will greatly enhance mental stamina.
2.TTK – acronym for Tadasana, Tiryaka tadasana and Katichakrasana:
Stress congests the spine and hampers the digestive system.
This unit of three simple standing asanas done five times each will enhance mental balance, improve spinal health, posture, digestion and relieve you of constipation. A feeling of lightness will be experienced.
It is an asana that works on reproductive, thyroid glands bringing into harmony. It also releases tensions from the neck and shoulders. This asana becomes more efficient if held with abdominal breathing or ujjayi breathing.
4. Utthita Lolasana:
A wonderful asana to eliminate tiredness and negativity. It also enhances lymphatic drainage especially from the abdomen and the base of the lungs. It has the added benefits of inverted asanas especially on the brain.
One of the best asana to reinstate a feeling of confidence and optimism. This asana will bring back the energy and zest to get into life and face its challenges with courage and calm.
In addition to her, Naveen Sharma, who is the Yoga Lead at Cult.Fit also listed out some yoga asanas that help to get relief from stress:
6. Child Pose (Balasana):
In this pose, you sit on your heels, lean forward, and place your forehead on the ground, stretching your arms in front. It's like giving yourself a gentle hug. This pose helps to calm your mind and eases any tension in your back.
7. Cat Cow Pose (Marjaryasana-Bitilasana):
Get on your hands and knees. Arch your back as you breathe in and then round it as you breathe out. This move not only helps with back flexibility but also soothes your mind and reduces tension.
8. Downward Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana):
Starting on your hands and knees, lift your hips up and try to straighten your legs. It's a full-body stretch that strengthens your arms and legs and gives you a refreshing feeling.
9. Standing Forward Bend (Uttanasana):
Stand up tall and then bend over, trying to touch your toes. It's a simple move that helps calm your mind and can even help with headaches.
10. Bridge Pose (Setu Bandha Sarvangasana):
Lie down on your back, bend your knees, and lift your hips. This pose helps open your chest, refreshes tired legs, and makes you feel lighter in the mind.
11. Legs up the Wall Pose (Viparita Karani):
Find a wall, lie down, and place your legs up against it. This pose is a gentle way to relax, especially if your legs are tired. It also helps clear your mind.
12. Savasana (Corpse Pose):
Simply lie down flat, relax every part of your body, and breathe. This pose is all about total relaxation and finding a moment of peace.
13. Anulom Vilom (Alternate Nostril Breathing):
Sit down and relax. Use your fingers to close one nostril at a time and breathe in and out. This breathing technique helps balance your solar and lunar energy and reduces stress.
14. Bhramari (Bee Breathing):
Sit comfortably, close your ears with your fingers, breathe in, and as you breathe out, make a humming sound. This technique is like giving your mind a soft lullaby, helping you feel calm and focused.
Importance Of Pranayama In Relieving Stress:
Sabrina Merchant, who is an Internationally Certified Kids Yoga and Mindfulness Expert & Founder of Li'l Yogis, Mumbai said, "The practice of Pranayama in yoga is a great tool to release stress. It involves regulating breaths with different breathing techniques. There are innumerable benefits of practicing Pranayama. It reduces stress, blood pressure, improves the digestive system, helps you get quality sleep, helps the mind stay calm and unwind, helps with focus, concentration and a lot more."
"Practicing Pranayama on a daily basis helps improve mental health and boosts immunity, and the best part is that it can easily be done from the comfort of your home. These powerful breaths are soothing and fills the mind with positivity. It also empowers children who are dealing with a lot of emotions, stress and anxiety these days. Yoga helps them release stress and handle these emotions calmly," she further added.