Stress can build up in a variety of ways — from a taxing day at work to facing big changes at home. Regular stress can often lead to headaches, irritability, high blood pressure and poor sleep.
So what’s the best way to relieve that stress?
One avenue to pursue is practicing yoga or using a CBD oil. Many people have found that yoga helps them reduce stress, improve their emotional well-being and increase their flexibility. Below, we’ve compiled six simple yoga poses for stress relief.
How Does Yoga Promote Relaxation?
Stress from everyday life often arouses our body’s sympathetic system, which triggers our fight or flight response. Yoga practice can counteracts this response by regulating the nervous system through concentrated breathwork, mindful meditations and intensive body positions.
More specifically, studies have shown that yoga meditation can reduce your blood pressure and reduce the risk of heart disease, leading to an improved quality of life. Additionally, deep breathing can activate the vagus nerve, the branch of nerves at the top of the spinal cord that’s responsible for slowing the heart rate.
Much like CBD, yoga practice works to promote homeostasis within our body systems to create feelings of relief and relaxation. In addition to a sense of calmness, yoga also promotes:
- Strength, balance and flexibility
- Better sleep
- Improved moods
- Heart health
Follow along as we outline the six best simple yoga poses for stress relief.
Also called the Easy Sitting yoga pose, this position focuses on spinal alignment to create a relaxed but alert state within the mind and body. As such, it’s one of the best yoga poses for stress.
When performing Sukhasana, concentrate on distributing your weight evenly throughout your body and tightening your core to steady your base. While you will be engaging parts of your body, you should also feel comfortable while in the yoga pose.
- Place a yoga mat or cushion on the floor. Sit on the mat or cushion with your legs stretched out in front of you.
- Fold your left leg and place it inside your right thigh.
- Then do the same with your right leg, tucking it inside your left thigh.
- Place your hands on your knees with your palms facing up or down depending on your comfort level.
- Sit upright with your spine straight. Engage your core and distribute your body weight evenly for balance.
- Relax into the position and breath deeply.
- Stay in this position for as long as you’d like.
- You can also go into a forward bend while in the seated position to increase your exhale, which can increase your body’s sense of relaxation.
Wondering how to meditate during yoga? Sukhasana is also a beneficial position for meditation, which can be performed by concentrating on your breathing and mental state to achieve calmness and stress reduction.
The Uttanasa pose is a forward bend that aims to open the shoulders, relax the body and quiet the mind. In Sanskrit, the word “uttanasana” means “deliberate stretch.”
In fact, this pose stretches your entire posterior body, from the soles of your feet, through your legs and back, upward into your neck and down your forehead.
- Stand firmly on the ground with your feet a shoulder’s length apart (you can usually measure the distance by placing both of your fists side by side).
- Outstretch both of your arms into the air.
- Then, sweep your arms down to either side of your body.
- With your pelvis, bend forward from your hips.
- Place your fingertips in line with your toes. If possible, place your palms flat on your mat.
- Bend your knees slightly so that they’re not locked. Instead, engage your quad muscles.
- Be sure to put your weight on the balls of your feet and keep your hips over your ankles.
- Let your head hang.
- To come back up, inhale deeply as you place your hands on your hips. Contract your ab muscles and rise slowly.
This position can calm the mind and reduce feelings of stress or sadness. In addition, it can relieve headaches, promote sleep and stimulate your digestion.
Also known as a wide-legged standing forward bend, this position is very similar to Uttanasana. It strengthens and lengthens your hamstrings, calves, feet and spine. Additionally, it helps to relieve headaches and calm the mind.
- Standing in the center of your mat, stretch your arms outward at your sides.
- Widen your stance so that your feet are directly under your wrists and parallel to the mat. This will appear as a split-like position.
- Straighten your legs and place your hands on your hips. As you take a deep breath in, lift your chest and move it up and out while drawing your shoulder blades closer to one another.
- As you exhale, keep your spine straight as you bend your hips forward so that your torso is parallel to the floor.
- Touch your fingertips to the mat and put your weight on the balls of your feet.
- Lower your head so that it touches the mat and let it hang.
- Walk your feet back to the center and rise slowly on an inhale.
While Prasarita Padottanasana relieves stress, it can also relieve lower back pain, aid digestion, improve your posture and promote healthy sleep.
Sasangasana, or Rabbit Pose, offers a controlled stretch of the neck and spine. The pose itself regulates the nervous system to stimulate feelings of calmness. It can also be effective in relieving sinus problems and head colds due to its impact on the thyroid and parathyroid glands.
- Place a folded blanket on the ground and come into a kneeling position with your knees on the blanket a hip distance apart. Tuck your toes under.
- Inhale as you reach your hands back and grasp your heels.
- On your exhale, drop your chin toward the center of your collarbones as you slowly bend forward to place the crown of your head on the ground.
- Make sure your head rests in front of your knees.
- Breath normally as you raise your pelvis as high as possible and your chin rests against your chest. Continue until your thighs are almost vertical.
- Place your weight in your hands so you don’t put extra stress on your neck.
- Broaden your shoulders and breathe deeply for three to five breaths.
- Come out of the pose slowly by lowering your pelvis, releasing your heels and lifting your head as you inhale.
Be aware: If you start to feel a cramp in your side while performing the pose, you may be pushing your body past its limit. You’ll want to widen your hips and bring them back toward your heels to promote fuller breaths.
Marjaryasana / Bitilasana
Also known as the Cat-Cow Pose, this dual position stretches your spine and incorporates synchronized breathing to relieve stress within your mind and body. It provides a gentle flow in which practitioners can clear their minds and concentrate on slow, full movements.
- Start on your hands and knees with your wrists directly under your shoulders and your knees directly under your hips. Make sure your shins and knees are hip-width apart.
- You’ll first move into Cow Pose, or Bitilasana, by dropping your belly toward the mat while lifting your chin and chest toward the ceiling.
- Broaden your shoulder blades and make sure your shoulders are drawn away from your ears.
- Move into Cat Pose, or Marjaryasana, by drawing your belly back toward your spine as you exhale.
- Round your back toward the ceiling and release your head toward the floor.
- Inhale back into Cow Pose and exhale into Cat Pose for five to twenty sequences.
The two Cat-Cow movements also stimulate the kidneys and adrenal glands to help regulate your metabolism, immune system, blood pressure and stress response.
Bhujangasana is the Sanskrit word for “snake” and is appropriately and commonly known as the Cobra Pose. This position opens the chest and stretches the shoulders to boost your energy, promote a good mood and fight fatigue.
- Lie with your stomach touching the floor. Stretch your legs back so that the tops of your feet are also touching the floor.
- Place your hands on the floor so that they’re under your shoulders.
- As you inhale, press your thighs and feet to the floor and straighten your arms so that you lift your chest off the ground.
- Narrow your hips and engage your buttocks as you perform the backbend.
- Hold the position for up to 30 seconds and release your body back to the floor as you exhale.
Performing Bhujangasana also stimulates the abdominal organs to aid digestion.
Relieve Stress With Zebra CBD
Performing yoga flows in the morning or before bed can be a great way to relieve stress, clear your mind and regulate your nervous system. It also has fantastic physical benefits as well, improving your strength, flexibility and digestion.
In addition to yoga, implement Zebra CBD into your relaxation routine.
We offer a variety of premium CBD products made with hemp extract that’s tested for potency using certified independent, third-party labs to ensure transparency in our labels. Additionally, each of our products is tested for heavy metals, microbial and unnatural pesticides and herbicides so you can rest assured that you’re only putting the best into your body.