Ten-Minute Yoga Session to Relieve Anxiety and Stress

5 min read

Stress is monstrous. It can tear you apart inside and spit you out, feeling even worse. Thankfully, yoga and pranayama can be effective antidotes. Why, you ask?

You will immediately feel better if you are mindful of your breathing and body.

Next time you feel anxious or stressed, roll out your mat and do this 10-minute simple but effective yoga sequence. It will help you to forget all your worries.

Sukhasana (Easy Pose)

The essence of comfort is this basic posture. This is any simple sitting position that you find comfortable. You can sit up on a cushion, block, or bolster to elevate your hips for greater comfort.

Close your eyes and focus your attention on your breathing. Find a rhythmic breath that is slow and steady. Focus on your breathing to relax your mind. Let your thoughts pass by without focusing on them. Set an intention for the practice.

Nadhi Shodhana (Alternate Nostril Breath)

After you have reached a state of relaxation, perform this refreshing and relaxing pranayama. Nadhi Shodhana balances the two major energy pathways running through your body – the feminine and masculine energies, ida and, respectively, pingala. It can also lower your heartbeat and relax your mind to relieve anxiety and stress.

Draw your right hand towards your face while sitting comfortably. Rest your thumb very gently on your right nostril. Place your middle and first fingers at the center of your third eye (the space between eyebrows), and rest your ring on your left nose.

Continue breathing normally, taking deep, full breaths. Press your ring fingers together to block the left nostril on your next inhale. Completely inhale through your right nostril. Press your thumb against your right nostril to close it off. Release your ring finger and exhale out your left nostril.

Continue to use the same hand position as you inhale from the left nostril. Press down on the ring finger and let go of your thumb. This will allow you to exhale into the right nostril. Exhale from the left, inhale from the right. Exhale to the right, inhale from the left.

Continue to breathe in this manner, following a slow rhythm as long as you feel comfortable.

Marjaryasana/Bitilasana (Cat/Cow)

Remove any props under you and cross your ankles. Then, roll onto your all-fours. Align your elbows and knees under your shoulders.

Spread your fingers out and press evenly on all four corners of your hands. As you begin with a neutral spine and inhale, draw your shoulder blades together and relax your belly towards the floor. This will create a wider chest.

As you exhale, reverse directions. Reverse directions as you exhale. As you separate the shoulder blades, press down on your palms. Gaze at your navel and hug the belly button toward the back.

You can repeat this sequence, following your breath. Try to exaggerate your spine’s curvature to warm your entire back and release any tension you may have there.

Balasana is a child’s pose.

Once you are finished with the cat/cow movement, let your weight fall to your heels. Your forearms should also be lowered, and your forehead should be pressed into the floor. Relax into your breath.

If you feel any tension in your body, place a pillow between your seat and heels.

As you draw your attention back inward, take a few deep, long breaths. As you return your body to its Primary Curve, you will feel a deep compression of the hip joints. Your lower back will also round.

Paschimottanasana (Seated Forward Fold)

When ready, slowly rise to your feet and extend your legs in front. Sit tall and erect through your spine. Then, place your sit bones against the floor or on a block.

As you inhale, extend your arms upwards and, as you exhale your torso, let it fall forward on your legs. You can bend or straighten your knees, depending on what feels most vital for you. You can either rest your arms by your side or extend them outward. As you relax into this forward fold, close your eyes and breathe softly.

Viparita Karan (Legs Up The Wall Pose).

Slide yourself against an open wall when you are ready. Sit in a compact, small squat with one hip against the wall. You can release your hands and then press your palms together to move your legs up against the wall.

It would be best if you tried to get as close as you can to the wall while relaxing your torso on the floor. This will create an L shape between your upper and lower body. Place your sit bones against the wall. Let your legs fall to the floor. Imagine allowing the femur (your large and heavy thigh bone) to relax into your hip sockets.

Let the weight of the earth fall off your feet, and let your lower backrest on the floor. Relax your mind and close your eyes.

Find a place where you can be in silence, complete stillness, and total surrender. Let go of your worries and surrender to this moment. This is the only thing that matters.

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