There’s no quick fix for anxiety, and the same things don’t always work for everyone. One method that studies have shown to be of benefit for a significant number of people is the practice of yoga. With an emphasis on mind-body connection and a focus on the breath, yoga can help you center your thoughts and quiet your mind. It isn’t always instant, and your results will vary, but what matters is that you keep coming back to your mat. If you integrate a regular practice into your routine, you will likely begin to experience anxiety-relief in a short amount of time.
Not all yoga poses are best for anxiety, though. Some are best for getting energized or for increasing concentration. To make it simple, we’re showing you how to do four yoga poses that can offer relief from anxiety. Feel free to make these poses your own and to hold them for as many breaths as feels useful to you. The best part? You can do these at home in the comfort of your own apartment.
First, we’ll explain Cat pose. Begin on your hands and feet in tabletop position. Your hands should be parallel to your shoulders, and your knees should be below your hips. On an exhale, round your spine and tuck your tailbone while keeping your hands and feet in place. On your exhale, begin Cow pose (below).
Begin on hands and knees. On an inhale, drop your belly and reach your tailbone towards the sky while lifting your gaze forward. On your exhale, tuck your chin to your chest and return to Cat pose. Repeat Cat/Cow pose as many times as you’d like.
Start on your hands and knees in Tabletop position. Put your big toes together and spread your knees, so they’re the length of your mat (or at least as close as feels comfortable). On an exhale, bend forward and slowly begin lowering your hips while extending your arms outward, palms planted on your mat until you’re sitting on your heels. Allow your forehead to rest on your mat (It’s times like this when yoga mat spray comes in handy!). With each breath, let your body melt further into your mat.
Begin in a standing position with your feet hip distance apart. On an exhale, begin bending at your waist, allowing your knees to bend as much as they need to. Bend until you can grab the backs of your ankles with your hand. Take a few deep breaths in this position.