Yoga for Inner Peace: 8 Yoga Poses for Stress Relief

Yoga Teacher training in Dharamsala

Easy Pose

1. Sukhasana (Easy Pose) with Forwarding Bend
Adding a forward bend enhances the exhale, consequent upon the relaxation response.
Sit in Sukasana (Easy Pose), shins crossed with your right shin in front. Come into a slight forward bend. Stay for five breaths, and then put the other shin in front. Put your hands on the floor, and then straighten both legs into a Standing Forward Bend.


2. Uttanasana (Standing Forward Bend) with Shoulder Opener
Not only do forward bends enhance the exhalation, assisting to relieve stress, they also turn us inward. Plus, with the arms behind the back, we discharge shoulder tension. This pose also assists in releasing the hamstrings, which can get bound up when you are stuck in fight-or-flight mode.
When in Standing Forward Bend, use your front thigh muscles to actively draw your kneecaps up toward your hips. With your fingers bind and your arms behind your back, lift your arms any amount away from your back. Hold for five breaths, then change the interlace by putting the other index finger on top and stay for another five breaths. Take your hands to your hips, and your thumbs to the top of your behind. Pull down the flesh of your buttocks to the floor to push you up to stand. Take a giant step out to the right.

Wide Legged Standing Forward Band

3. Prasarita Padottanasana (Wide-Legged Standing Forward Bend )
This pose has the benefits of a forward bend with the relief of the head touching a prop, which also releases some of the pressure in the head.
Twist your feet parallel to each other and put your hands on your hips. Breathe in, lift your chest, and with a breathe out, bend forward from your hip joints to come into a forward bend. Put your hands on the floor, shoulder-distance apart, fingers in line with your toes. Liberate your head toward the floor. If your head does not reach the floor, you can place it on a block. Hold the pose for ten breaths. Breathe in, come to a flat back, take your hands to your hips, and drop the flesh of your buttocks to come to stand. Heel-toe your feet together and step to the front of your mat to transit into Child’s Pose. Take your knees to the floor, sit on your heels, and fold forward with your head on the floor.

Rabbit Pose

4. Sasangasana (Rabbit Pose)
I find this to be one of the best poses when I am exhausted, stressed, and bordering on panic. It is safe. It almost feels like what the body wants to do. You fell the relax of the exhale and comfort of being curled up in a ball. When you add the hands bind behind your back and raising and lowering your hips, you also get a shoulder release and the nurturing quality of rocking.
From Child’s Pose, interlace your fingertips behind your back, raise your hips, and roll to the crown of your head. Keep pressing the tops of your feet down, so that you can monitor the amount of weight on your head. Take your hands any amount away from your back. Lower down, change the interlace, lift your hips, and roll to the crown of the head again. Rise up and lower three times on each side, changing the interlace each time. Create a rhythm with the movement and breath.

5. Vajrasana (Thunderbolt Pose) with Garudasana (Eagle) arms
This is a simple way to set, and we add a shoulder release with Eagle arms. This pose also makes a broad back, which is adverse of what happens when we are stuck in stress mode. Generally, we push and squeeze the back to propel us forward.
Kneel down and sit back on your heels. For Eagle arms, twist your elbows and fetch the right elbow into the left, with the backs of your hands facing each other, and then 0pass your right hand in front of your left and bring the palms together, thumbs pointing toward the tips of your nose (grab your wrist if you ca not press your palms together). Hold for five breaths, then reverse your arms and hold for five breaths.

6. Side stretch
This stretch will release the head, shoulders, and neck.
Take one hand to the floor, walk it away from the body, and lose your head to your ear, with your other arm over your head. Repeat from the other side.

Plow Pose

7. Halasana (Plow Pose)
Plow releases the head, shoulders, hamstrings, and neck. It also increases the exhale and turns one inward.
Lie down with your head on the mat. Swing your legs back and over your head and rest your toes on the floor. Hold for ten breaths. Slowly roll out of Plow, keeping your head back so it does not whiplash forward when the legs and torso touchdown.

8. Savasana (Corpse Pose) with blocks on head
This transformation of Savasana uses blocks on the head: one to fixed, and one that is resting on the forehead to calm the mind.
Lie down on your back with your legs straight, heels gradually apart. Wiggle around until you are comfortable, and then take your arms side by side your torso with your palms facing up. If you have never done this before, you must try the blocks on your head to perceive the depth of relaxation and solace that they bring. The noble touch of the block that rubs the skin of your forehead toward the nose calms the nervous system in the equal way that a touch from someone you love can make you melt. It also decreases the pressure in the head that builds up when we are stressed. Place one block on the ground about three inches above the crown of your head (the block should be at its highest height). Put the second block on the one that is above your head and angle it down to rest on your forehead. Stay in the pose for five to ten minutes.

Author: Dr. Sushil Yogi


5 thoughts on “Yoga for Inner Peace: 8 Yoga Poses for Stress Relief

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