6 Yoga Poses That Help You Breathe When You're Feeling Really Anxious
When you're feeling stressed or anxious, breathing deeply and fully is such an important and effective technique for putting your mind at ease. The power that your very own inhales and exhales hold can help quiet racing thoughts, and make you feel like a weight has been lifted off of you. And when it comes to yoga, there are so many yoga poses that can help you breathe, and in turn, soothe your stress within a matter of moments.
Flowing through a gentle, yet strong yoga sequence can help you focus on syncing your breaths with each of your movements and postures, making the entire practice highly meditative and calming. Whether you're participating in a moving meditation on your mat, or a seated meditation in which you observe your thoughts without judgment, practicing mindfulness helps regulate your breathing, and as a result, you'll be able to feel your stress slowly melting away.
Keep in mind, yoga and meditation certainly aren't cure-alls for stress and anxiety, and if these feelings are significantly interfering with your everyday life, it's in your best interest to speak to a professional about the best treatment for you.
But when it comes to finding little ways to manage uncomfortable thoughts and sensations, these six yoga poses will do wonders to help you combat stress, one breath at a time.
1. Easy Pose (Sukhasana)
Simply sitting in a comfortable seat might not seem like it has that much to do with your breathing, but this pose is actually a great way to start practicing deep breathing techniques.
Yoga pranayamas are very effective ancient breathing techniques that help ease anxiety and stress. Some breathing exercises you can implement while you're in easy pose are alternate nostril breathing or cooling breath, both of which can help release some of the stress that you're holding on to.
2. Sphinx Pose (Salamba Bhujangasana)
Sphinx pose is an incredible chest-opener, which is a key part of your body to work on when you're aiming to improve your breathing.
You can practice this asana either actively or passively. If you're actively putting in effort to deepen the backbend, your mind will be focused on the challenging task at hand, which will help quiet your anxious thoughts. And if you're passively resting in salamba bhujangasana, you can focus on taking deep, expansive inhales, and long, full exhales.
3. Cat-Cow Pose (Marjaryasana/Bitilasana)
Flowing through a cat-cow sequence won't just feel like a luxurious and rejuvenating stretch for all of your muscles; it'll also allow you to link each of your fluid and slow movements with each of your individual breaths.
Really accentuate each movement within your marjaryasana bitilasana flow, and notice how each shift in your body makes you feel as a whole.
4. Bow Pose (Dhanurasana)
Bow pose is another great, chest-opening movement that really stretches out the front of your body, along with your throat and hip flexors.
Believe it or not, according to the online fitness resource STACK, your diaphragm and your hip flexors are indirectly connected to one another through various muscles in the body. So, if your hip flexors are tight, it can actually make deep breathing more difficult to do.
Try taking hold of your ankles, and rise into a sweeping and beautiful bow pose. It doesn't matter how far you can go into the pose; listen to your body, and only take this backbend as deeply as feels good for you.
5. Wild Thing (Camatkarasana)
The playfulness of wild thing will take your mind off of any worries that are clouding your head space, and the heart-opening movement here will allow you to breathe as deeply as ever.
As camatkarasana works to open up your chest, lungs, and shoulders try not to think too much about the alignment in the pose. Instead, simply allow your body to open up in whatever way it's craving at that moment.
6. Bridge Pose (Setu Bandha Sarvangasana)
Along with the amazing physical benefits of opening your back, chest, lungs, and shoulders, bridge pose also has the power to calm your brain in an instant and in turn, relieve your stress, according to Yoga Journal.
If you want to challenge your muscles a bit more here, you can squeeze and engage your glutes in this pose, and you can even add a block between your legs to help you do so.
Whatever you choose, allow your breath to guide you through each movement, and notice your anxiety drifting away as it makes space, instead, for serenity and stillness.