The 7 Best Yoga Poses To Do When You're Nervous & Need To Shake Out The Stress

by Georgina Berbari
Originally Published: 

Feeling nervous is a totally normal part of being human. Sure, it's not fun in any way, shape, or form, but I've always found that you're better off finding ways to channel that negative energy instead of just sitting with it and allowing it to consume you. Whenever I'm majorly worried about something, I always try to do some yoga poses for nerves to help soothe my mind and remind myself that, when I get into the right headspace, I can handle anything that's thrown my way.

When you think about what nervousness actually is, and what it's doing to your body, it's pretty freaking fascinating. According to Medical Daily, nervousness, stress, and feelings of anxiety are a trifecta of emotions that originally served as a survival mechanism for the human body. Thousands of years ago, this fight-or-flight response was literally necessary to keep you alive, but now, it's basically just a really extra response your brain and body tend to elicit when you get super nervous about something — even if that thing isn't life-threatening, like a job interview, or a "we need to talk" text message — and it doesn't go away until your body realizes there's no actual threat present. Good times, people. Good times.

The human body is a complicated thing, and when it comes to these situational feelings of nervousness, the only thing you can really do is breathe, try to focus your attention elsewhere, and find ways to release all the tension in your physical body. Try to shake out all those jitters with these seven nerve-busting yoga poses.

Alternate Nostril Breathing (Nadi Shodhana)
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Alternate nostril breathing is a practice that is extremely effective when it comes to calming nerves and releasing stagnant energy. Nadi shodhana rejuvenates the nervous system, soothes feelings of anxiousness, and can help instill a sense of mental clarity as a result.

Try practicing a few rounds of this breathing exercise when it feels like your nerves are consuming you, and notice the sensation as the tension begins to melt away.

Cat-Cow Pose (Marjariasana/Bitilisana)
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Cat-cow pose is a luxuriously refreshing stretch, and it feels especially great when you're super stressed and holding onto tension within your back body.

Link each inhale and exhalation with each curve of your spine as you move through your cat-cow sequence. Close your eyes and let your body form whatever shape feels good for you that day. Tune into what you need and what serves you.

Knee-To-Nose In Downward Facing Dog
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Firing up your core when you're nervous AF might be the last thing you feel like doing, but it actually could be the most helpful trick. According to Medical Daily, forcing yourself to get active to match your state of arousal when you're nervous can actually be very beneficial, as opposed to squashing those feelings or pretending they don't exist.

Practicing some knee-to-nose, core-strengthening movements in a downward facing dog will get your heart rate pumping and allow you to work out all that stress-infused energy circulating through your body.

Headstand (Sirsasana A)
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If your nerves are stemming from a lack of confidence because you're doubting your abilities or your worth, try flipping your perspective in an inversion to boost your self-esteem. Headstands can be major confidence-boosters, and these poses have the power to make you feel incredibly strong from the inside out.

If you can't do a headstand just yet, don't sweat it. Just attempting to do this tricky pose is an accomplishment in and of itself, girlfriend. Try this headstand tutorial from YouTube yogi Anita Goa if you're just starting out.

Handstand Kicks
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Keep working out that nervous energy by working up a sweat as you practice hopping up into a handstand against the wall. The pure challenge of doing those kicks will give you something to work toward and focus on — and who knows, the entire silly process might just put a smile on your face.

Child's Pose (Balasana)
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After you've built some heat in your body with your core work and inversion practice, melt into your mat with a soothing and restorative child's pose.

Release any tension that might be lingering in your hips, and let go of any tightness remaining in your neck and shoulders. Breathe deeply and fully as you anchor yourself to the present moment.

Legs Up The Wall Pose (Viparita Karani)

Finish your nerve-busting practice with a lovely and calming legs-up-the-wall-pose. Stay here for as long as you'd like, with your eyes closed and your palms soft. Allow the wall to do all the work of holding up your legs, letting the weight of your lower body be supported by your hips.

Inhale, filling your entire belly up with air. Hold this breath at the top, and then exhale slowly out of your mouth, releasing the remainder of your nerves.

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