There’s a reason yoga is a go-to activity for stress management. Experts at Harvard Medical School say regular practice appears to modulate the body’s stress response. When paired with focused attention on the breath, certain stretches can help calm the mind and quell feelings of anxiety and nervousness.
Looking to unwind naturally? Here are some of our favorite stretches for stress management.
Want an instant boost of stress relief? When done properly, this simple stretch releases tension from three stress-riddled areas—the shoulders, upper back and neck. Start by interlocking your fingers while your arms are outstretched straight above your head. With every exhale, edge your arms more and more to the right, creating a crescent shape above your head, before repeating on the left side.
Big Toe Pose
You’ll find this position in most beginner yoga classes, and with good reason—it’s known for supporting stress management. Take a deep breath, and on the exhale, bend forward. (Resist the urge to round the shoulders and hunch your back over.) Grab hold of the big toes and take five cleansing breaths, hollowing out the belly and folding deeper into the stretch with each out breath. Can’t reach your toes? No problem; begin by stretching as deeply as possible without pushing yourself too hard.
This gentle stretch is lauded for its stress-zapping powers. It is recommended that you begin by getting down on all fours. On a deep exhale, pull the tummy muscles up and round your back like a cat. On the inhale, reverse the posture, arching your back in the process. Repeat five times, calming your nerves with each breath.
Child’s pose encourages rest and surrender. Kneeling on a yoga mat or other soft surface, sit on your feet and lean forward until your chest is resting on your knees. Let your forehead rest on the mat and close your eyes. From there, curl your shoulders and let your arms hang limply by the sides of your legs with your palms up. Enjoy five rejuvenating breaths.
The sumo stretch is known for its stress-relieving side effects. With feet set wide and toes pointed outward, bend the knees and lower the hips. When your knees get to be in line with your toes, support yourself by putting your hands on top of your thighs and putting pressure downward. Hold for about 45 seconds or so.
Overwhelmed by stress? The experts at Pain Stop North Phoenix are all about integrating these types of holistic health solutions into our patient treatment plans. Call 602-899-5107 to schedule a free consultation so that you can find a lasting stress management routine that works for you.