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Yoga For Stress Relief: De-Stress With This 30-Minute Yoga Sequence

Leah Sugerman
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Stress sucks. And if you’re a living, breathing human, there’s really no way around it. Whether you’re bugging out over your big final exam or biting your nails over your kiddo’s wellbeing, stress wreaks havoc on both your body and mind.
 
Unfortunately, stress rears its ugly head in all of our lives. While there is no way to avoid it, you can manage it. And, of course, yoga is an excellent tool to help us do just that. And, restorative yoga is the perfect yoga for stress relief.
 
Next time you find it difficult to breathe because you feel like the weight of the world is resting on your shoulders, try this restorative yoga sequence for healthy stress management. Claim a short 30 minutes for yourself to relax, unwind, and practice self-care. It just may make all the difference.
 

Practice This 30-Minute Restorative Yoga Sequence for Stress Management

For this sequence you will need a yoga block, a yoga bolster or firm pillow, a yoga blanket, and some empty wall space.
 
Pro Tip! Set a gentle timer for each pose so you can focus on relaxation (this is yoga for stress relief after all!) instead of how long you’ve been in a particular posture.
 

1. Alternate Nostril Breathing (Nadi Shodhana)

This simple pranayama technique balances the yin and yang energy channels that run through your body, which brings you stress relief.
 
alternate-nostril-breathing
 
Let’s Practice Alternate Nostril Breathing:

  • Find any comfortable seated position and elongate your spine while you soften your shoulders away from your ears
  • Rest your left hand on your left thigh, and bring your right hand to your face so your thumb hovers over your right nostril, your ring finger hovers over your left nostril, and your first two fingers rest on your third eye center (the space directly between your eyebrows)
  • Close your right nostril with your thumb and inhale through your left nostril
  • Close your left nostril with your ring finger and exhale through your right nostril
  • Inhale through the same right nostril, then close it with your thumb to exhale with your left nostril
  • Continue alternating nostrils with each breath for 5 minutes (be sure to end on an exhale through your left nostril)

 
Need a brush-up on alternate nostril breathing? Read more about this pranayama technique here!
 
 

2. Supported Child’s Pose (Balasana)

This simple posture is the ultimate yoga for stress relief pose because it is restorative by nature. Return your body to the original primary curve that’s present in the womb to create feelings of security, warmth, and comfort.
 
supported-child-pose-stress
 
Let’s Practice Supported Child’s Pose:

  • Find an all-fours position (you may wish to place a blanket underneath your knees for extra support)
  • Bring your big toes to touch as you open your knees out as wide as your mat
  • Place your bolster or pillow between your legs
  • Release your hips to your heels as you soften your torso over your bolster and soften your arms to the floor
  • Turn your head toward the right, close your eyes, and hold for 2 minutes
  • Turn your head toward the left, close your eyes again, and hold for 2 minutes

 
 

3. Supported Seated Forward Fold (Paschimottanasana)

Allow your head and neck to become heavy, and gently stretch your entire back body with this gentle Supported Seated Forward Fold. This pose encourages you to look inward and can help clear your mind for healthy stress management.
 
supported-seated-forward-fold
 
Let’s Practice Supported Seated Forward Fold:

  • Find a seat with your legs extended long in front of you
  • Elongate your spine and slightly bend your knees to slide a rolled up blanket underneath them
  • Lead with your chest as you slowly fold forward over your legs, and place your bolster on top of your thighs to rest your head
  • Rest your arms wherever feels comfortable as you surrender the weight of your upper body toward the floor, soften, and close your eyes
  • Hold for 5 minutes

 

 

4. Reclined Butterfly Pose (Supta Baddha Konasana)

We tend to store tension in our hips, so this gentle stretch is the perfect yoga for stress relief pose as it can help alleviate stress that builds up within our bodies. This can then transfer to healthy stress management within the mind.
 
reclined-bound-angle-pose
 
Let’s Practice Reclined Butterfly Pose:

  • Lie on your back and bring the soles of your feet together with your knees out to either side to create a diamond shape with your legs
  • Rest your arms wherever feels comfortable
  • For extra support, place blocks, blankets, or pillows underneath your knees
  • Soften the weight of your legs toward the floor
  • Close your eyes and hold for 5 minutes

 
 

5. Legs Up the Wall Pose (Viparita Karani)

Inversions like Legs Up the Wall Pose are fantastic ways to relieve stress. They physically move your heart below your head, which allows your heart to “take a rest.” Talk about stress management!
 
Note: Be mindful of this pose if you tend to have low blood pressure.
 
legs-up-wall
 
Let’s Practice Legs Up the Wall Pose:

  • Move your mat to a wall and sit sideways with one hip touching the wall
  • Reach your hands behind your hips for support as you swing your legs up the wall and allow your torso to lie down on your mat (scootch your booty as close as you can to the wall if you shifted away)
  • Allow the weight of your legs to become heavy, and soften your entire body
  • Close your eyes and hold for 5 minutes

 
 

6. Corpse Pose (Savasana)

The ultimate pose of relaxation and stress relief, Savasana brings focused awareness to every part of the body so you can relieve tension from places you don’t even realize you hold tension. Savasana is the quintessential yoga for stress relief posture!
 
corpse-pose
 
Let’s Practice Corpse Pose:

  • Lie on your back and allow your arms and legs to fall heavy and fully relaxed, as wide apart as you want
  • Relax your toes out toward the sides of your mat and turn your palms face up in a gesture of surrender as you close your eyes and fall into a natural breathing rhythm
  • Consciously bring your awareness to and systematically release every inch of your body from your big toes to the crown of your head
  • When you’re fully relaxed, melt and release into this state of relaxation for approximately 5 minutes
  • Gently wake yourself up with a stretch and a big breath as you’re ready, without any sense of rush

 
Craving some more relaxing poses? Practice these Yin yoga poses!
 

Stress Management for Your Everyday Life

We can’t prevent stress from entering our lives, but we can manage the way we react to it. Learn to be present in your body and mind, so you can alleviate the negative side effects of stress. When all else fails, remember that deep, mindful breaths can help to cure just about any amount of stress life may throw at you.
 
Already coming up with excuses? Think you don’t have time for yoga? Try to practice just one of the five-minute poses above, or practice pranayama for a few minutes. This will help you manage your stress in a healthy and productive manner without taking much time at all.
 
You will likely be amazed by the simple wonders of Restorative Yoga for stress relief and stress management.

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Leah Sugerman

Leah Sugerman is a yoga teacher, writer, and passionate world traveler. An eternally grateful student, she has trained in countless traditions of the practice and teaches a fusion of the styles she has studied with a strong emphasis on breath, alignment, and anatomical integrity. Leah teaches workshops, retreats, and trainings both internationally and online.

leahsugerman.com

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