Published on December 19, 2022 – Last Updated on December 19, 2022
It’s been proven time and again that yoga has a positive effect on reducing stress and anxiety. If you know your mind doesn’t work well under pressure, a few mindful stretches could be just what you need! Many people who struggle with an anxious mind find work to be a particularly triggering environment. If you feel the same, we’ve put together some of the best yoga poses for relieving work-related stress, helping you brush off the worries of the day.
1. Alternate Nose Breathing
Alternate nose breathing is a practice often incorporated into yoga. Though not a pose in itself, it’s a fantastic way to relieve stress and restore calm in your body and mind. You can do it at work, too, without the need for any private space or room to move your body.
Start by finding a comfortable position, keeping your spine straight and your shoulders back. Bring your middle and index finger to rest between your eyebrows before breathing in and out deeply through your nose. Now, place your thumb over your right nostril and inhale slowly through your left until you’ve filled your lungs. Use your third finger to close your other nostril and hold your breath, before opening your right nostril and breathing out slowly. Close your left nostril, breathe in through your right, release, and breathe out. Repeat for around 5-10 cycles.
Because of how discreet this practice is, it’s a fantastic way to start implementing mindfulness at work. Try it along with a five-minute guided meditation for deep de-stressing.
2. Sukhasana with Forward Bend
Start in easy pose, the most simple yoga pose. This is a simple crossed-legged pose, sitting on the floor with your spine straight, your heart open, and your hands resting on your knees. Some people enjoy closing their eyes in this pose to focus their mind on their breathing, whilst others prefer to keep them open.
Now begin bending forward at the hips slightly, holding the pose for five breaths. Place your hands, palm down, on the floor before straightening your legs into a standing forward bend. Exhale and relax.
3. Standing Forward Bend
Another forward bend! We love forward bend poses for helping create larger, deeper exhales and giving tight hamstrings a good stretch. It also physically turns you inward, which can be a relief when the world is overstimulating you.
Start by standing up straight with your toes pointing forward, relaxing your muscles. Bend at the hips, moving forward as far as you can so that your head moves down towards your knees. Interlace your fingers behind your back and lift your arms as far away from your body as you can, holding the position for five breaths – or as long as you can. Take your fingers apart and move your hands to your hips, standing back up straight or taking a step to the right.
4. Cat Cow Pose
Another yoga pose that’s wonderful for relieving stress is the cat cow pose. You might want to do this at home or in a private room, though, as it’s not the easiest to do in a public space. If you have a garden, try doing the cat cow outside where you’ll also feel the wonderful benefits of time spent amongst nature.
Start on all fours, rounding your back up whilst you exhale and pulling your belly button up towards your back. Return to the starting position, inhale, and push your stomach to the floor whilst still holding your belly button tight towards your spine – you don’t want your stomach sticking out! Your tailbone should be sticking up now, before you return to the starting position.
5. Tree Pose
It’s well-known that the tree pose is one of the most grounding, calming poses there is. A simple pose for beginners and easy to do at work, it’s one of the best solutions when you’re feeling stressed out.
Start by standing with your feet together, toes facing forward. Bring your right foot up and place it on the inside of your left thigh, as high as you can. Bring your palms together in a prayer position at your heart.
If this is your first time trying the tree pose then you may want to keep your eyes open and focus on something ahead of you to keep your balance. You can also lift your joined hands up, raising them above your head. Hold your position for 10 breaths, enjoying the calming effects it brings about. Breathe deeply before lowering your leg.
After you’ve completed one leg, you can either move on with your routine and return to your other leg later or continue with the same pose. This is completely down to what feels natural to you.
6. Warrior One
There are two warrior poses, and we’ll be focusing on the first. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, this is a brilliant stretch to get your mojo back whilst easing anxiety so that you can face any hurdle at work with ease. It also has the added bonus of helping your focus which can be a blessing on a stressful day.
Start by standing straight, bringing your right leg forward and your left leg back. Your left foot should turn out about 45° whilst your right remains facing forward. Bring your right leg slowly into a bend until it makes a 90° angle. Hold, breathe, and relax until you’re ready to move back out into a standing position slowly.
Yoga is a well-known cure for all things stress-related. Whilst not all of these poses can be done in the middle of your office, they’ll still help calm your mind and relieve tension when you get home after a busy day. Just remember that nailing each pose can take time, but stick with it and you’re sure to feel the benefits!