Stress in our daily lives can manifest in different ways – physically even.
If you’re constantly stressed, chances are you’ll always find yourself tired, with constant headaches and a sore body. You won’t have enough energy to take on the day as you constantly feel drained and unmotivated.
A lot of our stressors can take up so much of our mental space, especially if not properly dealt with. Since our mental state is linked to our physical condition, our bodies can also take a significant toll on it. This is why many professionals advocate for healthy de-stressing activities, such as yoga.
Yoga has always been known for its meditative and transformative nature. Its main goal is to increase mind and body awareness.
This includes yoga poses for tension release from your mind and body, and learning more about how your body responds to certain emotions and situations.
Back and Neck Tension
A common dilemma for people would be soreness in the back and neck area. This can stem from sitting in front of your computer all day, or it could be because of constantly overworking yourself that the stress starts to present itself physically.
It’s hard when your body starts to get used to the feeling of discomfort because then you’ll have to live with it every day until you take the time to listen to what your body needs.
If you want to step away from your desk and relieve a little bit of discomfort, you can try doing these exercises to help ease your neck and back pain. Let’s take a look at these 9 Yoga Poses for Tension Release:
Seated Cat Cow Pose
This is a very simple and common pose that is taught for stress relief. Many practitioners recommend this as it’s easy to follow and helps stretch your back muscles and calm your mind.
- To do this, simply sit on your mat with your legs crossed. Take a couple of deep breaths.
- Ensure that your shoulders are aligned with your hips. You should not be leaning too forward or backward. Always check if they are stacked on top of each other.
- Your hands should be placed on top of your knees. This will also help ensure your proper alignment.
- Start inhaling by pulling your belly button towards the spine.
- Then, slowly push your chest forward as you lift your neck up and shift your gaze towards the ceiling.
- Hold the position for a few breaths.
- Then, as you exhale, slowly drop your chin towards the chest. Rounding the spine. Make sure that your shoulders are still over your hips.
- Repeat the sequence for 30-60 seconds. Do not forget to breathe slowly.
One of the variations of this position is having an actual chair to sit on. You may incorporate this in your practice as long as you maintain the proper form for the best results.
Seated Twist Pose
Another pose that helps increase spinal rotation and alleviate back pain is the seated twist pose. This also aids in stretching your hips, engaging your core, and opening up your chest.
- Start by sitting on your mat with both legs stretched out.
- Then slowly lift your right leg and cross it to the outside of your left thigh.
- Once done, gently put your left foot back against your right hip.
- Your right foot should be placed firmly on the mat while your right arm is out behind your back with only your fingertips touching the mat.
- With your left hand, hug your right knee and slowly shift your body to the right. You will feel your body stretch as you twist.
- Do not forget to inhale as you sit up tall and exhale as you twist. Do this for 4-6 breaths.
- After this, go back to the center and switch to the other side. Repeat the same steps.
If you’re having trouble maintaining an even position with your foot against your hip, you may opt to keep it stretched in front of you instead. Ensure that your foot is flexed and proper alignment is maintained throughout the sequence.
The bridge pose is one of the poses that target upper body strength. It works on your shoulders, arms, core, and even your back. This is a popular stretching technique for those who want quick relief from their back pains.
- You can start by lying on your back. Make sure that your entire back is flat on the floor. Relax your body.
- Bend your knees and keep them hip-width apart.
- Hands should rest on your sides, flat on the mat.
- Then, slowly raise your hips. Bring them as high as you can while also keeping your lower back in check.
- Your feet should still be flat on the mat and your knees parallel to each other.
- Once you find a comfortable position, stay in that position for 30 seconds.
- Then, gently release by bringing your hips down and hugging your knees close to your chest. You may try rocking your body to the side or gently twisting it to further release your lower back.
- Do this for a couple of breaths, then go back to your initial position–knees bent and feet flat on the floor.
Downward-Facing Dog Pose
Another widely known pose among yoga practitioners is the downward-facing dog pose. This stretches your full body, engages your core, and lengthens your spine.
This is one of the best yoga poses for tension release and to resolve any strains on their back.
- Do this by getting on all fours.
- Hands should be underneath your shoulders and your hips over your knees.
- Make sure that your fingers are spread widely and your fingertips are gently gripping the mat.
- Then, gently raise your hips towards the ceiling. Make sure that you push through your palms and keep your back straight and long.
- Do not lift your gaze to avoid straining the neck. Keep your head down.
- You may drop your heels on the mat to achieve the entire body stretch. You are also free to slightly bend your knees if needed.
- Take a few breaths and hold the position for 60 seconds.
- Slowly bring your hips down and return to the table-top position to come down from the pose.
The crescent lunge is one of the yoga poses for tension release, and for those who want to stretch out their lower bodies.
It entails a lower body stretch with a bit of back bending to open up your hips and stretch your quads.
- To do this, you may start with the downward dog position.
- Then slowly bring your right foot forward, between your hands. Ensure that your thigh is parallel to the floor and your knee is directly above your ankle.
- You will feel your back leg stretched as you keep your heel away from the mat and the ball of your foot against it.
- Then, slowly draw the belly button towards the spine as you reach your arms up. Keep your core engaged.
- Bend the back knee slightly. As you exhale, straighten the back leg again and reach your arms higher.
- Hold the pose for 30 seconds. Do not forget to take deep breaths.
- Once done, repeat this on the other side.
When doing this pose, make sure that you’re not overextending your knees, as this may cause issues, especially if you have sensitive knees. Try getting someone to check your form or help you throughout the pose.
Standing Forward Fold
Similar to the downward dog pose, the standing forward fold is also good if you’re looking for a full body stretch.
This one can be a challenging pose for beginners, especially those working on their flexibility, but it’s surely one of the most helpful yoga poses for tension release throughout your back.
- Start by standing on your mat, feet hip-width apart. Feet should be planted firmly on the mat.
- Bring your hands to your hips and take deep breaths.
- Then take one big breath and as you exhale, pull your chest forward and slowly bring your torso down towards your legs. At this point, you will feel the stretch in your hamstrings.
- You may keep your knees slightly bent for support. Your hands may also lay on top of your knees as you adjust to the position.
- Then, your hands can slowly go down on the mat. Hold this pose for about 30 seconds. Take deep and slow breaths.
- To come out of the pose, slowly bend your knees and go all the way up.
If you’re just starting out, you might see this pose as a little challenging so make sure that you practice so your body can also adjust to the position.
It is important to go into this slowly so that you won’t hurt or injure yourself.
The sphinx pose is a yoga exercise that is recommended if you want to strengthen your spine and upper back. It provides a gentle back bend that helps resolve back problems for many.
By doing this pose regularly, you prevent major back issues that are common during old age.
- The first thing that you need to do is lie on your stomach. Legs stretched out behind you.
- Your elbows should be slightly ahead of your shoulders. Forearms should be flat on the floor, parallel to each other.
- Then, slowly lift your head and chest off the floor. Your gaze should be slightly ahead of you. Do not raise your head too high to avoid causing pressure on your neck.
- Draw your shoulders down and your chest forward.
- Do not forget to breathe.
- Hold the pose for 60 seconds or longer.
- To release, gently lower your torso and drop your head and chest to the floor. Relax your whole body.
The locust pose also has similar benefits to the Sphinx Pose. It also targets the lower back and glutes and helps with back pain.
- To start, lie on your belly. Your legs should also be stretched out behind you. Keep your feet hip-width apart.
- Head down and forehead resting on your mat.
- Your arms should be behind you. Palms facing down.
- Work on your breathing. Then, inhale deeply and slowly raise your arms and legs together.
- Hold the pose for 30 seconds.
- Then slowly go back to your original position. You may repeat this several times.
There are many variations of the locust pose that you can look into. Do not push yourself too much as it opposes the goal of yoga.
If there’s any hint of discomfort, go back to your initial position and relax your body. Then slowly work on the position again, at the level you’re comfortable with.
The child’s pose is a good relaxing position that helps calm down your entire body and let go of unwanted tension from your neck and back.
This lengthens your spine and can also clear your mind in the process, which is why most practitioners have this at the end of their sessions, as it provides a perfect space for release and clarity.
- To get into a child’s pose, sit on your heels. Knees together.
- Then, come to a table-top position. Ensure that your shoulders are aligned with your wrists, and your knees are above your hips.
- Take deep breaths. As you exhale, lower your hips to your heels. Extend your arms to your front and lower your head towards the floor. Your forehead should rest against the mat.
- For a deeper stretch, you may spread your knees apart and extend your upper body further onto the mat.
- You can have your arms over your head, palms facing up, or alongside your body, palms facing down.
- Work on your breathing and hold the pose for as long as you can.
Yoga Poses for Tension Release Friendly Reminders
Though yoga is extremely helpful in alleviating body pain and tension, it is imperative to consult your doctor for any serious pain or discomfort that you’re experiencing.
There might be some modifications that can be done if the current state of your body is not suitable for the existing routines. You can add yoga swings to your yoga practice to increase the support during your sessions and avoid injury.
Do your research beforehand and seek professional advice so you can have the best experience and achieve the best results with these 9 yoga poses for tension release.