Stress Management Management Techniques Physical Techniques How Yoga Can Help Reduce Stress By Ann Pizer Ann Pizer LinkedIn Twitter Ann Pizer is a writer and registered yoga instructor who teaches vinyasa/flow and prenatal yoga classes. Learn about our editorial process Updated on March 30, 2020 Reviewed Verywell Mind articles are reviewed by mental health professionals. Reviewers confirm the content is thorough and accurate, reflecting the latest evidence-based research. Content is reviewed before publication and upon substantial updates. Learn more. by Sara Clark Reviewed by Sara Clark Facebook Sara Clark is an EYT 500-hour certified Vinyasa yoga and mindfulness teacher, lululemon Global Yoga Ambassador, model, and writer. Learn about our Review Board Print mapodile / Getty Images Yoga has long been known to be a great antidote to stress. Yoga combines many popular stress-reducing techniques, including exercise and learning to control the breath, clear the mind, and relax the body. As yoga becomes increasingly popular, more and more people are discovering the benefits this ancient practice brings to their stressful lives. Establishing a consistent yoga routine is the best way to experience the difference yoga can make. Start with a stress management yoga routine that is intended for beginners who think they don't have time for yoga. Exercise Hatha Yoga is the physical practice of yoga postures. There are many different types of hatha yoga: some are slow and more focused on stretching, others are fast and more of a workout. If you are looking to relieve stress, no one yoga style is superior, so pick one that meets your level of physical fitness and personality. Any exercise will help relieve stress by keeping the body healthy and releasing endorphins, natural hormones that make you feel better. Yoga also relieves stress through stretching. When you are stressed, tension is stored in the body making you feel tight and often causing pain. The stretching of yoga releases tension from problem areas, including the hips and shoulders. Relief of low back pain is another common benefit. Breath Control Pranayama, or breath work, is an important part of any yoga practice and one that translates well to life off the mat. At the very least, yoga increases your awareness of the breath as a tool for relaxing the body. Although breathing is an involuntary act (you have to keep doing it to stay alive), you can choose to regulate the breath. Just learning to take deep breaths and realizing that this can be a quick way to combat stressful situations is amazingly effective. Clearing the Mind Our minds are constantly active, racing from one thought to another, spinning possible scenarios for the future, dwelling on incidents from the past. All this mind work is tiring and stressful. Yoga offers several techniques for taming the monkey mind. One is breath work, as outlined above. Each breath is tied inextricably to the present moment; you are not breathing in the past or the future, but only right now. Focusing on each inhale and exhale to the exclusion of other thoughts is one way to clear the mind, It is also a basic meditation technique. In addition, the performance of yoga poses, or asanas, also acts as a form of meditation. The poses are so physical and have to be done with such concentration, that all other thoughts and worries are put to the side, giving your brain a much-needed break. Press Play for Advice On Getting Exercise Hosted by Editor-in-Chief and therapist Amy Morin, LCSW, this episode of The Verywell Mind Podcast shares how physical activity can boost your mental strength. Click below to listen now. Follow Now : Apple Podcasts / Spotify / Google Podcasts Relaxation Each yoga sessions ends with five to ten minutes spent relaxing in corpse pose - savasana. While this enforced relaxation can be difficult at first, eventually it serves the purpose of a total release for both body and mind. Savasana transitions you back into the world feeling refreshed and equipped with the tools to combat stress in your daily life. Yoga Nidra is a practice that offers an opportunity for a longer, deeper period of relaxation and an introduction to meditation, which can also be a great stress reducer. 2 Sources Verywell Mind uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy. Woodyard C. Exploring the therapeutic effects of yoga and its ability to increase quality of life. Int J Yoga. 2011;4(2):49–54. doi:10.4103/0973-6131.85485 Perciavalle V, Blandini M, Fecarotta P, et al. The role of deep breathing on stress. Neurol Sci. 2017;38(3):451-458. doi:10.1007/s10072-016-2790-8 Additional Reading Smith C, Hancock H, Blake-Mortimer J, Eckert K. "A randomized comparative trial of yoga and relaxation to reduce stress and anxiety." Complement Ther Med. 2007 Jun;15(2):77-83. Epub 2006 Jun 21. By Ann Pizer Ann Pizer is a writer and registered yoga instructor who teaches vinyasa/flow and prenatal yoga classes. See Our Editorial Process Meet Our Review Board Share Feedback Was this page helpful? Thanks for your feedback! What is your feedback? Other Helpful Report an Error Submit Speak to a Therapist for Stress Management Advertiser Disclosure × The offers that appear in this table are from partnerships from which Verywell Mind receives compensation.