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10 Yoga Poses for Anxiety and Depression

Published 10-Nov-2022
Written by Danielle Harrison

The world has faced many challenges over the last few years including a worldwide pandemic, climate change, war and a rising cost of living. This has understandably resulted in an increase in people who are suffering from anxiety and depression. Yoga can be an incredible coping mechanism and treatment strategy for those suffering from mental illness, as it forces you to be quiet, slow down and focus on your breathing which in turn can silence any negative thoughts you may have and boost your mood.

Here are 10 effective yoga poses for anxiety and depression.

10 yoga poses for anxiety and depression

1. Child’s Pose (Balasana) 

Child's Pose

The child’s pose grounds you while releasing the tension in your spine and calms your nerves.

Follow these steps:

  1. Kneel down with your big toes touching and your knees slightly spread (so they are wider than your hips).

  2. Bend forward, stretching your arms and chest.

  3. Lay your head on your yoga mat or a blanket while keeping your arms stretched above your head.

  4. Breathe deeply while holding your position.

2. Corpse Pose (Savasana)

Corpse Pose

The corpse pose is one of the easiest and most gentle yoga postures. It calms you down and allows you to focus on your breathing, helping to rid your mind of any negative thoughts.

Follow these steps:

  1. Lie on your back.

  2. Rest your arms on the ground, held slightly away from your body.

  3. Face your palms upwards.

  4. Point your toes outwards and spread your knees slightly.

  5. Close your eyes and focus on relaxing the different parts of your body.

  6. Breathe slowly and deeply.

  7. Hold the position for as long as you like.

3. Standing Forward Fold Pose (Uttanasana)

Standing Forward Fold

The standing forward fold pose directs the blood flow to your brain and eases the tension in your shoulders, back and neck, lessening any anxiety you may have.

Follow these steps:

  1. Stand up straight with your hands by your side.

  2. Slightly bend your knees as you bend forward, keeping your hands by your hips.

  3. Your chest should be touching your thighs.

  4. Put your hands down and grab your ankles.

  5. Hold that position and take some deep breaths before standing back up.

4. Upward-Facing Dog Pose (Urdhva Mukha Svanasana)

Upward Facing Dog

This pose helps to regulate the respiratory system and opens up your heart, bringing clarity to your mind and helping to remove any negative emotions.

Follow these steps: 

  1. Lie flat on your stomach.

  2. Point down your toes and keep the balls of your feet facing upward.

  3. Place your palms facing down on the mat near your shoulders.

  4. Elevate your upper body by pushing on your palms.

  5. Lift your chest and head while holding your shoulders back.

  6. Lengthen your body from head to toe.

  7. Hold the position and take some deep breaths.

5. Downward Facing Dog Pose (Adho Mukha Svanasana)

Downward Facing Dog

One of the more popular yoga poses and for good reason. It increases the blood flow to your brain resulting in mental clarity. It also stretches out your neck and spine and releases the tension in your body.

Follow these steps:

  1. Get down on all fours on your hands and knees.

  2. Push against the ground with your toes and lift your hips up.

  3. Straighten your legs and arms.

  4. Push against the ground with your hands and raise your hips up.

  5. Your body should now form an inverted V-shape.

  6. Take some deep breaths and release the pose.

6. Tree Pose (Vrksasana)

Tree Pose

The tree pose is another common yoga pose. The benefits of the tree pose include an increased awareness of your body, greater confidence and mental well-being. Focusing on balancing and maintaining the pose also allows you to be grounded and present in the moment, removing any negative thoughts.

Follow these steps:

  1. Stand up with your heels slightly apart and with your big toes touching each other.

  2. Bend your right knee and place the sole of your right foot against the left thigh.

  3. Place your hands on your hips to help with balance.

  4. Make sure that your left foot is pointing forward.

  5. Keep your hips square.

  6. Draw your right knee backwards while keeping your hips square.

  7. Continue to hold your legs like that and raise your arms upwards until your palms are touching above your head.

  8. Hold and breathe in and out deeply.

7. Plow Pose (Halasana)

Plow Pose

The plow pose reduces the strain on your back, increases the blood flow to your brain and upper body, and reduces stress and anxiety.

Follow these steps:

  1. Lie on your back with your arms resting on the floor.

  2. Inhale deeply and lift your legs by 90 degrees.

  3. Slowly push your lefs behind your head as you keep breathing deeply.

  4. Keep your shoulders and elbows as close as possible.

  5. Hold the pose and breathe in and out.

8. Fish Pose (Matsyasana)

Fish Pose

This pose helps to promote respiration and relieves stress and anxiety by increasing the supply of oxygen to your brain.

Follow these steps:

  1. Lie flat on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the ground.

  2. Hold your forearms at your side - palm down.

  3. Take a deep breath and lift your pelvis.

  4. Rest your weight on your arms.

  5. Keep your lower body on the ground.

  6. Take deep breaths and hold the pose.

9. Triangle Pose (Trikonasana)

Triangle Pose

The triangle pose increases stability, and stretches your lower back, which is where many people carry stress and tension.

Follow these steps:

  1. Stand straight with your legs apart.

  2. Raise your right hand straight above your head.

  3. Bend your torso at the waist (left side)

  4. Slide your left arm down your left leg all the way down to your ankle.

  5. Hold the pose with your knees and elbows straight.

  6. Inhale and repeat the posture on the opposite side.

10. Hero Pose (Virasana)

Hero Pose

The hero pose represents the conquering of any inner turmoil. It is perfect for seated meditation and for deep breathing which grounds you in the present, helping to remove any negative thoughts.

Follow these steps:

  1. Kneel on the floor with your knees together.

  2. Keeping your knees together, slide your feet further apart.

  3. Lower your buttocks in the space between your feet.

  4. Straighten your posture.

  5. Lay your hands in your lap either palms up or down.

  6. Hold the pose and take deep breaths.

Western Wellness provides yoga & meditation classes that help you to improve your mental health and wellbeing. Reach on via www.westernwellness.com.au to find our more.

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