how does yoga reduce stress and anxiety

How Does Yoga Reduce Stress And Anxiety?

In a world brimming with deadlines, traffic jams, and endless notifications, our minds are often tangled in a web of stress and anxiety. 

The constant hustle can take its toll, leaving us feeling drained and overwhelmed. But what if the antidote to this modern malaise is as simple as a deep breath and a gentle stretch? Welcome to the tranquil universe of yoga, a practice that transcends mere exercise and delves into a philosophy of mindfulness, serenity, and inner equilibrium. “How Does Yoga Reduce Stress And Anxiety?” is not just a question, but a journey into the core of self-awareness and tranquility. 

In this post, we will unravel the ancient wisdom of yoga, explore its scientifically-backed benefits, and guide you on a path where serenity is not a destination but a way of life. 

Yoga: More Than Just Physical Exercise

Embracing Mind and Body

Yoga is more than simply a set of physical postures; it’s an approach to wellness that balances the mind and body. Yoga is a form of relaxation and stress relief that combines physical postures with deep breathing and relaxation techniques. To help pupils stay grounded in the here and now, the practise typically ends with meditation or Shavasana.

how does yoga reduce stress and anxiety 1

Proven Benefits for Stress Relief

The calming influences of yoga have long been acknowledged. As an ancient practice, it has grown in popularity as more individuals recognise its effectiveness in alleviating stress. Regular practice is essential to fully experience the difference yoga can make. For those sceptical about finding time for yoga, starting with a beginner-friendly routine designed for stress management can be a perfect introduction.

Specific Aspects of Yoga

Exercise: Hatha Yoga and Its Styles

Hatha Yoga is synonymous with physical yoga exercises. Its various styles might focus on stretching or act as a vigorous workout. All approaches can relieve stress, and choosing one that aligns with your schedule and temperament is essential. In maintaining physical well-being, yoga also triggers the release of the body’s natural “feel-good” hormones. It is particularly beneficial for alleviating hip, shoulder, and lower back pain.

Breath Control: The Art of Relaxation

Stress, although often fleeting, usually exhibits physical symptoms. The simple act of deep yogic breathing can relax the back, shoulders, and neck. Deliberate, deep exhalations throughout the day can gradually lessen stress. Engaging in deep breathing at your desk can even lower cortisol levels, reducing the chemical responsible for stress.

Overcoming Negative Emotions

If left untreated, stress and anxiety can impede one’s ability to go forwards and develop as a person. However, yoga can help you overcome these negative emotions. Simple desk yoga poses and yogic breathing exercises can be practised anywhere, mat or no mat, and can help you feel calm and in control almost immediately.

Mental Focus: The Calming of an Unruly Mind

Yoga provides many methods for controlling a racing mind in a chaotic world. Focusing the mind through breathing techniques, meditation, and asana practise can help alleviate mental exhaustion.

Relaxation: The Importance of Savasana

A typical yoga session concludes with five to ten minutes of savasana (corpse position), offering profound mental and physical relaxation. Though it may feel challenging at first, the enforced relaxation leads to rejuvenation. Techniques like Yoga Nidra can introduce you to deep relaxation and the fundamentals of meditation, significantly reducing stress levels.

“How Does Yoga Reduce Stress And Anxiety?” is not merely a query but a pathway into the essence of self-awareness and peace. The multifaceted practice of yoga, with its physical exercises, breath control, mental focus, and relaxation techniques, stands as a beacon for those seeking a reprieve from the stresses of modern life. The journey through yoga is not about reaching a destination but about embracing a lifestyle that embodies serenity and well-being.

Unwinding with Yoga: Stress-Relieving Positions

The practice of yoga is well-known for its potential to aid in relaxation and stress relief. Here’s a selection of yoga poses designed to provide peace and tranquility.

The Synchronisation of Breath: Cat-Cow Pose (Marjaryasana to Bitilasana)

The Cat-Cow Pose sequence is a harmonious fusion of two positions, offering relaxation by coordinating breath with movement.

  • Initial Positioning: Begin with a neutral tabletop posture, ensuring your knees are under your hips and your wrists are aligned with your shoulders.
  • Flowing into Cow Pose: Inhale whilst looking upward, allowing your abdomen to sink towards the mat as you arch your back.
  • Transitioning into Cat Pose: On your exhalation, draw your chin towards your chest and curve your spine resembling a cat.
  • Sequencing: Transition between these two postures for one minute, breathing deeply and fluidly.

A Return to Self: Child’s Pose (Balasana)

Child’s Pose, or Balasana, fosters physical and mental relaxation, concentrating internal energy.

  • Positioning: Start by kneeling, with knees either together or slightly apart, resting your heels and reclining.
  • Into the Pose: Hinge at your hips and rest your forehead on the mat, extending your arms either forward or by your sides.
  • Enhancing the Pose: Draw your thighs towards your torso to improve hip flexibility.
  • Duration: Hold the position for up to 5 minutes, focusing on deep, relaxing breaths.

Elevation of Tranquillity: Legs-Up-The-Wall Pose (Viparita Karani)

This restorative position enhances circulation and promotes overall well-being.

  • Approach: Begin as close to the wall as feasible.
  • Positioning: Elevate your legs to relieve tension in the lower back, situating your hips inches away from or flush to the wall.
  • Relaxation: Place your arms by your side or hands on your abdomen and chest, holding this position for up to 15 minutes.

The Art of Letting Go: Corpse Pose (Savasana)

Savasana, or Corpse Pose, serves as a reminder to take deep breaths and fully relax.

  • Alignment: Lie flat on your back, positioning your feet wider than your hips, with toes pointing outwards.
  • Arm Positioning: Your arms should rest at a 45-degree angle to your body.
  • Body Alignment: Ensure your spine, shoulders, head, and neck are in line.
  • Mindfulness: Engage in deep breaths, allowing your body to release all tension.
  • Duration: Maintain this position for a period of 10 to 20 minutes.

Yoga’s gentle and mindful approach offers an opportunity to find serenity within oneself. These postures can serve as a starting point for a calming routine or be integrated into a broader practice. The connection between mind, body, and breath in these poses offers a holistic approach to stress relief and relaxation.

Advice For Using Yoga To Reduce Stress

Practising yoga can help you relax your body and mind. Here are some pointers to help you get the most out of your stress-relieving activities.

During Your Yoga Practice, Let Go Of Negativity.

When you perform yoga, you might expect to have some negative thoughts. Developing healthy mental habits requires acceptance, attention, and dispassion. This could make it such that you are less impacted and have fewer negative thoughts. Recognise the transience of your thoughts by training your attention on them as they originate and flow through your mind in the present moment.

When you see your mind wandering off into either happy or sad thoughts, remember to return to the present moment by focusing on your breathing and the sensations throughout your body. Eventually, you’ll practice distancing yourself from both happy and sad emotions.

Use Relaxation Methods Outside Of The Gym.

Get off the mat and examine your schedule and habits to find ways to reduce stress. You may give yourself more time off, adopt a healthier diet, or spend more time in the great outdoors.

Even if yoga has many positive effects, you still have to deal with the ups and downs of real life. It’s normal to go through a range of emotions.

Talk to a yoga teacher about creating a personalised practice if you think your yoga habit adds unnecessary stress to your life. Also, if you have any preexisting problems or are currently taking any drugs, it is highly recommended that you consult your doctor before beginning a yoga practice.

What Does Research On Yoga And Stress Say?

There is a substantial body of research demonstrating that yoga can reduce stress.

Women who did Hatha yoga thrice a week for four weeks saw significant results. Depression, stress, and anxiety decreased significantly after 12 sessions. These findings point to yoga’s potential as a supplemental treatment that can reduce the need for pharmaceuticals. Yoga may have long-term benefits for reducing sadness, stress, and anxiety, but more research is needed to confirm this.

A study on adult males found that yoga stretches were associated with decreased cortisol and increased parasympathetic nerve activity (the “rest and digest” response).

In another study from 2020, participants who practised yoga nidra meditation for 30 days saw improvements in well-being, stress levels, and sleep quality. Yoga Nidra has been shown to have similar effects on one’s awareness and emotional well-being. Six weeks later, these advantages remained unchanged.

how does yoga reduce stress and anxiety 2

Restorative Yoga

Relaxation of the body, mind, and spirit are the goals of Restorative Yoga. Asana practised at a moderate speed, stillness, emphasising extended holds, and deep breathing, can help calm an active mind, restore nervous system balance, relax the body to complete sedation, and strengthen the immune system. It’s a wonderful form of yoga for promoting wellness and equilibrium.

Hormone balance and mental clarity both benefit from yoga practice. These are just a few of the many yoga practices available; they are the most well-known. In addition, the meditative component inherent in all forms of yoga enhances awareness, concentration, and confidence.

When it comes to improving your mood, hormone balance, and general health, there is no better fitness class than yoga.

Is Yoga More Efficient Than Conventional Treatments?

Yoga has been shown to help some people with stress and anxiety disorders. Still, it shouldn’t be used in place of professional care if you’re having panic attacks or have been diagnosed with a serious anxiety illness. Many people report feeling calmer and more at peace after practising yoga, but it’s crucial to remember that this “yoga high” is just temporary.

A study even implies that mindfulness exercises may have the opposite effect and increase anxiety levels. Although yoga can benefit some people, it should not be relied on as a stand-alone treatment for mental health issues. Extreme versions of anything can be harmful. Both physiologically and psychologically, our bodies benefit from exposure to change. Best people would benefit from learning different techniques for coping with anxiety. If we want to reduce stress, we need as many tools as possible.


Yoga is more than just a physical practice; it also fosters awareness, calm, and harmony within oneself. Using physical postures, deep breathing, and relaxation techniques, it is a comprehensive approach to well-being that balances the mind and body. The meditative benefits of yoga and its age-old tradition have led to the practice’s meteoric rise in popularity.

When it comes to relieving hip, shoulder, and lower back pain, Hatha Yoga, which blends physical exercises with deep breathing and relaxation techniques, excels. Exhaling deeply several times throughout the day has been shown to lower cortisol levels (the stress hormone), which in turn helps relax the back, shoulders, and neck.

Simple desk yoga poses and yogic breathing exercises can help folks feel calm and in control, which can be helpful in overcoming unpleasant feelings. A savasana practised for five to ten minutes provides significant mental and physical relaxation, and mental attention can help bring an unruly mind under control.

Those in need of relief from the pressures of modern life might look to the many facets of yoga, which include physical exercises, breath control, mental focus, and relaxation techniques. Yoga is not a means to an end, but rather an approach to life that promotes calm and health.

Pose variations like the Cat-Cow, Child’s, Legs-Up-the-Wall, and Corpse might help you relax and unwind. These postures provide a mild and thoughtful means of relieving stress and unwinding, leading to inner peace. These asanas, when practised alone or as part of a larger yoga regimen, can help practitioners attain inner tranquillity and harmony.

Relaxation and a lessening of negative thoughts are two ways in which yoga can aid in stress reduction. Focusing on the present moment and learning to emotionally detach from both positive and unpleasant experiences can help you reap the full advantages of your yoga practice. Find ways to unwind besides working out, such as taking a break, changing your diet, or spending time in nature. But you still need to deal with life’s ups and downs, and if you find that your yoga practice is becoming too stressful, you should talk to a yoga teacher. Women who practised Hatha yoga for four weeks, three times a week, saw significant reductions in stress levels, according to studies. A busy mind can benefit from restorative yoga’s ability to quiet the mind, restore the equilibrium of the neurological system, and fortify the immune system. Clear thinking and healthy hormone levels are two more benefits.

If you experience panic attacks or have been diagnosed with a major anxiety condition, yoga should not substitute professional care, although it is more effective than traditional treatments for stress and anxiety problems. It’s possible that practising mindfulness really makes you more anxious. Although individuals have found benefits from yoga, it should not be used in isolation to treat mental illness. It’s crucial to develop a well-rounded strategy for handling stress and master a variety of methods for dealing with worry.

Content Summary

  • In our modern world filled with deadlines and distractions, stress and anxiety are common, and yoga offers a respite.
  • Yoga transcends mere exercise, delving into mindfulness, serenity, and inner equilibrium.
  • It’s not just about physical postures but a philosophy that embraces mind and body wellness.
  • Yoga combines physical postures with deep breathing and relaxation techniques.
  • Sessions often conclude with meditation or Shavasana to help students stay present.
  • As an ancient practice, yoga’s calming influences have been widely recognized.
  • Regular practice is essential to experience yoga’s full benefits in alleviating stress.
  • Starting with beginner-friendly routines can be a perfect introduction for stress management.
  • Hatha Yoga includes various styles that might focus on stretching or vigorous workouts.
  • Yoga triggers the release of “feel-good” hormones, benefiting areas such as hips, shoulders, and lower back.
  • Deep yogic breathing techniques can gradually lessen stress by relaxing physical symptoms.
  • Simple desk yoga poses and yogic breathing exercises can help overcome negative emotions.
  • Yoga offers many methods to control a racing mind, such as breathing techniques, meditation, and asana practice.
  • Savasana (corpse position) concludes sessions, offering profound mental and physical relaxation.
  • Techniques like Yoga Nidra introduce deep relaxation, significantly reducing stress levels.
  • The multifaceted practice of yoga acts as a beacon for those seeking a reprieve from modern stresses.
  • Yoga is a lifestyle that embodies serenity and well-being, not just a destination.
  • Yoga poses like Cat-Cow, Child’s Pose, and Legs-Up-The-Wall provide relaxation and tranquillity.
  • Savasana, or Corpse Pose, serves as a practice to take deep breaths and fully relax.
  • Yoga’s gentle approach offers a holistic means for stress relief, connecting mind, body, and breath.
  • Negative thoughts may arise during yoga, but with practice, you can distance yourself from these emotions.
  • Utilising relaxation methods outside of yoga, like spending time outdoors or adopting a healthy diet, can further reduce stress.
  • Yoga’s benefits need to be balanced with dealing with real-life emotions and stresses.
  • Personalised practices and medical consultation are advised if yoga adds stress or if you have preexisting conditions.
  • Research indicates that yoga can reduce stress, depression, and anxiety, possibly reducing the need for pharmaceuticals.
  • Yoga practices like stretches and meditation have been associated with decreased cortisol and increased “rest and digest” response.
  • Yoga Nidra meditation has shown to improve well-being, stress levels, and sleep quality.
  • Restorative Yoga focuses on the relaxation of the body, mind, and spirit through extended holds and deep breathing.
  • Yoga practice can contribute to hormone balance, mental clarity, and overall wellness.
  • Yoga is considered an excellent fitness class for improving mood, hormone balance, and general health.
  • While helpful for some stress and anxiety disorders, yoga shouldn’t replace professional care for serious conditions.
  • Though many feel calmer after yoga, it’s essential to remember this “yoga high” is temporary.
  • Some studies suggest that mindfulness exercises like yoga might increase anxiety in some individuals.
  • Yoga should not be relied on as a stand-alone treatment for mental health issues.
  • Exposure to different techniques and change benefits our bodies both physiologically and psychologically.
  • To reduce stress, a comprehensive toolbox, including yoga and other coping mechanisms, is needed.
  • Specific aspects of yoga, like Hatha Yoga, provide a focus on physical well-being and can alleviate physical pain.
  • Engaging in deep breathing at your desk can lower cortisol levels, reducing stress chemicals.
  • Yoga’s approach to wellness helps balance both the mind and body, creating a harmonious relationship between the two.
  • Child’s Pose fosters physical and mental relaxation, concentrating internal energy.
  • Techniques like Legs-Up-The-Wall Pose enhance circulation and promote overall well-being.
  • In overcoming negative emotions, yoga helps in personal development by making one feel calm and in control.
  • Developing healthy mental habits through yoga includes acceptance, attention, and dispassion towards negative thoughts.
  • Yoga can serve as a supplemental treatment, reducing the reliance on pharmaceuticals for emotional well-being.
  • Personalising yoga practice according to individual needs and conditions can enhance its effectiveness.
  • The ancient wisdom of yoga, coupled with scientifically-backed benefits, offers a comprehensive guide to a serene life.
  • Relaxation methods can be integrated into daily routines, making yoga a versatile tool for stress relief.
  • The emphasis on mindfulness and awareness within yoga enhances concentration and confidence.
  • Yoga’s potential for reducing sadness, stress, and anxiety might have long-term benefits, though more research is needed.
  • A blend of various yoga practices and styles ensures a versatile and individualised approach to enhancing well-being.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why Does Yoga Reduce Stress And Anxiety?

As a form of low-impact exercise, yoga has been shown to lower stress hormones in our bodies while increasing beneficial brain chemicals like endorphins and GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid). These feel-good chemicals help decrease anxiety and improve mood.

How To Reduce Stress Through Yoga?

With palms down, place your hands on your knees. Align your head, neck, and spine together and sit with your weight balanced. Lengthen your spine, but soften your neck and gently relax your feet and thighs. Stay in this position for about a minute, then gently release and change the cross of your legs.

What Is An Important Way In Which Yoga Helps Reduce Anxiety?

Some ways yoga can help with anxiety are by slowing down, focusing on the breath, and being mindful of the present moment instead of future worries.

How Does Yoga Benefit You?

Regular yoga creates mental clarity and calmness; increases body awareness; relieves chronic stress patterns; relaxes the mind; centres attention; and sharpens concentration.

Why Is Yoga Important In Modern Life?

Yoga must become a part of your daily routine to get a strong and flexible body. Regular yoga stretches and tones the body muscles and strengthens them. It also helps improve your body posture when you stand, sit, sleep or walk.