June 19, 2023 by Guest Blogger

Did you know that almost 80% of employees frequently experience stress? Whether it’s tight deadlines or a piece of work you just can’t wrap your head around, it’s definitely not strange to feel overwhelmed on the job. But, just because it’s common doesn’t mean it’s okay. Stress can be extremely detrimental to both mental and physical health, causing heart problems, anxiety, and burnout. 

Fortunately, though, there are many techniques that can help you feel calmer when tackling your to-do list. One that we highly recommend (of course!) is practising yoga, and we’ve put together a few basic poses you can try at work or home to help you feel more grounded.

How Yoga Can Reduce Stress

Before getting into the poses, it’s important to touch briefly on how yoga can reduce stress levels and why it’s important.

Plenty of evidence and research shows yoga has a positive effect on stress, with just 12 sessions causing a significant reduction of cortisol levels. Taking the time to be mindful, breathe deeply, and stretch your body helps you feel good – it’s as simple as that! 

Yoga is recommended as an effective tool in the medical industry. It helps train your brain and body to release and relax, which is crucial if you want to feel more centred throughout your day and will help to combat feelings of negative mental wellbeing.

Trying yoga poses to keep stress levels down doesn’t just make work easier, but can have drastic changes throughout many aspects of your life. Reducing stress can:

  • Increase motivation
  • Help you sleep better
  • Regulate weight
  • Improve your social skills
  • Improve digestion
  • Boost your mood

Chronic stress, though, is something that yoga alone may not fix. If you think stress in your life is having an overwhelmingly negative impact, be sure to seek professional stress treatment.

1. Alternate Nostril Breathing

If you need to calm down while at work, one of the most inconspicuous yoga practices is alternate nostril breathing. You can do this from wherever you are and it’s super quick, making it ideal for yoga on the go! 

If you can, get in a comfortable position, sitting down with your legs crossed. If you’re standing or in an office chair, that’s fine, too. Cover your right nostril with your right thumb and inhale for five seconds. Cover your left nostril with your left thumb, uncovering your right nostril, and exhale for five seconds. Keep your left nostril covered and inhale through your right. Continue alternating nostrils until you feel calmer.

2. Cow Pose

Cow pose is a great pose to calm your mind and create better emotional balance. It also stretches the spine, which can be useful if you spend a lot of your day at a desk. This is a simple pose that’s suitable for both beginners and more advanced yogis.

  1. Start on all floors on your yoga mat or on the floor
  2. Inhale and curve your belly towards the floor
  3. At the same time stretch your neck, chin, and chest towards the sky
  4. Hold the pose before releasing on an exhale

If you can, try and stay in cow pose for at least half a minute to feel the stress-busting effects!

3. Balsana (Child’s Pose)

Child’s pose is one of the most loved yoga poses out there, particularly when it comes to reducing stress and enhancing feelings of comfort and safety. 

  1. Begin by kneeling down with a straight back
  2. Gently lean back on your heels before bending forward at the torse
  3. Bend until your chest meets your thighs and your head meets the yoga mat
  4. Rest your hands at your side

Child’s pose is great for the nervous system and is well-known for bringing about a sense of calm. Hold the pose for about a minute, focusing on deep breathing, and you should feel rejuvenated.

4. Uttanasana (Standing Forward Bend)

If you’ve experienced high stress, you’ll know that it can lead to physical tension in the body. Standing Forward Bend is a brilliant pose for stretching out and relaxing your muscles, helping you feel more at ease physically. 

  1. Stand up straight and exhale
  2. As you exhale, begin to bend forward at the torso
  3. Touch your fingers to the floor or to your toes
  4. Press your head against your legs and hold whilst you breathe deeply

A lot of people find this pose boosts their mood and makes them feel more awake, too. Physically and mentally relax, whilst grounding your body and soul, by holding this pose for a minute.

5. Viparita Karani (Legs up the Wall)

The Legs up the Wall pose is a must for relieving feelings of anxiety and stress, and is even recommended for people experiencing panic attacks. Whenever you’re overwhelmed, give this a go. It’s also not quite as taxing on your muscles as some of the other poses and can easily be done in the corner of an office. Just be warned that you may receive the odd look or two!

  1. Lay down on the floor facing a wall and focus on your breathing
  2. Place your legs up on the wall so that your body is at a right angle
  3. Make sure your spine is straight and your knees are a little bent

It’s as simple as that. Some people find a cushion or yoga block placed at the base of their spine is more comfortable than being straight on the floor. Either way, try to hold this pose for a minute or more until you feel calm and composed.

Final Words

There are countless proven benefits of yoga for your mind, body, and soul, with reducing stress being just one of them. If you’re new to yoga, all of these poses should be fairly easy to start with, easing you into the practice. Or, you could sign up for our online yoga classes, ensuring you’re getting the most from your poses and maximising their benefits.

Written by Sophie Bishop