Beat stress with yoga

7 October 2015 by
First published: 12 October 2014

Want to know how to beat stress with yoga? Read on to find out how getting your Om on will help you chillax.

New research has found that slumping in front of the TV after a busy day only makes people feel more worried and depressed

How do you unwind after a stressful day? Laying on the sofa watching TV might be appealing as a way to shut out your problems, but new research has found that slumping in front of the TV after a busy day only makes people feel more worried and depressed!

Researchers from the Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz in Germany found that one of the best ways to relax and clear your mind while improving wellbeing is yoga. Cheryl MacDonald, founder of women’s yoga franchise YogaBellies says, ‘Yoga helps to promote the circulation of blood and oxygen around the body, which relaxes your mind as well as your body. Breathing is a huge focus in yoga and, as simple as it sounds, learning to breathe properly can calm the mind, body and soul, even in frightening or stressful situations.’

So how does yoga help to beat stress?
Sophie Keil, Principal Yoga Teacher at YogaBellies explains, ‘Fortunately even in our hectic modern lifestyles, it is possible to learn how to draw yourself back to a place where everything can feel more manageable, and this is through yoga. Yoga teaches us to reflect upon the present moment, allowing us to not be concerned about the past or the future, but truly encourages us to focus on the present moment of now. Through the effective use of pranayama, yogic breathing techniques, we are able to draw the breath out of the shallow upper lobes of the lungs and down deep into the belly which gives a beautiful sense of relaxation, offering us an opportunity to decompress.’

What yoga moves are good for relieving stress?


Forward bend, uttanasana

Forward bend, uttanasana

Sophie says, ‘A simple and very effective yoga posture that you can use to relieve stress is a standing forward bend, uttanasana. Standing with the feet firmly rooted, inhale reaching the arms up overhead, and on your exhale spread your arms wide and fold forwards. Once you have reached the edge of your stretch, let the arms relax down towards the ground. This posture stretches the hamstrings, and if done with a deeply bent knee it can also help to decompress the lower vertebrae of the spine. In addition to the physical benefits, once in this pose we feel a beautiful sense of calmness as we flip our perspective, you are reversing the blood flow by doing this, and I always like to imagine that all of the nonsense that has been concerning me is quite literally releasing from the top of my head.’

Child's pose

Child’s pose

Sophie says, ‘Another wonderfully centring posture is child’s pose, balasana. Practised from kneeling, draw the toes together and knees slightly apart, bend forwards from the waist and stretch the arms forward and encourage the forehead down towards the mat. This pose has a beautiful all-over calming quality. It is a resting posture that can help to quiet the mind and encourages you to draw inwards to a place where you feel safe and secure.’

With yoga you can relax and clear your mind of stressful thoughts while toning your body – perfect! Check out some of our great yoga videos to try and find some inner calm after a hard day, now.