Stress Less: 5 Yoga Poses for Stress Management

Yoga practice can help you balance the connection between your body and mind for increased awareness and less stress.

Unfortunately, today there is no shortage of stress. From the demands of a career and balancing a family to the current events around the world, people are experiencing stress at every turn.

Common symptoms of stress include racing thoughts, inability to focus, tight muscles, and difficulties sleeping. Regardless of how it manifests, stress can be combated with mindfulness and movement. Many people find this most easily achieved through yoga.

By engaging in a yoga practice, you are learning to balance the connection between your body and your mind. This increased awareness improves your ability to remain calm and reduce stress.

Here are five simple poses to try to help manage symptoms of stress.

Standing Forward Bend

This pose stretches your hamstrings, thighs, and hips. Often used as a transition between other poses, a standing forward bend is intended to promote calmness and balance the nervous system.

How to do it

  1. From a normal standing position, reach up high and take a deep breath in.

  2. As you exhale, bend your knees and hinge forward from your hips until you are able to place your palms on the floor in front of your feet (or press your palms into a block if that feels good).

  3. Grab each elbow from the opposite hand.

  4. For a deeper stretch, try gently straightening your legs.

  5. Hold this pose for 6-8 rounds of breath before rising back to a standing position. To come up, inhale while stretching your arms out into a T-shape and coming up with a flat back.

Extra stress-less tip

Imagine your worries and stress flowing from the top of your head all the way down to your feet, and being absorbed by the ground.


We often carry stress in our backs, and this pose provides a soothing stretch to the lower back and massages the spine to help relieve stress.

How to do it

From all fours:

  1. Exhale and round your back up toward the sky. Focus on bringing your belly button up towards your spine. This is cat pose.

  2. Transition to cow pose by inhaling and tilting your pelvis back. Your tailbone should stick up as you focus on keeping your abdominal muscles hugging your spine.

Extra stress-less tip:

Focus on keeping your shoulders relaxed so you are not simply transferring stress from one part of the body to another. Pro-tip: Keep a tiny bend in your elbows to reduce any stress on your wrists.

Child’s Pose

This is often used throughout a practice to help quiet a busy mind by allowing you to embrace your inner child. By stretching your back, hips, thighs, and ankles you are allowing your body to destress.

How to do it

From all fours:

  1. Slowly sit back over your heels with your hands in front of you.

  2. Take a breath and bend forward from the hips until your chest is resting on your thighs and your head is resting on your yoga mat.

  3. You are able to rest your arms alongside your body, you may stack your hands toward the front of the mat to rest your head on your forearms.

  4. Hold this position for 5-10 breaths (always do what feels good to you!).

Extra stress-less tip:

With each exhale, release as much air as you can. Imagine your worries are flowing out of you with each breath out.

Bridge Pose

This is a mild inversion (heart higher than head) and is used to calm the central nervous system. By doing this, you’re promoting ease and relaxation.

How to do it

From lying flat on your back:

  1. Bend both knees and place feet hip-width apart on the floor.

  2. Arms stay alongside your body with an open palm facing up.

  3. With a deep inhale, roll your spine off the floor and lift your hips up.

  4. Press down through your arms and shoulders to lift your chest and engage legs and glutes to lift hips higher.

  5. Hold for five 5-8 rounds of breath before exhaling and slowly lowering back to the ground.

Extra stress-less tip:

Don’t over-exert on any type of inversion pose. Always focus on your breathing. If you need extra support, add a yoga block under your tailbone. And as always, if you ever need to take a break, release into a position that feels good for you.

Corpse Pose

Often done last, many consider corpse pose to be the most calming part of a yoga class. It promotes physical, mental, and emotional grounding which allows you to put your mind at ease.

How to do it

From lying flat on your back:

  1. Place your legs apart but not wider than the mat and keep your arms at your side with open palms facing up.

  2. Close your eyes and focus on softening your face.

  3. Focus on breathing and bringing your attention to each part of your body (start at the top of your head and scan down until you reach your toes).

  4. Hold this position for 3-5 minutes.

Extra stress-less tip:

Use a guided meditation like Yoga Nidra if you need help focusing your attention on the different parts of your body.

Individually, these poses are a wonderful source of calm and recentering. But if you’re looking to truly manage your stress long-term, consider integrating yoga into your routine more regularly. Learn more about how 19 Minute Yoga can help you reduce stress with simple sequences you can do anywhere, in 19 minutes or less.

Scroll to Top