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What are the most effective yoga exercises to relieve stress?

What are the most effective yoga exercises to relieve stress? 1

Some figures on stress

The professional stress is more present than we think … It is quite difficult today to find surveys on stress and anxiety in general. When you go to the doctor, it is very rare that the reason for the consultation is stress. We do not admit to ourselves that we are stressed and we will consult a doctor to remedy it.

In the United States, the American Institute of Stress estimates that stress is responsible for 75 to 90% of medical consultations and 60 to 80% of accidents at work.

Yet it is the symptoms of stress that push to consult: insomnia, back pain, muscle tension, increased heart rate, and even depressions.

Most of the surveys conducted focus on stress at work. But of course, work stress affects the private sphere and well-being in general.

The cost of work stress is estimated at 1.6 billion euros per year in France (INRS).

For the company, it is mainly about absenteeism, turnover, accidents at work, decreased creativity and productivity and a deterioration of the working environment.

For society, it is mainly the risks of illness and the health costs involved that are taken into account in the calculation of the cost of stress.

For the employee, the consequences are numerous:

  • 37% of respondents say that their sleep is disrupted because of work,
  • 30% say their health is getting worse because of work,
  • 35% say they are psychologically exhausted.

According to WHO, France is the 3 rd country to record the highest number of depressions in connection with work.

Stress affects 4 out of 10 employees .

Yoga, a powerful remedy for stress

To manage stress, yoga is a solution found! Indeed, it is about harmonizing the body and the mind and focusing on the present moment by combining postures called asana in Sanskrit .

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According to Carine Barco, a hypnotherapist and yoga teacher , “While yoga is often practiced as a form of physical exercise, it is first and foremost a science of well-being that seeks the health of the body and the union of the body. physical and the mind .

Yoga is a form of letting go , a moment to yourself in a world that often goes too fast and in which one can quickly feel overwhelmed and stressed.

It’s not just a physical exercise, as Carine Barco explained, it’s a real way of life . The practice of yoga can teach stress management by acting on the relaxation of muscles and spine, on breathing.

Practicing yoga regularly helps to reach a level of serenity and calm important  to fight against anxiety and relax.

Forgotten insomnia problems, feeling of heavy legs, muscle tension or back pain. Did you say magic? Almost !

Doing yoga also helps you lose weight .

Yoga requires rigor and discipline just like any exercise.

You have to give some of it, but the game is worth it!

What yoga postures against stress?

If regular yoga practice is beneficial to the body and mind, there are postures that you can easily perform at home or in the office, as soon as you feel stressed and feel the need.

Here is a series of four postures from hatha yoga (the best known in the West) to relieve tension in 5 minutes .

The chair (Utkatasana) to warm up

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To warm up gently!

This posture helps concentration and evacuates physical tension .

It’s like pretending you’re sitting on a chair:

  • Standing, feet together, bend your knees while pushing the buttocks back,
  • Raise your arms above your head in the extension of the back, hands joined,
  • Keep the position on 3 full breaths by squeezing the abs and keeping the heels on the ground.
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The clamp-standing (Padahasta Asana) to chase tensions

This posture stretches the back and helps oxygenate the brain and chase nervous tension.

Think about tilting the pelvis back and let gravity:

  • Standing, feet together, shoulders are low, arms are in the air,
  • Take a breath and on the exhale, lower the head and the bust until the fingers touch the ground (if need bend the knees),
  • Go back slowly on an inspiration,
  • Repeat 3 to 6 times keeping your stomach tight during exercise.

The tree (Vrksâsana) to improve the balance

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Become aware of your breath during exercises.

This posture allows you to refocus your attention by making balance work:

  • Standing, feet together, place the right foot inside the left thigh (on the knee or ankle if it is too difficult),
  • Clasp hands and clasp hands in front of you on an expiration,
  • Looking ahead,
  • Keep the position on 3 complete breaths and change legs.

The cat that stretches (Marjarasana) to relax the back

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Take an example of a cat that stretches!

This posture is perfect for developing respiratory “flexibility” . It stretches and muscle back to fight against pain:

  • On all fours, hands in the axis of the shoulders and knees in the axis of the hips, let the back be placed naturally,
  • The head is in the extension of the spine, the abdominals are tight,
  • Inhale slowly digging your back, vertebrae after vertebra, and lifting your chin and gaze to the sky,
  • Exhale slowly , rounding the back and lowering the chin and looking towards the ground,
  • Repeat between 5 and 10 complete breaths .

20 minutes of yoga after a stressful day

If you have a little more time, have had a particularly stressful day, have a presentation that makes you nervous the next day or just want to relax, take a real yoga class online.

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Sandrine Bridoux, yoga teacher, offers a video to relax with her for 20 minutes .

Other tips of yoga philosophy to evacuate any tension

You are told how to relax with techniques derived from the art of living of yoga .

You do not necessarily need to do postures, sometimes difficult to achieve in the office and / or during a stress episode.

Breathe deeply

Abdominal breathing is obviously the basis of yoga practice . The relaxation exercises are all based on good breathing.

Known in yoga as pranayama , literally “life force”, deep breathing brings extra oxygen that helps the body to relax.

Breathing deeply stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system, which helps to relieve tension and reduce blood pressure, while fast breathing, synonymous with stress, stimulates the orthosympatic nervous system.


The American Institutes of Health are convinced that visualizing a positive image provokes a reaction of relaxation .

Installed comfortably, just close your eyes and see a peaceful scene (beach, forest, future holidays …). Imagine realizing a future goal is also beneficial and brings calm and well-being!

A tip of Naam yoga

Become a good yogi by practicing ashtanga yoga.

Apply pressure to limit stress.

According to Sharon Melnick, author of the book Success Under Stress , applying pressure on the joint at the base of the index and middle finger activates a nerve that relaxes the area near the heart, allowing the feeling of stress to leave.

We can always try !

Gradually release the muscles

Contract the muscles of the feet as much as possible and then release them. Reassemble gradually: calves, thighs, buttocks, belly, arms, hands ending with the face.

To contract muscles to relax  seems paradoxical but it works. It is often recommended for patients who have suffered from depression or anxiety disorders.

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