Let your stress and anxiety melt away with these yin yoga poses that use a wall as a relaxing prop.
It’s easy to get caught up in the stress of a fast-paced society. Many of us regularly run from one thing to the next with barely enough time to exercise or even eat a full meal. It’s no wonder stress is so abundant that anxiety is now the most common mental illness in the U.S., affecting over 18% of the population. (1)
Since the world isn’t slowing down, it’s important for us to have the tools we need for when our stress levels begin to rise. Slower versions of yoga are one of the best tools you can use. Yin yoga involves holding relaxing poses for an extended period of time, typically two to 10 minutes. This allows your nervous system to calm down, switching from the flight-or-fight state of stress, anxiety, and panic to the rest-and-digest state of peace, calm, and ease. As your nervous system slows down, your heart rate slows and your breathing becomes deeper, which is essential for anxiety and preventing panic attacks. These deep stretches get into the fascia of your muscles, helping to release deeply stored tension.
Roll out your mat next to a wall so you can safely practice these yin poses with a little support. Remember to focus on breathing in and out of your nose and into your belly, which will further help your nervous system to calm down and your muscles to release tension. Grab a yoga block or pillow and get ready to relax!
Yin Yoga Wall Poses for Anxiety
Viparita Karani | 2 mins
Also known as “Legs Up The Wall”, this pose will quickly shift your mind from a state of stress to a state of ease.
- Sit facing a wall with your knees bent and feet on the floor.
- Lie down on your back and place your feet up on the wall. Press into your feet to lift your hips up and slide a yoga block or pillow underneath your hips for support. The closer you are to the wall, the deeper the stretch will feel in your hamstrings.
- Straighten your legs up the wall and extend your arms out to the sides. Close your eyes focus on your breath. If the pose feels too intense in your lower back, practice it without the block under your hips.
- Relax here for 2 minutes.
Butterfly | 2 mins
Release stored tension in the hips, inner thighs, and lower back with this wall pose.
- Begin with your legs up the wall. You can keep the block under your hips, or move it out of the way so that your hips are on the ground.
- Bend your knees and bring the soles of your feet together to touch. Let your knees butterfly out wide.
- Extend your arms out to the sides, close your eyes, and relax here for 2 more minutes. Stay focused on your breath.
Dragonfly | 2 mins
Melt the tension from your inner thighs and your mind with this relaxing yin pose.
- Start in the butterfly pose above.
- Then, separate your feet out wide to come into a straddle position. Reach your arms out the sides to feel an opening through your chest.
- Close your eyes and focus on your breath for another 2 minutes.
Melting Heart | 2 mins
Many of us spend our days stressed out about work as we hunch over our computers. This pose will open your chest and shoulders back up, releasing stored tension, stress, and anxiety.
- Stand up facing the wall. Bend your elbows and clasp your hands together, then place your forearms on the wall.
- Walk your feet back a few feet and then lower your chest down towards the ground, creating an L-shape at the hips.
- You should feel a deep stretch throughout the chest and shoulders. Close your eyes and hold for 2 minutes as your focus on deep, intentional breathing.
Standing Forward Bend | 2 mins
This pose calms the nervous system and relieves tightness from the hamstrings and hips.
- Stand up with your booty up against the wall and your feet hip-width distance apart. The closer your heels are to the wall, the deeper the stretch will feel.
- Bring a small bend into your knees and fold forward with a flat back, bringing your hands to the ground or to a yoga block.
- Let your head hang heavy and relax here for 2 minutes.
Reclined Pigeon | 2 mins per side
Release stored tension in your hips and lower back with this pose that will bring you back into a state of calm.
- Lie back down with your legs up the wall. Your hips should be on the ground about 2 feet away from the wall.
- Bend your knees and place your feet hips-width distance apart on the wall. Cross your right ankle over your left thigh. You should feel a stretch through your outer right hip and lower back.
- To deepen the stretch, scoot your hips a little bit closer to the wall, or use your right hand to gently press your right thigh open even more.
- Close your eyes and relax here for 2 minutes, then switch legs.
Half Dragonfly | 2 mins per side
This hybrid of butterfly and dragonfly poses will release any remaining tension from your hips, hamstrings, and lower back.
- Lie on your back with your legs up the wall.
- Bend your left knee, bringing the foot towards your right inner thigh, and butterfly the knee open. Then, lower your straight right leg out to the side.
- Reach your arms out to the sides and close your eyes, focusing on your breath for 2 minutes. Then, switch sides.