The Best Yoga Poses for Anxiety and Depression

Are you feeling overwhelmed, anxious, or depressed? Yoga can provide the support you need. Discover the best yoga poses to help you manage your emotions and find peace. You deserve to find relief.

Quick facts: Best Yoga Poses For Anxiety And Depression

  • ✅ Research has found that yoga postures may help reduce anxiety and depression by decreasing the levels of cortisol in the body (American Psychological Association).
  • ✅ Yoga and mindfulness-based therapies can help improve symptoms of depression and reduce the risk of relapse (Harvard Health Publishing).
  • ✅ A study published in The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine found that yoga poses can help reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety (The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine).
  • ✅ A study published in The Journal of Evidence-Based Complementary & Alternative Medicine showed that yoga can reduce stress, anxiety and depression, which are common among college students (The Journal of Evidence-Based Complementary & Alternative Medicine).
  • ✅ A review of studies published in The International Journal of Yoga found that yoga, combined with meditation, can be beneficial for improving symptoms of depression and anxiety (The International Journal of Yoga).


Yoga is becoming an increasingly popular exercise for people of all ages and backgrounds, with many individuals finding it to be an effective form of exercise that helps both their physical and mental wellbeing. For those who are suffering from anxiety or depression, yoga can be a great tool to help reduce symptoms associated with these conditions. Practicing specific poses can help calm the mind, allowing practitioners to gain better control over their emotions and thoughts.

This article will provide an overview of some of the best yoga poses for anxiety and depression, as well as how they work to promote relaxation. Additionally, suggestions on how to combine these poses into a comprehensive practice will be shared. By doing so, individuals will be able to gain greater insight into their experiences of anxiety or depression while developing greater self-awareness and mindfulness.

Benefits of Yoga for Mental Health

Yoga is an ancient practice with many known physical benefits, but it is also an effective tool for improving mental health. By combining poses, deep breathing, and meditation, yoga can help reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression. Let’s explore the benefits of yoga for mental health in more detail.

Improved Mood

Evidence shows that participating in regular yoga can improve your overall mood. This is due to the combination of physical activity and relaxation techniques, which help reduce stress, anxiety and depression. Regular practice of yoga helps the body to produce calming neurotransmitters, such as serotonin and dopamine. Additionally, the focus on breathing increases oxygen flow to the brain and reduces levels of cortisol – a hormone your body releases when it is under stress. By improving your mental health, you will experience a sense of overall well-being as well as improved physical health.

Research has also found that some poses are particularly beneficial for reducing anxiety and depression symptoms. For example, poses such as Child’s pose (Bālāsana), Corpse Pose (Śavāsana) and Bridge Pose (Setu Bandha Sarvangasana) are all effective in relaxing the mind and body while increasing flexibility in the spine.

Other poses like Warrior I (Vīrabhadrāsana I), Cobra Pose (Bhujangāsana) and Upward Facing Dog (Urdhva Mukha Śvānāsana) help combat feelings of fatigue or low energy while strengthening our core muscles or back muscles.

Stress Relief

Yoga is an effective form of stress relief. It can help relax both the mind and body, which can reduce anxiety and depression. One of the main benefits of yoga is that it helps to increase mindfulness, which has been found to reduce stress levels. Also, studies have found that regular yoga practice strengthens the brain’s prefrontal cortex, which plays a role in managing our reactions to stress.

Some of the best yoga poses for relieving stress include:

  • Child’s Pose (Balasana)
  • Cat-Cow Pose (Marjaryasana-Bitilasana)
  • Standing Forward Bend (Uttanasana)
  • Seated Forward Bend (Paschimottanasana)
  • Corpse Pose (Savasana)

These poses focus on slow breathing and deep relaxation, allowing your body to relax into each pose while releasing any built up tension or anxiety. Additionally, some other beneficial stress relief practices can be incorporated into a yoga practice such as chanting or watching guided meditations beforehand.

Improved Sleep Quality

The physical and mental benefits of yoga can help improve sleep quality. Anxiety and depression can cause insomnia, which has a negative impact on our health. Practicing yoga helps to relax the body while also calming the mind, which improves physical and mental wellbeing. A study in 2018 showed that regular yoga practice helped to reduce both insomnia and other associated symptoms such as fatigue, stress, anxiety and depression.

Yoga poses such as forward folds, supported poses like Child’s Pose or Tree Pose and breathing exercises like Ujjayi Breath or Nadi Shodhana Pranayama (Alternate Nostril Breathing) can help to relax the body and mind in order to promote better sleep quality. It is important to practice in a soothing atmosphere with no distractions from technology or other sources of stress as this will further aid relaxation by taking your focus away from any worries or anxieties that might be keeping you awake at night.

Yoga Poses for Anxiety and Depression

Yoga can be a great way to manage symptoms of anxiety and depression and to help keep your mental health in check. Certain yoga poses have been shown to have a calming effect on the body and mind and can be used as a tool to help manage symptoms.

In this article, we will discuss some of the best yoga poses that can be used to help manage anxiety and depression:

Child’s Pose

Child’s Pose is a gentle yoga pose that can help to reduce feelings of stress and anxiety. This pose involves sitting on the floor with the knees bent and feet pressing together. The body then folds forward and the head comes down to rest on the ground in front of you, palms resting by your sides.

Child’s Pose encourages proper breathing technique, which can have a calming effect on both anxiety and depression. This yoga pose helps to relax tight muscles in your back, neck and shoulders. As you relax into Child’s Pose, you will also gain a sense of comfort, relaxation and safety within your own body.

If you are feeling overwhelmed or stressed out, this pose is a great way to achieve mental clarity. It can also be used as preparation for other poses in yoga or an effective cool down at the end of your practice!

Cat/Cow Pose

Cat/Cow Pose is a powerful yoga pose that combines two poses, Cat Pose and Cow Pose. The two poses are performed in succession and create a gentle, graceful flow of movement. This combination of stretching and contraction helps release tension from the body, relieves anxiety and builds strength.

Cat/Cow Pose is especially beneficial for those who suffer from anxiety and depression because it combines calming breathing techniques with relaxing stretches. The gentle, rhythmic movement allows the body to enter a tranquil state, promoting relaxation, reducing stress levels and calming the mind. Additionally, this pose might help improve mental clarity while elevating your mood due to increased oxygen intake during the Slow Flow Breathing technique used during the pose. Together these components make this pose an excellent practice for managing symptoms associated with anxiety and depression.

Downward Facing Dog

Downward Facing Dog Pose, or Adho Mukha Svanasana, is a classic yoga posture used to counter anxiety and depression. This pose stretches the entire body while calming the mind and helping to release tension and stress.

To enter Downward Facing Dog Pose, start on your hands and knees with your arms shoulder-width apart. Spread your fingers wide and have your toes tucked. Lift your hips up towards the sky until they are in line with your shoulders and knees while keeping a slight bend in the knee. Press into all four corners of both feet evenly to bring length into both legs as you continue to push the hips up toward the sky. Create an extension at the crown of your head as you keep your tail bone close to your heels. Hold this pose for 3-5 breaths before lowering with control back down onto all fours.

Seated Forward Bend

Seated Forward Bend is a gentle yet powerful yoga pose. It helps to relieve stress, calm the mind and relax the body. This pose encourages circulation and flexibility in the spine and pelvis while calming the nervous system.

To begin, start in a seated position with your legs extended in front of you and your hands on either side of your body. Engage your core as you slowly fold forward at the hips, bringing your chest closer to your thighs. Your hands can come down to rest on top of your feet or can remain outstretched for support.

Maintaining this posture for several minutes helps you create space in the spine, reduce fatigue, improve digestion, and release tension from the neck and shoulders – all effective methods for combating anxiety and depression.

Corpse Pose

Corpse Pose, also known as Savasana, is a restorative yoga pose. It is widely considered to be the most important pose in yoga due to its therapeutic benefits. The Corpse Pose has been proven to reduce anxiety and depression by calming the nervous system and helping you relax, soothing away stress and worry. It can also help improve your overall mental health as it increases your awareness and focus while decreasing physiological arousal.

To practice Corpse Pose, lie flat on your back with your arms out at a comfortable angle (slightly wider than your shoulders). Close your eyes, draw your knees into your chest if necessary for comfort then slowly relax the body from head to toe. This pose should be held for at least five minutes or longer if necessary.

Other Tips for Managing Anxiety and Depression

Yoga can be an excellent way to manage anxiety and depression, however it is only one of many tools available. In addition to practicing yoga poses, there are many other strategies that you can use to manage your anxiety and depression.

Let’s explore some tips for managing anxiety and depression that are not related to yoga:


Meditation is a particularly effective practice for managing anxiety and depression. It can help to calm the mind, and can help you to become more aware of negative thought patterns that may be contributing to your feelings of anxiety or depression. During meditation, you focus on your breath or other objects of attention while letting go of distracting thoughts. Practicing this mindfulness exercise can allow you to break out of negative thought cycles and cultivate a calmer, more accepting attitude towards yourself.

There are many types of meditation (e.g., mantra meditation, visual imagery meditation, etc.), and it’s important to select one that fits your lifestyle and preferences. If guided meditations feel helpful, there are many great audio resources available that feature gentle voices guiding the listener through each step in the process. Meditation can also be done on your own in silence – all it takes is a few minutes a day!

Mindful Breathing

Mindful breathing is a great way to manage anxiety and depression. It involves focusing on your breath as it enters and leaves your body. This helps bring awareness to the present moment, allowing you to be more mindful of your emotions and thoughts. Mindful breathing can also help reduce stress, increase feelings of relaxation, improve mood, and reduce symptoms of depression or anxiety.

To practice mindful breathing, find a comfortable place to sit and focus on your breath for several minutes. Notice the sensation of the air entering and leaving your body. As thoughts come up, simply acknowledge them without judgement or resistance before refocusing on your breath again. With regular practice, you’ll be able to better manage anxious or depressed feelings with mindful breathing exercises.


Journaling is an excellent strategy to help manage depression and anxiety. Writing down your thoughts, feelings and experiences can help you gain a better understanding of how your emotions affect your life. By putting words to your experiences, you can identify patterns in how you think and feel and begin to take steps towards feeling better.

When journaling for anxiety or depression, focus on writing about the things that are bothering you so that you can find solutions for them. Additionally, writing about the things that make you happy or inspire gratitude can be helpful for changing your mindset in order to cope better with difficult situations. Journaling is a great way to get out of your own headspace and reframe events from a different perspective.


Yoga can be a very beneficial tool for those struggling with anxiety and depression. Different poses can help calm the mind, reduce stress, improve breathing and relaxation, enhance flexibility, improve posture, and increase energy. Additionally, yoga can be used to create an emotional connection between mind and body which can help those suffering from mental health conditions on their journey towards recovery.

The best poses for anxiety and depression are:

  • Garland Pose (Malasana)
  • Hero Pose (Virasana)
  • Child’s Pose (Balasana)
  • Corpse Pose (Shavasana)
  • Bound Angle Pose (Baddhakonasana)
  • Bridge Pose (Setu Bandhasana)
  • Cobra Pose (Bhujangasana)
  • Twist Poses (Matsyendrasana)
  • Standing Forward Bend Pose (Uttanasana)

Of course, it is important to find what works best for you. Listen to your body and practice poses that bring you relaxation and joy!

FAQs about: Best Yoga Poses For Anxiety And Depression

Q: What are some of the best yoga poses for anxiety and depression?

A: Some of the best yoga poses for anxiety and depression include child’s pose, forward fold, and bridge pose. Child’s pose helps to relax the body and mind, forward fold helps to release tension in the back, and bridge pose helps to open the chest and encourages deep breathing.

Q: Are there any specific breathing techniques that can help with anxiety and depression?

A: Yes, specific breathing techniques can be helpful in managing anxiety and depression. Ujjayi breath helps to calm the mind and relax the body. Alternate nostril breathing helps to balance the left and right hemispheres of the brain, and belly breathing helps to bring the focus to the present moment.

Q: What other activities can help with anxiety and depression?

A: Other activities that can help with anxiety and depression include meditation, journaling, mindfulness, and spending time in nature. Meditation helps to reduce stress and anxiety, journaling can help to process difficult emotions, mindfulness can help to stay present in the moment, and spending time in nature can be calming and grounding.

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