Life gets busy. With scheduling meetings, getting to work, running errands, driving kids around, spending time with family, cooking, housework and more, it seems there isn’t enough time in the day to get everything done.

The key is to create your own breaks to eliminate stress and get away from it all. Yoga is the perfect solution for when life gets stressful and you need a break. It’s one of the only activities that provides a mind-body stress release and can be done almost any time or anywhere.

Although practicing yoga and moving your body through various poses can seem like a purely physical pursuit, there is a strong mental component as well.  The concentration and focused breathing required to maintain and enjoy a pose can bring release, which relaxes both body and mind and helps with managing stress.

Here are some poses that are especially effective to calm your mind and manage stress.

Eagle pose
Eagle pose requires mental fortitude and brings clarity in strength. It strengthens your legs and the joints of the ankles and knees while at the same time stretching the upper back and releasing tension around the shoulders.

Eagle-Pose

Standing forward fold pose
Standing forward fold can help release tension in the lower back and lengthen tight hamstrings. This pose can be performed with bent knees if hamstrings are tight. It can open the hips, activate abdominals and lengthen calves. As a bonus, it also lengthens your spine, creating space between the joints. By working all these areas, standing forward fold helps reduce stress and alleviate anxiety and fatigue.

Forward-Fold

Child’s pose
Often a favorite Child’s pose is a calming pose that can free the mind and provide gentle relief to the hips, neck and back. This pose is good for elongating the lower back and opening up the hips. It is also a good one to calm your mind, as your brain feels like it’s safe and OK to rest in this position.

Childs-Pose

Reclining butterfly
Lying on your back with the soles of your feet together and knees wide, reclining butterfly allows the hips to release and gives you a chance to focus on your breath. Deep, slow, rhythmic breathing will encourage relaxation in the hips, an area where we tend to store a lot of stress. To relax the hips even further place a block underneath each knee or thigh for extra support.

Reclined-Butterfly

Stretching the arms out to the side or even resting them above the head can open the chest, relax the shoulders and allow for full deep diaphragmatic breathing.

The next time you’re feeling stressed out, try to focus more on these poses in your practice. If you’re fairly new to yoga, consider checking out a class near you to practice body alignment, breathing and specific techniques. You’ll be feeling stronger, more flexible and less stressed in no time.