In life, sometimes the words “let it go” just seem unattainable.
We’ve all been there, where no matter which way you look or turn, you seem to continue to be stuck with a heavy weight of stress and worry.
Yoga can bring a change in your life that is not always fully understood. It can calm the mind, heal the soul, and help align what was previously believed to be unreachable.
I’ve spent many years through ups and downs and what I’ve found is that if I release into my practice, my mind calms, worries are subdued, and stress can be managed. The first step in reaching that point is truly wanting to learn how to “let it go.”
As you go on your path, you’ll find the real work starts by acknowledging that you do want to release what’s weighing you down. Whether your burdens are big, small, major, or minor, understanding that you want to make a change is the first step in the process.
Practice These 4 Yoga for Stress Relief Poses to Actually “Let It Go:”
Yoga helps your body connect to your mind to eliminate stressful things in your life that you need to let go of. Working with yoga for stress relief poses is a great way to properly align your mind to your body and help release, secure, and nourish your own beautiful self.
Use these four yoga for stress relief poses to let go of what isn’t serving you:
1. Downward Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana)
Down Dog is the ultimate connection pose, affecting everything from the head to the toes. This pose combines strength with stretching and helps to relax and balance the mind and body.
Downward Facing Dog is also an inversion, since your head is below your heart. Inversions can improve circulation and relax the mind, among other things. Taking a few moments to feel these benefits will help you to have a clearer sense of what direction you’d like to take and, ultimately, a greater ability to let go of your struggles.
Let’s try it:
- Start in Tabletop with your wrists under your shoulders and your knees under your hips
- Lift your heels and slowly press into your palms
- Engage your core, and lift your hips to the sky (as if someone were lifting you by your tailbone)
- Mindfully straighten your legs as much as you comfortably can and let your heels sink back toward the earth (depending on your flexibility or your bony structure, your heels might not touch the ground – and that is just fine!)
- Continue to press the mat away and lengthen your spine
- Ever so slightly, rotate your thighs inward
- Relax your head and align it with your upper arms
2. Cobra Pose (Bhujangasana)
Cobra Pose can relieve tension and stiffness surrounding the muscles in your back, improve circulation, elevate your mood, and reduce fatigue, helping you on your journey to “let it go.”
Let’s try it:
- From Down Dog, shift your weight forward into Plank
- Release your knees to the floor and slowly lower in one flat piece all the way down to the mat
- Flip your toes so the tops of your feet, thighs, and pubic bone are all planted firmly into the ground
- Start to straighten your arms as much as is comfortable, lift your chest up, and open your heart
- Roll your shoulders down your back
- Lift your sternum upward
3. Upward Salute (Urdhva Hastasana)
Mountain Pose is the foundation of all standing poses. And Upward Salute is a beautifully empowering variation of Mountain Pose. Both poses physically create space, strengthen the legs and abdomen, lengthen the spine, promote good posture, and help bring a calmness and unity to your body and mind.
Urdhva Hastasana creates space for enthusiasm, energy, and harmony.
Let’s try it:
- Start with both feet firmly grounded into the earth
- Push your big toes and the outer corners of your feet firmly into the floor to help stabilize your body
- Slowly raise your arms above your head and open your heart
- Rotate your thighs inward
- Draw your rib cage toward your spine
- Engage your core
- Breathe deeply and slowly to help keep your calm sense of stability
- If you’d like an additional challenge, try to close your eyes and just trust yourself!
4. Standing Forward Fold (Uttanasana)
Not only can a Standing Forward Fold help you let go of stiffness in your neck and back, but it also helps you let go of unwanted stress, anxiety, and fatigue.
This pose is another inversion and helps soothe the nerves. A bad morning followed by a handful of Uttanasana sequences can help you to re-evaluate your situations and tackle them with a clearer, less reactionary mindset.
Let’s try it:
- From Tadasana, bring your hands to your hips
- Hinge from your hips and fold forward over your legs
- Bend your knees as much as you’d like to and rest your hands wherever is comfortable for you
- Let your head hang loose
Let It Go! Use Yoga for Stress Relief to Let Go of What You Don’t Need
While we don’t forget what has happened to cause the pressure in the first place (because maybe we aren’t even supposed to), we can hope to have the ability to reduce any worry, stress, or anxiety associated with it.
Strengthening your mind-body connection will give you more power to take control over your own actions and decisions.
Yoga for stress relief won’t solve your problems, nor will it change or control other circumstances or people. But hopefully, they’ll give you the power to help you let go of what needs to be released and take control of your own actions and reactions.
This way, you can completely focus on what you want to have in your life.
Need to let it go a bit more? Get the fire burning! Let That Sh*t Go! Here’s How to Perform a Burning Ceremony to Let Go and Move On
Photos: BiCoastal Collaboration