Julie Hambleton
Julie Hambleton
March 4, 2024 ·  5 min read

7 Soothing Yin Yoga Poses to Calm Anxiety

Wind down with this intensely soothing yin yoga routine.

When you’re stressed to the max, it’s time to drop down to your mat and engage in some seriously calming yin poses. Yin is a type of yoga that targets the deep muscle tissues of the body called fascia where trigger points (or knots) can form when you’re stressed. The deep stretches in yin work to release pain and tension in the fascia by holding passive postures for an extended period of time, allowing the fascia to soften and release.

Just like getting a massage, the physical tension releasing effects of yin yoga has a positive effect on our mental state, helping us to feel more relaxed and happy. Yin yoga postures can also be meditative, helping you to become present and bringing your nervous system into its calm rest and digest state, which allows stress and anxiety to melt away.

Use these yin yoga poses 1-2 times daily to relax and soothe your chronic stress.

Things to remember:

  • Because they work deep into the muscle, yin postures can feel intense. This intensity should feel like when you are getting a deep tissue massage. Breathe through it.
  • If you ever feel sharp pain, come out of the pose.
  • For maximum benefits, practice your yin poses in a calm, quiet environment.
  • The first few times you practice yin poses, you may periodically feel a bit antsy. Just come back to your breath and focus on surrendering to the moment.
  • As you become more experienced with these poses, you can practice holding them longer.

7 Soothing Yin Yoga Poses to Calm Anxiety

Butterfly | 2 mins

This hip-opening and lower back-releasing forward fold will calm your nervous system and help bring a sense of peace and serenity.

  1. Sit on your mat and bring the soles of your feet to touch, allowing your knees to open like a butterfly. The closer your heels are to your body, the deeper the stretch will feel.
  2. Take an inhale as you lengthen your spine, then exhale to walk your hands forward as far as it feels comfortable.
  3. Relax your chin down towards your chest and relax your arms and shoulders. Close your eyes and take a couple of deep inhales and exhales to release tension. Then, find a natural breath as you hold for at least two minutes.

Melting Heart | 2 mins

Melts away your stress away as you open the chest, lats, and shoulders in this pose.

  1. Begin on your hands and knees in a tabletop position.
  2. Keeping your hips stacked over your knees, crawl your hands towards the top of your mat and lower your forehead down.
  3. Lengthen the arms out and melt your chest towards the ground. Take a couple of deep, stress-releasing breaths. Then, close your eyes and find a natural breath while you hold for two minutes.

Dragonfly | 2 mins

This hamstrings and hip opener helps to release any built-up tension from the hips.

  1. Sit on your mat and straddle your legs out to the sides. The further out they go, the more intense the stretch will feel. Flex your toes up toward the sky.
  2. Inhale to sit up tall and lengthen your spine, then exhale to crawl your hands forward as far as you can. Fold with a long spine, reaching your forehead forward. You can stay up on your palms or lower to your forearms. Relax your head and shoulders.
  3. Take a few deep breaths, then find a natural breath as you relax into the pose for two minutes.

Sleeping Swan | 2 mins per side

This pose alleviates tension from the hips, quads, and lower back, bringing your body and mind into a peaceful and relaxed state.

  1. Start on your hands and knees in a tabletop position.
  2. Pick up your right leg and bring the shin forward, positioning your knee behind your right wrist. Flex the toes back.
  3. Straighten your left leg back behind you and point the toes. Square your hips off to the top of your mat.
  4. Take an inhale to lengthen your spine, then exhale to crawl the hands towards the top of your mat. Lower to your forearms or all the way down to your forehead.
  5. Find a natural breath and close your eyes to relax for two minutes. Switch sides.

Cat Tail | 1-2 mins per side

This relaxing twist will wring out all of your stress.

  1. Lie on your back. Hug your right knee into your chest and lengthen your left leg down your mat.
  2. Take an inhale, then exhale and use your left hand to cross your right thigh across your body to come into a twist.
  3. You can always stay here, but if you’d like to go further, bend your left leg and capture your left foot with your right hand for a quad stretch. Try to keep your right shoulder close to the floor.
  4. Keep your head looking straight up or gaze over your right shoulder.
  5. Close your eyes and hold for one to two minutes. Then, switch sides.

Stirrup | 2 mins

This pose relaxes the mind and body while opening up the hips and lower back.

  1. Lie down on your back.
  2. Lift your feet off the ground and hug your knees up toward your chest. Bring your upper arms inside of your thighs.
  3. Keep your lower back flat on the ground and reach your hands to the outer edges of your feet. If your lower back starts to lift, catch hold of your ankles, calves, or thighs instead.
  4. Close your eyes and find a natural breath as you hold for 2 minutes.

Savasana | 5 mins

Also known as “corpse pose,” this relaxing pose is the ultimate de-stressor.

  1. Lie on your back with your legs down long and your feet out wide. Turn your palms up and allow your toes to fall outward.
  2. Close your eyes. Take a big breath in to fill up your belly. Then, take a loud exhale out of your mouth.
  3. Find a natural breath and allow yourself to completely surrender for at least five minutes.