Try These 5-Minute Yoga Flows for Instant Stress Relief

I used to think yoga was just stretching, but after discovering these 5-minute flows, I'm a total convert! When I feel my shoulders getting tense or my mind racing with too many thoughts, I roll out my mat and flow through poses like child's pose, cat-cow, and rag doll for an instant zen-like chill. These short sequences help me take a pause whenever stress starts to creep in. I can't believe the difference just 5 little minutes can make when I'm feeling overwhelmed or anxious. My hope is that these fast yoga fixes will help you find the same relief! I'm pumped to share my favorite go-to flows that you can do anywhere, anytime. Get ready to breathe, move, and shake off the stress instantly!

How Yoga Relieves Stress

Yoga is one of the best ways I’ve found to combat stress and anxiety. Even just a short 5 or 10-minute yoga flow can help shift my mindset and release tension. Here are a few of the ways yoga works its magic:

  • Deep breathing. Yoga incorporates controlled, rhythmic breathing which helps lower your heart rate and blood pressure, activating your body’s relaxation response. Focusing on each inhale and exhale helps calm your mind and release worrying thoughts.
  • Gentle movement. Yoga poses and stretches release muscle tension and stimulate feel-good hormones like endorphins. Slow, gentle movements are calming for the nervous system. Twists, in particular, help wring out tension from the spine and core.
  • Balance and flexibility. Yoga helps create flexibility and balance in both the body and mind. Physically, yoga loosens tight muscles and connective tissue, increasing range of motion. Mentally, yoga helps you achieve balance by connecting your mind and body.
  • Meditation. Yoga incorporates elements of meditation which has been shown to decrease activity in the stress centers of the brain. Holding a pose and focusing on your breath draws your awareness inward and helps quiet the mind. This can help decrease stressful thoughts and increase feelings of peace and well-being.

Yoga is such an accessible way to find your zen. All you need is a little space and the ability to move comfortably. I encourage you to give some of these relaxing yoga flows a try—your mind and body will thank you! Even just a few minutes of conscious breathing and gentle stretching can help shift your mood and ease anxiety. Yoga truly is a gift for both the body and mind.

Getting Started With Calming Yoga

Are you feeling stressed and need to relax? Yoga is a great way to unwind and release tension. I’ve found five simple poses you can do in just 5 minutes to instantly relieve stress.

Child’s Pose

This restorative pose gently stretches your back, hips, and knees while calming your mind. Kneel on the floor with knees apart and big toes touching. Sit on your heels and fold forward, extending your arms in front of you. Breathe slowly and deeply, relaxing into the pose.

Corpse Pose

Lie on your back with arms at the sides, palms facing up. Spread your legs comfortably apart, close your eyes, and breathe deeply from your diaphragm. Release all tension from your body, letting your limbs feel heavy. Remain still for 2-5 minutes, allowing your breath to flow smoothly and naturally. This simple but profoundly relaxing pose helps quiet the mind and relieve stress.

Seated Twist

Sit with your legs extended, then bend your knees and place your feet on the floor. Extend your arms behind you for support. Twist your torso to one side as far as comfortably possible and hold for 30 seconds. Slowly unwind and twist to the opposite side, repeating for several rounds. Twists release tension in your back and hips while stimulating your abdominal organs.

Bridge Pose

Lie on your back with knees bent and feet flat on the floor, arms at the sides. Press into your feet and lift your hips, squeezing your glutes and shoulder blades. Interlace your fingers under your back for extra support. Hold for 1-2 minutes, breathing steadily. Bridge pose gently opens your chest and hip flexors, calming the body and mind.

Legs Up The Wall

Sit with one hip against a wall, then swing your legs up the wall, keeping your lower back straight. Extend your arms out to the sides, palms up. Relax your legs and breathe slowly and deeply for 5-10 minutes. This inverted pose drains fluid from your legs and increases circulation, leaving you feeling relaxed and rejuvenated.

These simple yoga poses done regularly can significantly lower your stress levels and induce a calm, meditative state. Give them a try—you’ll be instantly relaxed in just 5 minutes!

Yoga Poses for Stress Relief to Try

These quick and easy yoga poses are perfect for when you need to unwind and de-stress in just 5 minutes. As an avid yogi, I turn to these poses whenever I'm feeling overwhelmed or anxious. They work wonders for calming my mind and relaxing my body.

The first pose I like to do is a child's pose. Kneeling on the floor with knees apart and big toes touching, bend forward and extend your arms in front of you. Breathe slowly and deeply, allowing your back and shoulders to release. This is a restorative pose that gently stretches your lower back, hips, and thighs.

Next is a cat-cow pose. Get on your hands and knees, then arch your back upward, pushing your stomach toward the floor. Release your neck and allow your head to drop. Slowly lower your back downward while lifting your head upward. Flow gently back and forth, synchronizing your movement with your breath. This nurturing motion helps loosen your spine and relieve tension.

Another favorite is the bridge pose. Lie on your back with knees bent and arms at your sides. Raise your hips upward while squeezing your glutes and shoulder blades. Extend your arms overhead and hold the pose for a few deep breaths. Slowly lower back down and rest. This invigorating backbend opens your chest and hip flexors, stimulating your abdominal organs and thyroid gland.

Other highly effective poses include seated twists, legs up the wall, and savasana or corpse pose. Find what feels good for your body and surrender to the flow. Even just 5 minutes a day of gentle yoga can melt your stresses away, leaving you feeling revitalized and at peace. Namaste!

Yoga Pose for Relaxation - Child's Pose (Balasana)

Child's pose is one of my all-time favorite yoga poses for relaxation and stress relief. This simple pose gently stretches your lower back, hips, and knees while calming your mind and relieving tension.

When I'm feeling overwhelmed or anxious, I like to take a few minutes to sink into a child's pose. It's a peaceful respite from the busyness of life. To get into a child's pose, come to your hands and knees on your mat, then slowly sit back on your heels and fold forward, bringing your forehead to the floor. Extend your arms in front of you, palms facing down.

Breathe slowly and deeply, allowing your body to release into the floor. Feel the weight of your body sink into the mat with each exhale. If your forehead doesn't easily reach the floor, place a pillow under your head for support. Stay in the child's pose for 1 to 5 minutes.

Some other benefits of this soothing pose include:

  • Relieves lower back pain and tension. The arched back position gently massages your lumbar spine.

  • Stretches your hips, glutes, and thighs. The child's pose provides a deep stretch for your lower body.

  • Calms the mind. The inward, resting position of the child's pose is very meditative and helps quiet a restless mind.

  • Eases digestion. The compression on your abdomen aids digestion and elimination.

When you're ready to come out of the child's pose, slowly roll up to sit on your heels, then lift your torso. Take a moment to notice how calm and rejuvenated you feel. The child's pose is a simple but powerful pose that can be practiced anytime you need to relax and de-stress. I highly recommend making it a part of your regular self-care routine!

Yoga Pose for Relaxation - Forward Bend (Uttanasana)

The forward bend pose, also known as Uttanasana, is one of my favorite yoga poses for instant stress relief. This simple pose helps relax the mind and body by stimulating the parasympathetic nervous system, calming the brain, and releasing feel-good hormones like GABA.

How to do the forward bend:

Stand with feet hip-width apart, arms by your sides. Exhale and slowly fold forward at the hips, bringing your chest towards your thighs. Let your neck and head relax into the pose. Place your hands on the floor in front of you, on blocks, or grab opposite elbows behind your back.

Breathe slowly and deeply, allowing your body to release into the pose with each exhale. Feel the tension melting from your back, neck, and shoulders. Stay in the pose for 1 to 3 minutes. To come out of the pose, slowly roll back up to standing, vertebra by vertebra.

Benefits of the forward bend:

  • Releases tension in the back, neck, and shoulders. Ah, sweet relief!
  • Calms the mind and reduces anxiety. The inverted position helps shift your mindset and mood.
  • Stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system. This activates your body's relaxation response, slowing your heart rate and breath.
  • Releases feel-good hormones like GABA, dopamine, and serotonin. These natural chemicals act as the body's built-in anti-anxiety and anti-depressant drugs.
  • Improves digestion. The inversion helps stimulate the vagus nerve which aids digestion and gut health.
  • Energizes the body. Although it's a calming pose, the forward bend also provides an invigorating rush of oxygen to the brain and body. You'll feel rejuvenated when you slowly roll back up.

The forward bend is one of the simplest but most powerful yoga poses for melting away stress and soothing your mind and body. Next time you're feeling overwhelmed or anxious, take 5 minutes to flow through some forward bends. Your mind and body will thank you!

Yoga Pose for Relaxation - Legs Up the Wall (Viparita Karani)

As my energy starts to run low in the afternoon, this simple restorative pose is one of my go-to for recharging. Legs up the wall, or viparita karani, is one of the gentlest inversions in yoga that provides an amazing sense of relaxation.

How to do it:

  1. Place a bolster, pillow, or folded blanket a few inches from a wall.
  2. Sit sideways on the prop with your right hip close to the wall.
  3. Swing your legs up the wall and scoot your body down so your tailbone is on the prop and your legs are extended up the wall.
  4. Rest your arms by your sides, palms facing up. Close your eyes and breathe.

Remaining in this pose for just 5 to 15 minutes can have remarkably calming effects. As my legs ascend up the wall, I feel the tension and tightness in my lower back release. My mind quiets as a sense of ease washes over my whole body.

With each inhale, I invite tranquility and serenity. With each exhale, I release anxiety, stress, and overwhelm. My body feels nourished by the inversion, as fresh blood flows into all my major organs and tissues. When I emerge from the pose, I feel balanced and rejuvenated, ready to tackle the rest of my day with renewed clarity and composure.

For many yoga students, the legs up the wall pose evokes a profound sense of relaxation. The simple act of reversing your body's orientation to gravity can shift your mood and melt away physical and mental exhaustion. If you're feeling stressed or frazzled, I highly recommend adding this restorative inversion to your self-care routine. You'll be glad you did!

Yoga Pose for Relaxation - Corpse Pose (Savasana)

Of all the yoga poses for stress relief and relaxation, the Corpse Pose is by far my favorite! As the name suggests, you just lie down like a corpse and completely relax your body and mind. It may sound simple, but trust me, after holding some of the other invigorating yoga poses, Savasana feels like bliss.

To get into Corpse Pose, lie down on your back with arms at your sides, palms facing up. Make sure your body is aligned and your back is flat against the floor. Close your eyes and focus on your breathing. Take slow, deep breaths from your diaphragm to relax your body.

systematically tense and relax different muscle groups in your body one by one. Start with your feet and legs, then abdomen and chest, then hands and arms, shoulders and neck, and finally your face. Tighten the muscle group, hold for a few seconds, exhale, and release. Feel the tension melt away.

Do a body scan meditation where you mentally scan each part of your body for any remaining tension. Release any tightness with each exhale. Let your body sink into the floor and feel completely supported.

Stay in Corpse Pose for 5 to 15 minutes. The longer you stay, the more relaxed and rejuvenated you'll feel. I like to set a timer so I don't have to keep checking the time. This allows me to fully let go and reach a meditative state.

When the timer goes off, slowly open your eyes and wake your body by moving your fingers and toes. Bend your knees into your chest and roll over to your side. Take a few breaths and slowly push yourself up to a seated position. You'll feel calm and centered, ready to take on the world again!

Savasana is a gift you can give yourself any time you need to de-stress and recharge. I hope you'll make this relaxing yoga pose for stress relief a regular part of your self-care routine. Namaste!

Yoga for Relaxation FAQs

Have questions about using yoga for stress relief and relaxation? I’ve got you covered! Here are some of the most common questions I get asked about calming yoga practices.

What are the best yoga poses for relaxation?

Some of my favorite relaxing poses include:

  • Corpse pose: Lay flat on your back with arms at your sides, and palms up. Close your eyes and breathe deeply, releasing any tension.
  • Legs up the wall: Place your legs vertically against a wall, with your back flat on the floor. This inverted pose is deeply rejuvenating.
  • Cat-cow pose: Slowly arch and round your back, coordinating your breath. This gentle flow helps release tension in the spine.
  • Seated twist: Sit with one leg extended, bend the other knee, and place the sole of your foot against the inner thigh. Twist your torso to look behind you. Twist in the opposite direction and repeat. Twists release tightness in the back and hips.
  • Child's pose: Kneel with knees apart and big toes touching. Fold forward, bringing your forehead toward the floor. Extend your arms in front of you. Breathe slowly and deeply, allowing your body to relax on the floor.

How long should I practice relaxation yoga?

Even just 5 to 10 minutes of relaxation yoga a day can help melt away stress and tension. You can do a full 30 to 60-minute relaxation practice but don't feel like you have to do that much to benefit. Start with a short amount of time and build up as you're able. The most important thing is making it a habit and being consistent.

What should I focus on during relaxation yoga?

Focus on your breath, releasing any areas of tightness or discomfort with each exhale. Release thoughts and clear your mind. Focus on the sensations in your body. Let your muscles relax and sink into the floor or yoga mat. Feel the flow of your breath travel through your body. Stay present in the current moment. Allow your body and mind to rest.