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Yoga for Depression and Anxiety

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Various yoga poses, breathing, and meditation techniques help in reducing depression, stress, and anxiety. Read the article below to know more.

Medically reviewed by

Shakti Mishra

Published At August 21, 2023
Reviewed AtAugust 21, 2023


Yoga and other exercises help increase the serotonin level in the brain, making the body and mind feel good. In people with stress and depression, the level of serotonin is less. Yoga helps in relaxing the mind and body without any intense exercises. Many yoga poses help in reducing anxiety and depression and help in calming the mind, and give greater mental health through relaxation.

Which Are the Yoga Poses That Help in Reducing Depression and Anxiety?

Some yoga poses that help reduce stress and anxiety are:

  1. Sukhasana or easy pose.

  2. Adho Mukha Svanasana or downward-facing dog pose.

  3. Urdhva Mukha Svanasana or upward-facing dog.

  4. Salamba Sarvangasana or shoulder stand.

  5. Uttanasana or standing forward fold pose.

  6. Balasana or child’s pose.

  7. Savasana or corpse pose.

How to Perform Yoga to Reduce Depression and Anxiety?

The yoga poses that help reduces stress and anxiety include the following -

  • Sukhasana or Easy Pose - Sit straight on the floor by keeping the spines straight and in a cross-legged position by keeping each foot under the opposite knee. Inhale and roll the shoulders near the ear. Exhale and roll back the shoulder downwards to the normal position. This will help in straightening the spine and improving the posture. Stretch the neck, keep the chin parallel to the floor, and look straight. Keep the hands on the knees. Relax the body completely and continue to hold in this position while taking deep breaths. Sukhasana, or easy pose, helps improve the posture by stretching the back. It helps increase focus and concentration and improves relaxation, reducing stress, depression, and anxiety.

  • Adho Mukha Svanasana or Downward Facing Dog Pose - The downward-facing dog pose helps strengthen the hand and shoulders by stretching the muscles of the hands and back. It helps lengthen the spine and improves posture. Start from the tabletop position by keeping both hands and knees on the floor. Lift the hip and knees from the floor while keeping the feet apart and stretched. Form an inverted V shape using the upper and lower portions of the body. Look towards the stomach and take deep breaths while continuing in that position for a few minutes. Relax and return to the normal position. This pose helps to improve the circulation of blood throughout the body, which helps in reducing stress, depression, and anxiety and improves mental clarity.

  • Urdhva Mukha Svanasana or Upward Facing Dog - Start lying on the floor by keeping the stomach downwards. Keep the feet pointed downwards and the hands near the chest by keeping the palms facing downwards. Extend the legs and press the hands and feet downwards. Inhale and straighten the legs and arms and keep the hands perpendicular to the floor by keeping the feet anchored. Bring the chest forward and upwards, and the shoulder should be brought back a little with the support of hands on the floor. Make a curve with the body, hold this position for five deep breaths, and relax and return to the normal position. The upward-facing dog helps in reducing the pain present in the lower back, and it helps in improving posture. This pose also helps in relieving stress and anxiety.

  • Salamba Sarvangasana or Shoulder Stand - Lie on the floor in a supine position by keeping the feet stretched and hands beside the body on both sides. Bend the knees and keep the feet straight on the floor. Exhale and press the hands on the floor. Slowly lift the feet and legs from the floor upwards. Lift the body by curling the pelvic region and bring the body perpendicular to the floor by keeping the shoulder and head on the floor. Keep the hands supporting the back. The body's weight should be evenly distributed on the shoulder and hands. Continue to hold this position for a few minutes, relax, and return to the normal position. The shoulder stand pose helps in calming the brain, which helps in reducing stress and depression. It helps stretch the muscles present in the neck and shoulder region. It helps in improving digestion and reduces fatigue and insomnia. It will help improve blood circulation to the brain, thereby helping to increase concentration and reduce anxiety.

  • Uttanasana or Standing Forward Fold Pose - Stand straight on the floor by keeping both legs slightly apart. Keep both hands beside the body on both sides and lengthen the spine. Slowly bend the upper part of the body from the pelvic region downward and forward. The hand should be placed on the ankle of the feet or the floor. Take deep breaths while holding in this pose. The standing forward fold pose helps increase the body's awareness and balance. It is a relaxing pose that helps calm the mind and body, thereby managing or reducing stress, anxiety, and depression by activating the parasympathetic nervous system. This pose helps stretch the muscles present in the back and shoulder.

  • Balasana or Child’s Pose - To begin the child pose, start from the tabletop position by keeping both the knees and hands on the floor. Keep the feet together and sit on the heels while separating the knees. Exhale and bend forward by keeping the head towards the ground and the hands forward above the head. Continue to hold in this position for a few minutes and return to normal. The child pose helps relax and calm the body and mind, thereby helping reduce stress and anxiety. It helps in regulating blood pressure.

  • Savasana or Corpse Pose - Lie down straight on the floor by keeping the feet slightly apart and the hands beside the body by keeping the palms upward. Close the eyes and relax the mind and body. Take slow and gentle breaths and focus on each body part starting from the toes. Relax every body part and stay in this position for 10 to 15 minutes. After completely relaxing the mind and body, slowly turn to the left side, lift the body, take deep breaths, and open the eyes. Savasana, or the corpse pose, helps completely relax the mind and body, thereby reducing stress, depression, and anxiety. It helps in calming the mind.


Various yoga poses, breathing techniques, and meditation can also help reduce stress and anxiety. Depression is commonly seen nowadays. Without any medication, yoga can help reduce mental stress and associated depression. Yoga helps increase the flexibility of the muscles and body, thereby reducing pain and increasing the energy in the body. It helps in keeping the blood pressure and heart rate normal. It also helps increase blood circulation, reducing stress and anxiety by calming and relaxing the mind.

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Shakti Mishra
Shakti Mishra


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