Stop, Drop, and Yoga: Best One-Off Yoga Poses for Stress Relief

Your life is busy and sometimes you may feel like you don’t have the time (or energy) to give yourself the gift of a full yoga class. Today I want to share with you how to incorporate the healing benefits of yoga into your daily life- without sacrificing the time, money, or energy. 

Without proper education, we may think that Yoga has to be done in a full and complete sequence. This is not true! When we approach yoga more like therapy, we can begin to see and understand the benefits of just 5-10 minutes of practicing per day. 

Yoga works to reduce stress, improve mobility, relieve physical pain, and release mental and emotional tension. 

Shortening our yoga practice gives us the  opportunity to fine tune our experience and to tend to the parts of us that need support most (whether that be physical, mental, or emotional on any given day). 

Read on as I share my top 3 favorite yoga poses that can be done all by themselves for stress relief, anytime, anywhere! 

Seated Cat and Cow (or Tabletop Cat and Cow)

The variation you choose may be dependent on your own mobility and the environment you find yourself in when you feel the need for a stop, drop, and yoga. 

Cat and Cow is all about contracting and flexing the spine, moving energy through the body, releasing back pain by increasing blood flow, and positively stimulating the nervous system. 

For seated cat and cow take a simple criss-cross seat, and place your hands over your knees. 

Begin by gently pulling on the knees to guide your heart forward, lift your chin to the sky. 

Feel the opening and expansion through your heart and throat. Breathe in here. 

When it comes time to breathe out, we shift into Cat. 

Continue with the hands on the knees, gently pulling forward back now, arching your spine, letting the chest collapse inward and dropping your chin towards your heart. 

Continue moving back and forth between these two poses, enjoying the sensation of creating these gentle, flowing waves of movement through the body. 

For TableTop Cat/ Cow, begin on your hands and knees and move through the same motions. 

Rag doll fold 

This yoga pose will help you to quickly release mental and emotional stress while also tractioning out your spine, creating more ease and relief in the lower back, glutes, and hamstrings. 

Begin standing with feet a little wider than hip width apart. Bend into your knees generously and start to fold over from the hips until you are completely inverted. 

I like to grab my opposite elbow here and gently sway side to side, deepening the lower back release. 

Otherwise you can simply place the hands on the ground beneath your head. 

Stay here for as long as you’d like (do not stay in this pose if you are beginning to feel lightheaded) and make sure to breathe deeply, fully, and consciously. To release, bend your knees deepy and very slowly roll up to standing, one vertebrae at a time.

Butterfly Fold 

This yoga pose will relieve physical tension from the hips, as well as the cervical and lumbar spine. It will also quickly help lower your energy, deepen your breathing, and soothe your mind, body, and spirit. This is a great pose to do if you are feeling suddenly anxious or before bedtime. 

Begin by sitting on the floor or bed, and bend the knees, bringing your soles of feet together. This creates a butterfly shape with the legs. Gently grab your ankles or lower legs and start to slowly fold over from the hips. Release the head and neck and feel free to stack blocks, pillows, or other props available to you underneath the forehead for additional support. 

Breathe deeply and let yourself be fully present with whatever sensations arise within you. 

Stay here for at least a few minutes and make sure to release slowly and gently. 

So, there you have it, friends. Yoga poses that can be done anytime, anywhere, and all by themselves! Next time you need a quick boost, or are experiencing pain during your day- don’t wait: stop, drop, and yoga! You are sure to feel so much better afterwards.