👇🏽 Click below for a guided foundational yoga-asana practice designed for daily use to address chronic stress, fear or anxiety, fatigue, and/or exhaustion for anyone at any “level” with overworked adrenals, kidneys, central nervous system, and psoas. A full-length practice is also available as part of the Holistic Liberation Program.

All yoga isn’t created equal. The same asana (yoga posture) has different effects depending on attention and intention. We may take a yoga class to reduce our stress to find that it revs us up and makes it harder to sleep. We may even discover that some yoga practices create stress.

What benefits one has the potential to harm another because we all have different bodies, different lifestyles, different histories, and different needs from the yoga practice itself, consciously or not.

This is why it’s vital that we learn to listen to our bodies and is the ultimate intention in a yoga practice: to discover deeper presence, awareness, and acceptance.

Therefore, this movement practice focuses on:

👉🏼 Strengthening and toning the kidneys and adrenals as well as the central nervous system (CNS).

The kidneys (renal) lie on both sides of the spine at the base of the ribcage topped off with the adrenals. The kidneys not only purify fluids in the body, but paired with the adrenals, give us vital energy. Fatigue, stress, and all manifestations of fear such as anxiety, are consequences of renal and adrenal imbalance.

Chronic stress is abundant in the modern world and with it, a myriad of health impacts and physical, mental and emotional dis-ease. The adrenals take a heavy hit with chronic stress, heightening the need for renal-adrenal focus in any practice that addresses symptoms of fear, including anxiety, that is a common symptom of chronic stress, PTSD and its variations.

Adverse childhood experiences resulting in complex trauma, as well as compiled stress and trauma in adulthood, set the stage for a rattled nervous system; hence the need for CNS focus in an asana practice for stress and anxiety.

Postures utilized in this practice:

  • Bhujangasana, cobra, compresses the kidneys.
  • Moving through cats and cows dynamically contracts and releases the kidneys and adrenals.
  • Holding Salamba Bhujangasana, sphinx, not only strengthens and restores the kidneys and adrenals, but also opens the connective tissue of the back line and relaxes the CNS.

👉🏼 Nourishing and opening the bladder meridian that runs down the entire back line of the body, which is physiologically interconnected with the CNS and superficial back line of fascia—the connective tissue.

Notice that this line begins at the inside of the eyebrows, which means that massaging this point with the fingertips releases tension through the entire back line of the body because it’s all connected! This point is also where we begin the EFT tapping practice, which is beneficial to tap with the fingertips at anytime to relieve stress.

You can simply take a moment and drop the weight of your head into your index and middle fingers at the inside of the eyebrows while pressing the fingers back into this point. Feel a release through the head, down the back of the neck and shoulders. You can also circle the fingertips into this point, massaging the area. Feel an instantaneous calm.

Because the bladder meridian and fascia line run through the forehead, this channel is also relaxed when releasing the forehead into the earth, whether through a mat or block.

Postures utilized in this practice:

  • Balasana, child’s pose, is an easy example that releases the forehead into the floor as well as opens through the back line.
  • Adho Mukha Svanasana, downward dog, and Uttanasana, standing forward bend, are also postures that lengthen the entire back line of the body.

Back line focus is relaxing. It’s soothing. It is restorative and aids a good sleep. It also calms the nervous system, relieving stress and anxiety.

👉🏼 Engaging and lengthening through the kidney meridian that runs up near the centerline of the legs and through the front of the torso, ending just beneath the collarbones.

With the kidney meridian we have another EFT point at the base of the collarbones that we use for vital energy. Tap on this point with the fingertips at anytime for courage, clarity, and a boost of grounded energy.

KI 1 in acupuncture, as shown below, is a powerpoint in acupressure and reflexology as well, that can easily be manipulated in an asana practice to optimize a kidney-focused practice, simply by pressing into this point with the fingertips or thumb, depending on the posture, such as in any forward bend or ardha Natarajasana, dancer pose. (We utilize this specific practice in asana within the Holistic Liberation Program.)

The practice for stress and anxiety herein keeps the frontline opening to a minimum since bigger backbends are stimulating and can prohibit sleep, especially for those with stress and anxiety. (It’s best to keep the bigger backbends in the morning to ensure a good night’s sleep.)

Postures utilized in this practice:

  • Variations of Salabhasana, locust pose, not only to strengthen the kidney channel but to do so with the kidneys themselves.
  • In prone Savasana, the kidney channel is restored by connecting with the earth’s support and releasing into gravity.

👉🏼 Releasing tension that is commonly held in the psoas from chronic stress and trauma.

Too often when the lower back feels tight, we not only need to open the back but also the front of the hips because it’s the psoas that are tense. You see from the diagram below how complex the psoas are, which requires opening and strengthening for both the front and back of the pelvis.

The psoas are related to trauma because when we protect ourselves, we close the frontline to protect our vital organs. Imagine the fetal position. This means that we either literally or figuratively close in, including the legs, contracting the psoas. Not only that, but in modern culture’s sitting epidemic, we restrict the psoas chronically!

Postures utilized in this practice:

  • Forward bends such as Uttanasana and Balasana extend the psoas.
  • Ardha Bekasana, half frog, and Danurasana, bow pose, open the psoas through the front of the pelvis.

When tight, we discover that we may want to grip, and as in life and the practice of letting go, when we soften, we release tension, trauma, and holding onto the past stored in our bodies.

Yoga is holistic, not only asana, so give yourself holistic self-care for long-term stress and anxiety relief.

Keep in mind that a holistic approach to chronic stress and anxiety is most beneficial because we can practice all of the movement we want, but if we’re still thinking, feeling, believing, or consuming stuff that induces stress and inflammation, the movement practice only helps to relieve the ongoing damage rather than providing any longer-lasting repair.

We know what induces stress and anxiety, right? For starters, too much doing, thinking, rushing, as well as excessive caffeine, alcohol, tobacco, drugs, processed foods, sugar(s), large amounts of carbs, toxic products on and in our bodies and in our homes, and toxic relationships.

The middle path is the way! Resting into our center to discover balance within our lifestyle is a lifelong journey. Be kind and gentle with yourself. Unconditional love and acceptance of this moment, one moment at a time, is the prerequisite for healing.

You can always use any of this practice in bite-sized pieces, bringing one or more of the postures/movements into your day, as it feels appropriate. Remember, a little bit is better than nothing, and we want to start small when we’re building new habits to replace stressful patterns that we’ve outgrown, or if we’re living with chronic fatigue or exhaustion. This practice is specifically made for both cases.

May this yoga practice serve you no matter where you are on this journey, helping you to feel more grounded energy, more ease to sleep, and more courage and flow in general. This is its intention!

A full-length yoga asana practice for stress and anxiety is available as part of the Holistic Liberation Program, along with other essential yoga and movement practices, support calls, and supplemental holistic tools for a fully supportive, well-rounded approach to changing stressful, self-sabotaging habits and addictive lifestyle patterns to remedy the physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual causes and symptoms of chronic stress.

Let us know here if you have concerns or questions below, or join the Holistic Liberation Facebook group to receive more guidance.

Holistic Liberation: Holistic Practices for Freedom From Stress Effects written on image of sun breaking through clouds over water

Jyllin, certified as a holistic healthcare practitioner in 2004, a bodyworker, and teacher of therapeutic yoga and creative movement, is committed to sharing environmentally and socially conscientious lifestyle tools that support liberation from addictive patterns of chronic stress. Learn more about Jyllin and The Holistic Liberation Program

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