Stress can wreak havoc on our health – triggering diabetes, headaches, and depression, and fuelling heart attacks, strokes, and auto-immune diseases like multiple sclerosis. 

Clinical studies have pointed towards yoga's significant effect on perceived stress levels; creating a positive state of mind, increasing stress resilience and the ability to cope, reducing feelings of anger and fatigue, cultivating self-compassion, and improving your sense of wellbeing and quality of life. 

Physiologically yoga, meditation and mindfulness have been associated with changes to the balance of the autonomic nervous system - towards (relaxed) parasympathetic dominance, helping to calm the adrenal glands, reducing blood pressure, heart rate and cortisol levels, improving hormone function and oxygen uptake. This can make them helpful stress management tools. 

Practicing asana, or physical postures to wring the tension out of tired muscles can help you relax. 

Focusing on deep, slow breathing using pranayama, or breathing exercises, can slow the mind and calm an overworked nervous system. 

Taking time on your mat, away from intrusive and stressful thoughts, can help put them into perspective and restore a sense of balance.


Yoga for stress

  • Faster recovery from stress in Savasana than in chair and resting supine posture 

  • Improves health status 
  • Improves hormone function 
  • Improves oxygen uptake 
  • Improves quality of life 
  • Improves urinary catecholamines 
  • Improves work performance 
  • Increases melatonin 
  • Increases stress resilience 
  • Induces relaxation 
  • Pronounced and significant improvements in perceived stress 
  • Reduces anger 
  • Reduces anxiety 
  • Reduces blood pressure 
  • Reduces fatigue 
  • Reduces heart rate
  •  Reduces risk factors for diseases including cardio-respiratory diseases 
  • Reduces salivary cortisol 
  • Stabilises the autonomic nervous system, towards parasympathetic dominance

Mindfulness for stress

  • Creating a positive state of mind 

  • Decreases post traumatic stress avoidance symptoms 

  • Improves ability to cope 

  • Improves coping strategies 

  • Improves quality of life 

  • Improves self-compassion 

  • Improves self-esteem 

  • Improves wellbeing 

  • Increases mindfulness 

  • Reduces effects of daily hassles 

  • Reduces medical symptoms 

  • Reduces psychological distress 

  • Reduces psychological symptoms 

  • Reduces stress



A randomised comparative trial of yoga and relaxation to reduce stress and anxiety

Sudarshan kriya yogic breathing in the treatment of stress, anxiety, and depression: Part II-clinical applications and guidelines 

Role of yoga in stress management

Stress Management: A Randomized Study of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and Yoga  

Rapid stress reduction and anxiolysis among distressed women as a consequence of a three-month intensive yoga program  

Yoga for stress reduction and injury prevention at work

Recovery from stress in two different postures and in Shavasana - a yogic relaxation posture

Medical Yoga for Patients with Stress-Related Symptoms and Diagnoses in Primary Health Care: A Randomized Controlled Trial  

Effects of sensory-enhanced yoga on symptoms of combat stress in deployed military personnel  


Mindfulness meditation-based stress reduction: experience with a bilingual inner-city program.

Meditation programs for psychological stress and well-being: a systematic review and meta-analysis 

Stress reduction in the secondary prevention of cardiovascular disease: randomized, controlled trial of transcendental meditation and health education in Blacks


Mindfulness-based stress reduction and health benefits: A meta-analysis

Sustained Impact of MBSR on Stress, Well-Being, and Daily Spiritual Experiences for 1 Year in Academic Health Care Employees

Evaluation of a Wellness-based Mindfulness Stress Reduction Intervention: A Controlled Trial

Mindfulness meditation-based stress reduction: experience with a bilingual inner-city program