Many Empaths come to find huge benefits in practising yoga on their journey through life. It is something that reaps huge benefits when practised regularly in mind, body and spirit.
Any of you who have been reading my blog for a while, or who have read my books, may know I’m a bit of a yoga nerd. I believe in it so much that back in 2011 I jetted off to India to do my yoga teacher training. And I am so glad that I did.
The thing is with yoga, it’s a lifelong practice that is continuously revealing. And what I mean by this is, by consistent practice not only does it work to heal ailments of the body and mind, it really does work to expand consciousness.
One of the many things yoga has taught me over the years is we all have to practice it in our own way. What works for one won’t work for another.
Not only do we have to adapt poses for body shapes and limb lengths, we have to find a way of practising that suits our personality and energy levels. This is the case for all levels of yoga from beginner to advanced.
That said, for the Empaths of the world, we all tend to hold certain stress emotions in similar places, especially around the solar plexus, the lower back and within the hips and thighs. This often leads to problems in those areas, such as stomach issues, back pain and excessive thigh-burn when exercising.
And this is where yoga can help.
There are certain poses that work a treat for the release of stored tension held within the above areas. They can also work as an excellent tool for grounding. And one thing all Empaths need is to get grounded.
I have found the following yoga poses to not only be soothing and releasing, but also distracting. I am not saying that being distracted in life is always a good thing but, at certain times, Empaths need to have their mind taken off what they feel, especially external energy and emotions, and this is where some yoga poses can help.
The following poses are attainable by most people and fitness levels and don’t require super-strength or flexibility. But they work well for Empath traits.
When new to yoga, start with holding the poses for 3 to 5 breaths or 5 to 10 seconds. At no point should you feel pain in any of these poses (apart from slight discomfort in the belly of the muscles as they stretch or strengthen). If you feel any pain back out of the pose.
1. Tree Pose:
This is such a special pose. The Tree is both balancing and soothing. Most importantly it is super for grounding. Also, the fact that it is a balancing pose, where you stand on one leg, helps to balance the left and right hemispheres of the brain, which is always going to be beneficial.
Instructions: Simply bring the weight into your left leg, raise the right foot and place it on the shin, lower thigh or upper thigh, just never on the knee joint. Hold and breathe. Repeat on the other side. Stand next to a wall if you are new to this pose.
2. Warrior Pose:
This is another grounding pose, that is great for releasing fear and pent-up emotions that are often held in the thighs. It is called warrior for a reason, because it builds strength and helps eradicate fear. It is one of those poses where you feel stored emotions rise up and leave.
Instructions: Step your feet apart. Turn the right foot out, left foot in. Raise the arms to shoulder height and slowly lower the right knee so your thigh is parralel to the floor, making sure the knee does not go over the ankle, as picture shows. Gaze is out over the right arm. Hold and breathe. Repeat on the left side.
3. Triangle Pose:
There is something magical about this pose, and I’m not quite sure if I’ve truly figured out why. Something we all know is that the triangle shape itself holds a powerful connection with the metaphysical. It unites the mind, body and spirit. The triangle is also known to be good for directing energy.
When practising the Triangle pose, the body goes into positions that it would not generally get into (resembling the triangle). Therefore, it helps release stress from body parts that generally don’t get touched in regular exercise. The pose itself, when practised, also helps you feel more grounded and peaceful.
Instructions: Step your feet apart, turn your right foot out your left foot in. Raise both arms out to shoulder height and slowly reach out and over to your right side, placing your right hand on your right thigh, shin or ankle, as the picture shows above. Look straight ahead or up to your left arm. Hold and breathe. Do the opposite side.
4. Half-Bridge Pose:
We can all be guilty of carrying the ‘world on our shoulders’, and this pose helps in its release. Half-Bridge works as a massage for the thyroid, and helps release the stress held in the front of the body.
When performed in a slow rhythmic manner, it works as a massage for the back. It also helps stretch out the quads where lots of stressed emotions are held.
Instructions: Lay on your back and bring your heals in towards the buttocks, slowly raise the buttocks off the floor and push up towards the ceiling, as the picture above shows. Hold and breathe. Gently lower. Never turn your head in bridge pose.
5. Beginners Standing or Lying Half-Bow Pose:
The Bow Pose has several levels and variations, some of which look almost acrobatic. However, the beginners pose is super-easy to do and works great for releasing stress held in the psoas and quadricep muscles. Although the picture above is done in prone position, the pose can also be done stood on one leg. This stretch is often used in gym classes and is also known as the quad stretch.
The quads are a muscle group that likes to hold onto fear and anger. By regularly stretching them out it helps in releasing those emotions. It is particularly good to perform after the warrior pose. It can be done standing on one leg or lying on the tummy.
Instructions: Stand on one leg, and collect the left set of toes in your left hand and pull back your foot in towards your buttocks. Feel the strtch down the front of your thigh. Repeat on the other side. Or lay on your tummy, and collect the left set of toes in left hand and bring your foot in towards the buttocks. Hold and breathe. Repeat on right leg. As a beginner stand close to a wall to prevent the wobbles.
6. Gentle Forward Bend:
This is another lovely releasing pose. You are basically folding your body over your legs, which helps release the lower back and hamstrings.
My recommendation is to do it with slightly bent legs, especially if you have had any lower back issues (something many Empaths suffer with). This is a pose that can be done standing or seated, but you feel more of a gentle back stretch when performed standing.
Instructions: From standing, bend your knees and gently fold forward over your legs to where it feels like there’s a slight stretch but no strain. Place yoga bricks on the floor, if needed, to ‘bring the floor closer to your hands’. Hold and breathe.
7. Child/Prayer Pose:
This pose is so simple and easy to perform, but comes with many incredible benefits. Not only does it work as a great stretch for the whole back, it also gives your stomach a massage as you breathe with the knees being tucked under the abdomen.
I find this pose works as a good emotional release, especially if you are holding any stressed-out emotions within the abdomen. Being that you are basically wrapped up in your own little world, it also helps you to feel safe.
Instructions: To perform, kneel on the floor, fold your chest over your thighs and bring your forehead to the floor (or a cushion or bloster). Arms at your side or overhead. Knees can be together or apart, whichever is most comfortable.
8. Camel Pose:
This is a powerful pose both for release and strength. It is a back bend that helps to release stress held in the quads and the psoas. Many Empaths struggle with tight psoas muscles.
The psoas muscles are the deepest muscles in your core. They are the only muscles that connect your spine to your legs. During prolonged periods of stress, your psoas is constantly contracted. An overly contracted psoas muscle can be a major cause of lower-back pain. It can also trigger fear and anger.
The camel pose is one of those poses that if you don’t like performing it, you really need it.
Instructions: When first practicing you shouldn’t go into the full expression of the pose, as above. Instead, from kneeling, place your hands on your lower back and gently push your hips forward as you slightly arc your back and look up to the ceiling.
9. High or Low Lunge:
This is another fantastic pose that helps release both muscles and emotions. Because it releases a lot of stored stress and tension, it works as a soothing pose. It can be performed in different ways, both standing and kneeling.
It is a great one to do if your day involves a lot of sitting, as this stretch gets deep into the psoas muscle, which, as mentioned, is often overly contracted in an Empath. The kneeling version of the pose is also great for releasing the quads and any stress held in them.
The lunge is another one of those poses where you can feel the power of the pose and its benefits. It is a great hip opener, and with regular practice helps build determination.
As a beginner, you are best performing the high lunge until your hips open up enough to do the low lunge.
Instructions: From standing step your left foot back. Both feet are facing forward. Bend your right knee so the thigh is parralel to the floor, making sure the knee doesn’t extend over the foot. Lift the torso so that you can feel the strech in the front of the left extended leg. Repeat on the opposite side.
10. Plank Pose:
I have mentioned the plank pose before in posts, and how good it is for transmuting both negative and pained emotions. It also works as a great mental distraction, especially when your thoughts are in destructive overdrive.
Plank pose helps strengthen the entire body, and is great for building power in the stomach area. As any Empath knows, the stomach area is a major area for over-feeling the emotional energy of others, and it is a place that can quickly become weakened. This in itself is the perfect reason to include Plank Pose in your exercise routines.
Instructions: From a kneeling table top position, step your left leg back and then your right leg back, as picture shows. Make sure your hands are under your shoulders. If this is too much, bring your knees to the floor, and hold from there.
11. Yoga Breathing and Meditation:
I know this is supposed to be just 10 poses, but as the most beneficial part of yoga is the breathing and meditation practices, that are normally performed after, I thought I’d throw them in.
Although yoga itself works as a moving meditation, when performed rhythmically with the breath, a separate meditation and breathwork routine can take your practice to another level. Read more on the benefits of breathing and meditation here and here
There you have 10 incredible yoga poses for an Empath. There are many other poses from which you will massively benefit, but the above are particularly good for where an Empath tends to store and feel emotional imbalances.
If you have never tried yoga before, you are best to either work with a teacher, in a class or privately, or watch a beginners’ instructional video. I have linked to a beginner’s video below which looks good. It does not include all the above poses, but it is a great one to start with.
Chances are, the first time you try it, you may detest yoga. This is completely normal. In the yoga world, it is known that if you particularly dislike it, when first practicing, the more you need yoga.
I hope this helps on your journey.
Until next time.
2 thoughts on “10 Incredible Yoga Poses for the Empath and Why You Need to Practice Them”
This past February I came to the realization that I have been married to a narcissist for over 20 years. I’m still trying to cope with that. In April I began practicing yoga and I must say that it has saved me. It has given me back a part of myself, as well as a period of each day that I can stop obsessing about the situation that I am in. The poses you list are some of my favorites. Thank you.
I’m sorry to hear about your situation. It must be very difficult for you to deal with. But I’m so glad to hear that yoga is helping you get through, and given back a part of yourself. I’m sure your comment will also inspire others to give yoga a try. So, thanks for sharing. x