Does yoga help with anxiety? Anxiety disorders and anxious behavior can take a toll on one’s quality of life. Ruminating thoughts, fast heartbeats, shortness of breath, constant distractions, and more can make getting through the most minuscule task seem like climbing a mountain.
For someone experiencing these conditions, the idea of sitting down and practicing yoga may sound incredibly soothing, yet entirely impossible. After all, yoga appears peaceful and calming, which does not align with what anxiety has in mind. And we all know that uncontrolled anxiety is in charge.
If yoga feels out of reach due to your anxiety or panic disorder, it is important to know that it can help with anxiety as long as you have the right guidance and support.
Does Yoga Help With Anxiety?
Yes, yoga can be an effective way to reduce anxiety. Regular practice of yoga can activate the parasympathetic nervous system, which counteracts the “fight or flight” response during times of stress. Yoga can also reduce cortisol levels, heart rate, blood pressure, and muscle tension while promoting mindfulness and a sense of inner calm.
What is Yoga?
Yoga is an ancient practice – dating all the way back about 5,000 to India. A Sanskrit word meaning, “unite,” yoga brings the mind, body, and soul together.
In a very general sense, yoga is a type of exercise that incorporates stretching, relaxation, breathing, and meditation all into one. It helps to restore peace and balance within the body.
For some who practice yoga regularly, it is a physical form of exercise. For others, it is so much more – especially when it comes to reducing stress and minimizing anxiety. In other words, it does not matter how you look at it – yoga is beneficial to those who practice it.
Benefits of Yoga for Anxiety
Does yoga help with anxiety – what makes it beneficial? There are so many reasons why someone with anxiety can find yoga to be beneficial – and why it has been included in healing practices for the mind and body. Yoga can:
- Ease tense muscles and encourage them to relax.
- Boost one’s mood and overall sense of well-being.
- Improve circulation to improve one’s physical wellness.
- Reduce symptoms, signs, and feelings of both stress – and anxiety.
- Help clients stay in the present moment while letting go of heavy thoughts and emotions.
- Aid in becoming more aware of the body and its response to anxious emotions and thoughts.
- Boost the immune system which can make one stronger to fight anxiety.
- Teach breathing techniques that will help clients maintain deep, steady breathing in moments of anxiety or panic.
Aside from all of this, yoga can bring together those looking for serenity. This sense of community and support can be empowering to those trying to grow. Many who regularly practice yoga consider it to be a coping skill.
Try These Yoga Poses for Anxiety
If you’re asking yourself “does yoga help with anxiety?”, giving it a try is a great first step in finding out. Though, it is important you take a few precautions first. For example, know your limitations. Yoga involves a lot of stretching and moving of the body through different poses which can put you at risk for certain health conditions. It is always a good idea to consult with your doctor first.
When you are ready, give these poses a try.
- Standing straight, keep your hands at your sides as you bend your knees slightly.
- Fold the torso down as much as possible, in an attempt to have the stomach touch the thighs. Be sure to bed from the hips. It is ok to bend the knees if necessary so that you remain comfortable.
- You may hold your ankles or let your arms hang.
- In this position, take a few deep breaths before returning to an upright position.
- Kneel down, touching your big toes while keeping your knees slightly apart. Your knees should be open a little bit wider than the hips.
- Stretch your arms out toward the top of the yoga mat. Then, bend forward and stretch.
- Try resting your forehead on the mat as your arms remain stretched out in front of you.
- Take a few deep breaths before sitting back up.
- Stand up with your feet about hip-width apart.
- With your right foot, step back and then bend your front knee (left knee). Be careful not to allow your knee to go out further than your ankle as you are trying to maintain a comfortable balance.
- Raise your arms over your head, reaching straight up into the air.
- Hold this position and breath in a few deep breaths before lowering your arms and bringing the feet back together.
- Change legs and repeat.
Warrior 2 Pose
- Again, stand with your feet about hip-width apart.
- Step your left foot back and bend your front knee (the right knee). Be careful not to allow your knee to go out further than your ankle so you can maintain a comfortable balance.
- Face your left toes out slightly.
- Raise your arms shoulder height on either side of the body.
- Reach out your right arm in front of you and your left arm behind you.
- Hold this position for as long as possible and take a few deep breaths.
- When you are ready, lower your arms and bring your feet back together.
- This pose requires you to get down on the may on all fours, keeping your back completely flat.
- As you push against the floor with your toes, pull your hips upward and straighten your arms.
- Next, try straightening your legs as much as possible without causing discomfort.
- Push against the floor more with the hands and again, raise the hips.
- Breathe deeply a few times and release down slowly.
When you work with a therapist to utilize the benefits of yoga to find healing, you will undergo an assessment to find the best way – and the best poses – to bring everything together for you.
Yoga and Anxiety Treatment at Amend Treatment
At Amend Treatment, we approach anxiety differently by incorporating various holistic modalities into our practice. We believe that focusing on whole-body wellness will empower our clients to find healing with mental illness, including anxiety.
We use Yoga Therapy to combine the ancient practice of yoga with the most advanced therapeutic techniques. This helps our clients to address the physical, mental, and emotional aspects of their health.
If you are ready to learn more about how we incorporate yoga into our client’s healing journeys, then contact us today to learn more. It is time to find a sense of well-being.