Anxiety can take over your days and leave you incapacitated so your life isn’t as fruitful as it could be. Many people suffer from anxiety which is based on our feelings of separation, failure, rejection, and pressure from others. Yoga can greatly reduce anxiety no matter why you’re experiencing it.
Sometimes the source of anxiety healing will surprise you. Yoga teacher training courses teach you (ref) about the benefits at every level within your body and spirit. Breathing and stretching supports things like your adrenal glands to reduce stress or your throat chakra to release thought-causing tension.
So to combat anxiety, get on the mat and try these poses with controlled breathing to relax the mind and muscles. Let yoga help reduce built up stress that might be creating chronic anxiety while lowering your blood pressure and heart rate.
Some helpful props for this yoga anxiety practice include:
- A mat
- Yoga blocks or small pillows
- A bolster rolled up towel
- An eye pillow or hand towel (with a little lavender oil on it)
- A blanket
Learn to Breath
Breathing in yoga is just as important as the physical poses themselves. This is especially the case with anxiety which affect your breathing. This proves the breathing, anxiety connection is powerful. To combat anxiety, try alternate nostril breathing while sitting in lotus pose.
Nadi Shodhaa (nostril breathing) controls your breath and send blood to the brain that is rich in oxygen.
Steps for the Breathing
- Start with your left hand on your lap and turn it upward to the sky while you take the right hand and put your index and middle finger in between your eyes.
- Your thumb is going to close right nostril while you hold your left nostril with your ring finger
- Inhale deeply through both nostrils and then exhale.
- Take your thumb to right nostril and hold it as you breathe in through your left nostril for a count of 2.
- Hold both nostrils closed for a count of 6.
- Take your thumb off right nostril only and count to 4.
- Now inhale through the right nostril for 2, hold for 6 and exhale through the left nostril for 4.
- Repeat the process for up to 2 minutes. You’ll be surprised at how relaxed you become.
Padmasana (Lotus Pose)
The lotus pose is a hip opener which is where we tend to repress our emotions.
Steps for Lotus Pose
Sit in lotus or any seated cross-legged pose that feels comfortable and promotes a tall spine. Ground yourself by sitting up against a wall with pillows supporting you under your knees. This allows the body to relax fully and release some anxiety.
Viparita Karani (Legs up the Wall Pose)
This pose requires open wall space and a rolled up towel or bolster. For further relaxation, put your eye pillow or scented hand towel over your eyes.
Steps for Legs up the Wall Pose
- To start the pose, you’ll sit sideways to the wall while your knees and hip touch the wall.
- Swing your legs up onto the wall so they’re straight with your upper body flat on the ground. The shape mimics a “pike” position.
- Put the bolster or towel under your hips.
- Your toes should be facing the ceiling and arms spread out beside you.
- You can help your anxiety levels by facing the palms downward toward the floor.
- If you want to feel safe in this 5-minute pose, put a blanket over yourself.
Balasana (Child’s Pose)
Child’s Pose is a very calming pose that has instant soothing effects on the brain. When you fold the body inward with eyes looking back, it sends a signal to the brain that you’re safe and supported. It quickly puts a stop to the overwhelming thoughts your mind conjures up, relieving stress.
Steps for Child’s Pose
- Sit on your heels while bending forward with your arms stretched out.
- Bring your belly to your knees and head to the mat.
- Breath in and relax your body. You should notice a gentle stretch in your back.
Makarasana (Crocodile Pose)
Crocodile pose is extremely relaxing because it allows you to breathe in deeply.
Steps for Crocodile Pose
- Lie facedown on the mat.
- Open your legs wider than hip distance.
- Your toes should go outward while heels point inward.
- Bring your arms in front of you. Take the left hand and wrap it around your right elbow. Take the right hand and wrap it around your left elbow.
- Draw elbows towards you so the shoulder and upper back come off the floor ever so slightly.
- Rest your head on your forearms.
These poses will instantly reduce stress and also prevent accumulated anxiety which can begin to take a toll on your health. When you keep your mind and body healthy through a daily practice of anxiety-fighting poses, you will notice a difference in your ability to handle stress.
Where you may have reacted negatively to situations before, you will learn to breath through them and handle them more effectively.
Make yoga a part of your daily routine and experience life without constant anxiety.
[alert-note]Author Bio: Meera Watts is a yoga teacher, entrepreneur and mom. Her writing on yoga and holistic health has appeared in Elephant Journal, Yoganonymous, OMtimes and others. She is among top 20 Yoag bloggers as reviewed by ThoroughlyReviewed. She’s also the founder and owner of Siddhi Yoga International, a yoga teacher training school based in Singapore. Siddhi Yoga runs intensive, residential trainings in India (Rishikesh, Goa and Dharamshala), Indonesia (Bali).[/alert-note]