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Can Yoga Help With Anxiety

Which Yoga Style Is Best For Anxiety And Depression

Can Yoga Help with Anxiety or Depression? What Does the Research Say?

Most styles of yoga are effective at relieving anxiety and depression and even improving certain types of mental health disorders. The most important thing is that you pick a style that you enjoy. With that said, below are some of my favourite styles of yoga for calming down my mind and reducing anxiety.

Know The Impermanence Of The World

When this realization sets in that everything around us is temporary and would change, we become relaxed and settled from within. A feeling of this too shall pass and not remain forever arises in us and frees us from anxiety. Meditation can help us see this founding principle of life.

You can also explore more about a special workshop to get rid of Anxiety and sleep disorders

This article was written by Pritika Nair based on inputs by Dr. Sejal Shah, a Sri Sri Yoga teacher.

Practicing Yoga helps develop the body and mind, yet is not a substitute for medicine. It is essential to learn and practice yoga under the supervision of a trained Yoga teacher. In case of any medical condition, practice yoga only after consulting your doctor and a Sri Sri Yoga teacher.

Find a Sri Sri Yoga program at an Art of Living center near you.

Write to us at to receive more information on our programs or to share feedback.

Yoga Moves For Anxiety

Exercise, in general, has been proven time over time to help both anxiety and depression. Here are 5 yoga moves to help with anxiety, from a certified Yoga Instructor:

  • A gentle seated twist. For this pose, sit with your legs crossed. If you are unable to do so, you can sit upright on a chair. In either variation, make sure your spine is long, shoulders relaxed, and facial muscles untensed. Begin with bringing your left hand to your right knee and looking over your right shoulder while you twist your spine to the right. Stay here for 3-5 long, deep breaths. Return to center and repeat on the second side.
  • Downward Dog. To get into this pose, think of an upside-down V. Starting on your hands and knees, walk your hands out in front of your shoulders and gently begin to straighten your legs. Send your hips and tailbone into the air, with your feet and hands grounded. Press your hands into the ground, keeping your shoulders away from your ears. At the same time, gently urge your heels towards the ground, bending your knees slightly if needed.
  • Childs Pose. You can get to the childs pose by sitting on your heels and gently walking your knees hip-width apart, with your toes together. Walk your hands out in front of you until your belly and chest reach the floor. Put your forehead down on the ground and stay here for as many deep breaths as you need.
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    Standing Forward Fold Pose

    Youre probably familiar with standing forward fold pose even if you dont realize it. Another good way to describe it is simply touching your toes. This pose works wonders for removing tension in the neck, shoulders, and back, while also directing blood flow to your brain. All in all, regularly practicing standing forward fold pose can make you feel great.

    Heres how to do it:

  • Stand up straight with your hands by your side.
  • Place your hands by your hips and slightly bend your knees as you bend forward.
  • Your chest should touch your thighs if it doesnt, try bending your knees further.
  • Take your hands down and grab your ankles.
  • Remain here for a few breaths before gently standing back up.
  • How Yoga Can Help With Panic Disorder

    Can Yoga Help Kids with Anxiety?

    There are many uncomfortable physical symptoms of panic and anxiety, such as feelings of tension, tightness, and pain sensitivity. Yoga postures, known as asanas, help ease the physical discomfort that is caused by anxiety. Asanas work to stretch, lengthen, and balance the muscles. These postures can assist in releasing built-up muscle tension and stiffness throughout the body.

    Yoga poses are often taught in sequences that can be a powerful form of physical exercise. There are many ways in which exercise benefits panic disorder, including a reduction in pain and stress. Yoga not only helps in easing the physical body, but it can also help with anxious thoughts.

    Negative thinking patterns and frequent worries are common for those diagnosed with panic disorder. Meditation, visualization, and focusing on breathing can help with letting go of worry and fear. The overall practice of yoga can elicit the relaxation response, allowing both the body and mind to gain a sense of calm and ease.

    Yoga can also be a great way to meet other people and feel more connected to a sense of community. Many people with panic disorder and agoraphobia are faced with issues of loneliness and isolation. Participating in a yoga class can be one way to begin to socialize while working toward personal wellness.

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    Why Use Yoga As An Adjunct Treatment For Anxiety

    Yoga leads to a cessation of the fluctuations of the mind


    The impact of anxiety can be severe, and there are times that people feel dissatisfied with the solutions they are currently presented. While medication is often a vital part of any treatment plan, patients can sometimes be uncomfortable with side-effects or the thought of a difficult withdrawal. According to Baldwin and Polkinghorn , 50% of people prescribed pharmacological intervention reported an improvement in symptoms, and a US-based study concluded that up to 30% of patients may be treatment resistant finding front-line interventions ineffective.

    This goes some way to explain why 56% of those living with anxiety disorders seek complementary and alternative medicine hinting at a widespread desire for further support outside of traditional treatment plans. With a growing body of scientific literature to guide clinical practice in applying yoga as a treatment of anxiety, yoga therapy can step into this gap and provide additional support helping people regulate their stress response, increase their resiliency and manage their anxiety.

    Some postures are challenging, but you are learning to relax under physical duress and this can help you handle long-term anxiety.

    Heather Mason

    Poses For Reducing Anxiety

    While there hasn’t been much scientific research on the subject, many yoga experts say that certain poses are better at treating anxiety. The most effective poses usually focus on balance. Some of the best options include:

    • Child’s pose
    • Tree pose
    • Warrior III

    Headstands are commonly suggested, too, but parents should monitor their children to make sure they do not attempt poses that could cause injury.

    Read Also: Why Does Anxiety Cause Dizziness

    Yoga Helps You Manage Stress

    According to the National Institutes of Health, scientific evidence shows that yoga supports stress management, mental health, mindfulness, healthy eating, weight loss and quality sleep.

    Try It: Corpse Pose Lie down with your limbs gently stretched out, away from the body, with your palms facing up. Try to clear your mind while breathing deeply. You can hold this pose for 5 to 15 minutes.

    Why Its Good For You

    Yoga For ANXIETY – (Can Yoga Help Anxiety for YOU?)

    Yogas been around for centuries. But over the last couple of decades its popularity has hit global levels. With yoga studios dotting every other corner, yogas def gone mainstream. And with good reason!

    A 2016 review found evidence that Hatha yoga helped reduce anxiety, especially for people who experienced more anxiety than average. Thats great news for folks prone to panic attacks.

    Yogas benefits affect anxiety in less direct ways as well. A 2014 study on breast cancer survivors found that a regular yoga practice boosted mood and increased energy. If you have more energy and feel happier, you might be in a healthier mental place overall.

    Anxiety and depression often go hand in hand. Yoga can help with this too. A 2017 review found that yoga could help reduce depression symptoms. In this review, people with chronic back pain, pregnant people, and people with substance use disorder all benefited from a regular yoga routine.

    Keep in mind that yoga comes with some risk you could get injured if you push yourself too hard. So dont try to flex it out like Simone Biles in your first sesh. Just listen to your body and you should be A-OK. Better yet, find a certified instructor to help you get started safely.

    Your body isnt the only thing that can hurt during a yoga session yoga may also stir up your emotions. Some people experience intense emotional release while doing yoga. Feelings that have been suppressed may surface. This is totally normal!

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    Can Yoga Increase Anxiety

    In some cases, yes. I know that might sound weird but hear me out. Yoga isn’t a quick fix to relieving anxiety or any other mental state for that matter. It can take weeks or months to see the benefits of a regular yoga practice.

    When you first start your practice, you might find your mind racing when sitting in silence at the beginning or end of your yoga practice. Especially if you aren’t used to confronting your thoughts or have been using crutches like drugs, alcohol or even overworking to avoid facing any anxious or overwhelming thoughts.

    After some time you will find that you will be able to become more comfortable with your thoughts and feelings, positive and negative, and this in itself is a skill that you will begin o develop if you stick at your practice long enough.

    So don’t worry if you find that your first yoga session or two doesn’t ease your anxiety, or you find that your anxiety increases. That’s completely normal.

    Physical Benefits Of Yoga

    When an individual is experiencing anxiety, the amygdala, or alarm center located in the brain, has gone into a state of hypervigilance or high-alert. The deep breathing practices associated with yoga speak directly to the amygdala to lower the state of arousal. It also activates the parasympathetic nervous system, which induces a relaxation response. Yoga also helps to:

    • Lower blood pressure
    • Aid in relaxation

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    How Can Yoga Help Your Mental Health

    We have all been told when we are feeling down go on a walk or do some exercise and you will feel better and the frustrating thing is, that we know this is probably true, but in reality, intense exercise is often the last thing that you want to do. In these situations, yoga is a great place to start, as yoga practice is gentle exercise, it is a natural way to increase serotonin production. As a result, this can help ground your breathing and relieve depressive symptoms.

    What Yoga Does To Your Brain

    Can Yoga Help To Manage Anxiety Disorder?

    When you step out of a yoga class, no doubt you feel better from head to toe. Your muscles feel more relaxed, you may feel stronger, and then theres the mental clarity only om-ing can bring. But whats really going on in your brain when you pop in and out of downward-facing dog?

    We know that accumulating evidence shows yoga is good for your body, health and mind. Yoga has been used in the treatment of anxiety conditions, depression, insomnia, eating disorders, and others, says Jonathan Greenberg, PhD, a postdoctoral research fellow in the department of psychiatry at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School. Even when applied to large populations, like those in prison, it increases inmates sense of wellbeing and self-control.

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    Minutes Daily Yoga Can Help Improve Mental Health Problems

    People suffering from poor mental health can reap rich and long-term benefits by adopting the ancient Indian practice of Yoga in their daily lives. Yoga helps in maintaining good mental and physical health. It harmonises our body and mind and restores our emotional balance. There is growing evidence that Yoga can have a positive impact on depression, anxiety and those who have Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder . When adopted as a daily practice, yoga can help calm down the mind and prevent the development of mental illnesses.

    Stress is the root cause of several lifestyle diseases. Yoga adopts a scientific approach of exercising and relaxing to ease the stress of modern day living. Yoga also contributes to improving memory, sleep and even quality of life in elderly persons with mild memory impairment.

    Here are some poses that help improve mental health besides providing other health benefits:

    Shashankasana or child’s pose:


    Hasta Utthanasana:

    This yoga pose is thought to be therapeutic for people suffering from high blood pressure, asthma, sinusitis, infertility and osteoporosis. It also helps to relieve mild depression and beat insomnia as it is highly beneficial as a relaxation tool. To perform this pose, stand straight. Raise your hands from the front to above your head as you inhale slowly. Bend backwards from the upper back and maintain the position with normal breathing.



    Set An Intention Before Each Yoga Session

    Reminding yourself of your purpose for practicing can give you a motivating concept to hold onto during the practice. This can help focus your attention, and it can encourage you to keep going. Examples of intentions include statements like, Im building physical flexibility so I can have mental flexibility in my life, or I will catch anxious thoughts and simply return my attention to my breath and my practice.

    Many yoga sessions end with a savasana, a resting pose. This usually involves lying on your back, closing your eyes, and focusing your attention on your body and breath. This brief meditation helps you learn to concentrate your attention and shift your focus away from anxious thoughts and emotions. This can feel agitating when youre new to the practice also, it can be tempting to skip it because youre too busy to do nothing. This mediation is an important concept of yoga practice, and it contributes to the union of mind and body and the calming of anxiety.

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    Meditate To Enjoy The Gift Of A Relaxed Mind

    Meditation can be an excellent technique to relax a distracted mind, give you a sense of calm and peace, and also observe with daily practice how your mind works to keep you involved in small, petty things around. It can also help you not worry too much or get anxious of the unknown future.

    You might have often heard the term adrenalin rush. This happens when we get too anxious about a potential threat. For instance, while taking an adventure ride. At such a time, the level of adrenalin hormone goes higher, leading our heart to beat faster, making the muscles tense and our body sweat profusely. Scientific research has shown that regular meditation practice can help significantly reduce the level of this stress hormone.

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