Yoga for anxiety: how it works and 4 examples

Yoga is an ancient practice that combines various breathing exercises, meditation and body postures. It has multiple applications and can be very helpful in enhancing relaxation of body and mind.

Yoga for anxiety is one of the many facets of this habit, And is useful for escaping stress. In this article, we’ll take a look at its key elements and come up with 4 yoga poses for beginners.

    What is yoga?

    Yoga is a discipline, a practice and a philosophy of life, which helps us to connect the body and the mind. It is also a way of life for many, many. Its origins are found in India, a country where it is widely practiced.

    On the other hand, yoga includes a wide variety of exercises that combine different postures with meditation and conscious, quiet breathing. Through yoga, many people are able to reduce their stress levels, become aware of their breathing, body and thoughts, and relax.

    In the next section we will focus on yoga practices for anxiety, Useful exercises to reduce stress.

    Yoga for anxiety

    Yoga, as we have seen, yoga is used for various purposes: to relax, to connect the body and the mind, to become aware of the body and to the breath, to learn to connect with the thoughts, but also to ‘escape, etc.

    On another side, anxiety is an altered psychophysiological state that causes various symptoms. These symptoms may include dizziness, tension, body aches, stomach aches, migraines and headaches, nausea, vomiting, over-excitement, nervousness, etc. In addition, anxiety also includes cognitive symptoms (negative thoughts, loss of concentration, memory impairment, irritability, feeling of insanity, etc.) and behavioral symptoms (impulsivity, restlessness, hyperactivity, avoidance behaviors). , Etc.). That is, it is a state that brings together elements of the body (physical) and the mind (cognitive).

    This is why yoga can help alleviate this type of discomfort, as this practice works with the body and mind to achieve balance and a sense of peace. And, precisely, the feeling of peace is what one seeks when one feels anxiety.

    In short, yoga for anxiety can be very beneficial, as we will see below.

    How does yoga work on mild anxiety?

    We have seen how yoga for anxiety can be a great technique to use when we are going through a stressful time or with certain levels of overload and stress. Here we will focus on yoga for mild anxiety cases.As in cases of moderate or severe anxiety, it is advisable to undergo psychological therapy, sometimes combined with psychopharmacological treatment. However, you can also go for these last two options in case of mild anxiety.

    But … how does yoga act on anxiety when it starts to be a factor that affects our well-being? Basically, through body movements, exercise, breathing, and meditation:

    1. Cos

    Yoga for anxiety can be helpful because it connects to the body just like anxiety. The body is the main tool of yoga (With meditation and breathing exercises). In this way, through him, we performed the different postures. By getting a little practice and learning a little more about how our body works, we can improve our exercises and do more difficult exercises.

    The body connects directly to our physiological state, and an altered or hyper-aroused physiological state is the basis of anxiety. This is why thanks to the body (and yoga), we can improve our level of anxiety.

      2. Physical exercise

      For many people, the Youga is practically a sportsman; moreover, although the physical exercise practiced with yoga is not particularly intense (at least when compared to sports like basketball, football, fitness, etc.), if the physical exercise is convenient. Exercise is good for you, and your health and anxiety are antagonistic. In other words, when we have anxiety we are not “healthy” in the sense that our body and mind are in pain, they are not “at rest”.

      So, with the physical exercise done with yoga, our mild anxiety levels may also decrease slightly (and more with practice).

      3. Breathing

      Finally, breathing is another key part of yoga, which is essential in reducing stress. When we suffer from anxiety, our breathing is usually more agitated. (Especially in times of “high” anxiety). Many times it is difficult to realize that our breathing is accelerating simply because we are not paying attention.

      But try to do this exercise when you are particularly restless: listen to your breathing. As easy as that. Once you detect that it is accelerating, try to breathe more slowly, inhale deeply until your stomach fills up, and slowly exhale all the air.

      Practice these steps a few times and you will see how your breathing slows down. and you feel more relaxed. It’s amazing how controlling our breathing can make us feel so much more relaxed!

      So, since in yoga exercises breathing control is central, with a lot of practice it can help us reduce mild anxiety.

      4. Meditation

      In this case, we are talking about mind control. Meditation allows us to relax, to let thoughts flow without stopping and finally learn to escape for the benefit of body and mind.

      As we have seen, when we suffer from anxiety, our mind becomes overactive: we feel overwhelmed, over-excited and alert. In addition, we often have negative thoughts or constant worrying in our head. Therefore, yoga meditation can be beneficial for our anxiety.

      4 yoga poses for beginners

      We’ve seen how yoga for anxiety can work, reducing our stress levels through breathing, body, exercise, and meditation.

      We are now going to look at 4 simple yoga poses that can help us reduce mild anxiety. logically they will be useful with practice and in combination with other yoga exercises.

      1. Position the gos upside down

      This is one of the typical yoga poses, ideal for beginners. It involves tilting the torso downward by stretching out the arms and resting them on the floor with the legs slightly apart. Our body should be in the shape of an inverted “V”.

      2. Position the head upside down with the leg raised

      This second position is an evolution of the previous one; This way, we lift one of the legs. We do this by first separating the foot from the ground and gradually lifting it.

      We will have to stay like this for a few seconds, legs fixed and strong.

      3. Warrior’s stance

      In the warrior pose, we will stand with our legs slightly open, facing each other. The trunk and the back must remain straight. We inhale deeply and exhale; bend your right knee at a 90 ° angle and lift both arms with your hands clasped up and down..

      4. Cow pose

      In this posture, we will get on all fours on the floor (mat) (knees and hands touching the floor). The hands should be placed just below the shoulders and the knees below the hip. Head straight forward and feet stretched out.

      We will have to lift and go around the column; we are going to push the tailbone in and push the ass out. We watch the fact, we inhale and exhale.

      Bibliographical references:

      • Baptista, MR and Dantas, EH (2002). Yoga for stress control. Fit Perf J, Rio de Janeiro, 13-20.
      • Góngora, MM (2014). Hatha Yoga for anxiety and addictions. Editorial Orient, Santiago de Cuba.
      • Korman, GP and Garay, CJ (2007). Therapeutic complementarity: cognitive therapy and yoga, 85-96.
      • Krisanaprakornkit, T., Krisanaprakornkit, W. et al. (2008). Therapeutic meditation for anxiety disorders. The Cochrane Library, 2: 1-22.

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