The Anxiety and Depression(1) Association of America (ADAA) reports that the most prevalent mental illness among Americans is an anxiety disorder, with 40 million U.S. adults age 10 and above diagnosed with it every year. That’s nearly 18.1% of the country’s population. Although anxiety itself is harmful, it can trigger various physical and psychological health conditions, which can complicate or worsen the overall wellbeing.
While there are many ways to treat anxiety, yoga and meditation are often recommended by health experts and enthusiasts. It is because of their ability to address anxiety alongside fixing the other conditions associated with it.
Anxiety disorder can be due to various risk factors like brain chemistry, genetics, life events, personality, etc.
How does Yoga Work for Anxiety?
Yoga asanas release tension from the muscles, tissues, as well as stress from the mind of your body. They tend to strengthen the parts of your body and stretch them to enhance flexibility.
Focusing on breathing practices reduces the stress from the mind, and the practice of meditation deletes the negative vibes from it. The positive environment, which yoga creates, changes a lot more than just your positive approach towards your situations. When the mind becomes calm, it gets easier to deal with complex scenarios.
The asanas of yoga not only work on your physical wellbeing, but they also add significant benefits to the mental and emotional health by providing a balance between these. Yoga for anxiety and depression is now a mainstream idea for treating stress-related issues.
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‘10’ Yoga Poses for Anxiety Relief
The following yoga postures for anxiety(3) can give you great benefits from their regular and systematic practice –
1. The Channel Cleaning Breath Pose
Also known as the Nadi shodhana asana, it is one of the originating poses of Pranayama or the breathing exercises. In this position, the performer must sit with his back and neck portion vertically straight. Cross fold your legs with one another. Following the posture, place the two hands on either side of your knees, while the palms are facing upwards.
2. The Bow Pose
The bow pose is also known as Dhanurasana, as it appears as forming a shape like a bow. To perform this posture, lie down straight on the ground with your face towards the ground. Slightly move your head upwards and try to hold your feet with your hands by trying to stretch and grip them. In the final position, you will be holding your feet with your hands bent backward.
3. The Bound Angle Pose
This pose gives flexibility to your legs. It is also known as Baddha Konasana. To perform this asana, you must sit with your back straight and place your legs by lengthening them straight. Then try to bend your legs and join both your feet attaching to your body. Place the thighs on either side.
4. The Cat Pose
The other name for this pose is Marjaryasana, and it resembles the standing position of a cat. To practice this asana, lie down in the supine position and place your hands and knees on the ground. Both your palms should be parallel to your knees. Now bend your head a little downwards and make an outward curve with your back.
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5. The Cow Pose
The cow pose is also known as bitilasana and is like the cat pose with a very little difference. To practice this asana, you must lie down in the supine posture and place your hands and knees on the floor, corresponding to each other. Now move your face forward and make an inward curve through your back.
6. The Legs Up the Wall Pose
The original name of this pose is Viparita Karani. To follow this asana, lie down in front and close to a wall. Raise your legs vertically upwards and place them on the wall by taking the support of it. Place your hands on either side of the body and stay in this posture for one or two minutes, along with normal breathing.
[Also Read: Meditation to Wipe Out Anxiety]
7. The Upward Salute Pose
This asana is also known as Urdhva Hastasana, and to perform this asana, you must take a proper standing position. The heels of your feet should be joint, and there should be a six inches gap between the two of your front feet. Stretch upwards by joining your palms vertically straight.
8. The Headstand Pose
It is also known as Sirasana, and in this position, a standard headstand takes place. The beginners can gain the support of a wall to perform a balance headstand. The hands should support the head from the ground, and the legs should be vertically straight.
9. The Warrior III Pose
The name of this asana is Virabhadrasana III, and to practice this, you must balance yourself on each of your legs at a time. Place the right leg on the ground, then bend forwards with hands straight in one direction and the left leg horizontally straight in the opposite one.
10. The Tree Pose
This one is known as Vrikshasana, and you must perform this while standing straight. While standing, the palms should touch each other in the namaste style and place one foot on the other leg’s thigh. Try to balance this posture for at least a minute.
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Tips to Follow When You Practice Yoga Postures for Anxiety
Though the asana of yoga for stress and anxiety is simple, there are some conditions where one should avoid while practicing yoga. For example, – a shortage of breaths can cause problems for asthmatic patients. Hence, you should consult a doctor before undertaking a yoga practice session. Some precautions to be taken care of are –
- One should never perform yoga on a full stomach or after meals; it can cause digestive distress.
- Exerting strains on the body isn’t a part of yoga.
- Menstruating women should not perform yoga during their cycle, as some of the asanas in inverted positions might worsen the condition.
Yoga is is an effective and efficient method to deal with anxiety and other anxiety-related to panic disorders. Yoga has the most minimal amount of side effects, and the benefits from it are countless. If you want to get maximum advantages of yoga postures, then follow the correct procedure of each asana while keeping the precautions in mind.
1. Should I also focus on breathing while practicing yoga?
Yes, a proper breathing technique is one of the essential aspects of yoga. An effective breathing technique promotes an adequate supply of oxygen and also stretching or contractions of the muscles.
2. How many hours of yoga should I do in a day?
In the beginning, you may start with 30 minutes a day or on an alternate day. However, as you become familiar with it, you can slowly increase it up to an hour or two in a day.