If you ask 10 different people to define anxiety the answers will range greatly, often due to their own experiences of anxiety. For the fortunate ones, their idea of anxiety may be nothing more than a few butterflies before a job interview or a big sporting occasion, and they may never have been afflicted by what the medical professional regard as anxiety.
That type is the anxiety that which millions of people suffer from and it can have a constant presence, with almost every waking moment filled with dread, worry, and apprehension. This anxiety almost certainly has a very negative impact on how we think and behave and just as surely it also brings physical symptoms such as headaches, poor digestion, lack of energy and low resistance to illnesses such as flu.
The good news is that anxiety is treatable, and often it is a combination of treatments rather than a single one which helps someone to overcome their anxiety. This could mean group therapy in conjunction with hypnosis or it may mean some prescription medication being taking while having one on one counseling sessions with a professional who specializes in treating anxiety disorders.
Of course, there is one form of treatment that supplements and supports any and all of the others and that is yoga. Yoga has an abundance of benefits, and many of them can have a direct and positive impact on someone who wants to reduce and eliminate their anxiety. These benefits are both physical and mental in nature, with many of them leading to other positive outcomes, which we will discuss further.
If you keen to get started right away and to use yoga as a means of relieving your anxiety, then one of the best ways is to follow a yoga program from the comfort of your own home. This negates the need to register, enroll and pay monthly fees as you would have to with a yoga class and an instructor.
Instead, you have a program like ‘Yoga Burn Challenge,’ which includes no fewer than 12 hours of yoga instruction from an internationally certified instructor.
Research Showing Yoga Can Reduce Anxiety
One of the most important aspects of using yoga to relieve anxiety is that there has been plenty of research and many studies which have shown that it can. In other words, we are not dealing with some new fad that some celebrity is suddenly endorsing, with claims that have no substance and often no credibility. Instead, yoga and its benefits have been studied by reputable institutions such as universities and medical bodies.
One such study by Boston University suggested that doing yoga three times a week for an hour at a time, can increase neurotransmitters in the brain that are responsible for helping your mind to relax.
Another study showed that females who undertook a 3-month yoga program had reduced stress and anxiety levels. There are many more studies which have similar results, but the question is why yoga is able to help reduce anxiety.
How Does Yoga Reduce Anxiety?
The first way is the physical aspect of yoga whereby you will undertake yoga poses that allow you to relax several areas of your body and in particular, lower the tension in many of your muscles. The physical benefits extend to reducing your heartbeat as you relax, lowering blood pressure, and being in control of your breath. Controlling your breath, in particular, can activate your parasympathetic nervous system, which promotes a state of relaxation.
All of these physical benefits can improve your state of mind, but yoga can directly impact positively on your mind too. As you sit, stand or lie in a yoga pose you are encouraged to increase your self-awareness, to focus on the present moment and to empty your mind of random and unwanted thoughts.
It is often these thoughts racing through your mind about past or future events that spark anxiety. Worrying if you did the right thing in the past or fearing what is about to happen are prime causes of anxiety, so being able to negate them by staying in the present during a yoga session can be hugely beneficial.
Yoga Poses That Can Help Control Anxiety
First, it should be pointed out that nearly all yoga poses have benefits for your body and mind and therefore they can contribute to controlling your anxiety. If you’d like to discover many of them take a look at ‘Yoga Burn Challenge,’ which has 12 videos that have multiple yoga lessons and teach you numerous poses you can use to reduce anxiety, as well as providing many other benefits.
Until you obtain ‘Yoga Burn Challenge’ here are a couple of yoga poses that are especially effective at controlling anxiety. These can be done at home, although we suggest that you do them on a yoga mat rather than your carpet or flooring for best effect.
You will discover several yoga poses that have animals in their name, and here’s one with two of them. To do the cat-cow pose first kneel on your mat, with your knees beneath your hips and your hands directly beneath your shoulders. Now you inhale slowly, and as you do, lower your stomach, raise your backside up, and pull your shoulders back.
On the exhale, you reverse the previous movement so lower your backside, lift up your back so that your spine is curved upwards, and lower your neck muscles so that the top of your head is pointing towards the floor. Repeat the breaths and their associated movements up to 8 times. This pose reduces tensions in your spine area and the deep breaths promote a relaxed calmness.
Yes, it’s another animal name. The first step is to lie on your back, knees bent, with your feet flat on the floor. Next, inhale and as you do, lift your pelvic area off the floor, and slide your hands so that they are directly under your buttocks. Lower your buttocks so that they are resting on your hands, and make sure they remain there for the rest of the exercise.
The second stage is to inhale once more, and as you do press your elbows and forearms downwards to the mat. Exhale, then inhale and then push your upper body and head away from the floor. You should at this point be arching your back as far as you can and as you do seek to lower your head so that your crown touches the floor.
Remain in this position for up to 30 seconds, all the while focusing on breathing slowly and deliberately. You want to try and have 5 breaths and then release the pose. The slow and deliberate breathing is great way to relax plus the stretching in your back and neck should help release tension.