Why You Should Be Using Yoga for Anxiety Relief

It seems there is a huge increase in the amount of people affected by anxiety these days. It doesn’t discriminate between age, gender or race. My beautiful 90 year old Grandmother is not even immune to its effects. The thought of knowing your partner of a lifetime could be gone in the next heartbeat is not an easy one to erase from your mind. It can have such an impact that it can stop you from really enjoying your life and the people you love. Anxiety has such a profound effect on the mind and body and makes small daily tasks feel like a huge challenge due to the constant worrying thoughts that can cloud your judgment. Using yoga for anxiety relief has so many benefits and just doing a short session once or twice a day can improve your ability to manage anxiety and even prevent it.


“Yoga is a low-risk method for healing the body and mind. Often the positive effects can be felt after just one class.”


Exercise and Endorphins

It is no secret that exercise releases endorphins that make you feel good. Even just five minutes of exercise and breathing can change your mood. It’s a funny thing. The thought of preparing to do exercise can invoke negative thoughts generally due to an internal association but if you just start, once you are moving you find that your whole mindset has changed and often you will want to continue longer than you intended at the beginning of your session. Use these to your advantage.

Mindfulness

The connection Yoga makes between your and body is a strong one. Mindfulness is all about being in the now and noticing the thoughts and feelings you are having without being critical of them. During your yoga session you focus on your breath and on the feelings in your body as you stretch and activate different muscle groups. This brings you to the here and now. Practicing Mindfulness has shown to be effective at reducing anxiety attacks. Some soothing poses like “child’s pose” and “down dog” can be done at anytime you feel the stress rising.

Breathing

Deep and controlled breathing works well to calm the mind and body. When we are in fight or flight mode our breathing becomes shallow and rapid as adrenaline increases. By consciously controlling the depth and speed of our breaths we can send a message to the brain that the threat is gone and it can relax. Yoga and breathing combined creates mindfulness making it very powerful in relieving anxiety.

Atmosphere

Weather you practice yoga in a class or at home the atmosphere is such that it automatically induces calmness. Your yoga teacher will usually play relaxing music and adjust the temperature and lighting to make sure all students are comfortable. There is even more you can do to create a calming atmosphere if you practice at home. You can set up your space to suit your own style. Add your own music and introduce some essential oils either diluted and applied topically on your skin or by using an ultrasonic essential oil diffuser. Adding citrus oils will create an uplifting atmosphere or you can add some woody oils to create a grounding atmosphere. I absolutely love using oils during my practice. It enhances everything and smells divine.

Conclusion

In conclusion, Yoga is, in my opinion, hands down the best tool to have in your kit when dealing with anxiety. It doesn’t matter what your fitness or flexibility level is. Even my grandmother practices gentle yoga. There are plenty of Apps to get you started on your yoga journey at home if a class is not your thing or not available. You can check out the benefits of doing Yoga at Home and you can see what my favorite Yoga App is here.

Namaste

8 Replies to “Why You Should Be Using Yoga for Anxiety Relief”

  1. Such an important topic for this article! Anxiety, as you said, is becoming increasingly common. People need ways to help control it. The calming aspect of yoga is what I personally feel has the potential to help with anxiety. What is your favourite part/benefit of yoga for you? I haven’t personally tried it, however, with all the benefits it is said to have, it would certainly be worth a shot!

    1. Hey Kohl, I think my favorite part about yoga is that I consciously make time and space away from the stress of my day just for me. Its a time when I can really let go and enjoy the moment. I came to Yoga after a series of life events had taken their toll on my mental health and I made the decision that I was worth the effort. You are too. Let me know if you give it a go. 

  2. I have heard quite a lot about yoga over the years but I have never participated in it, however I do have high blood pressure which the underlying cause is stress, someone told me that yoga can relieve stress which in turn leads to lowering of blood pressure, I know that stress and anxiety are quite closely related, so would yoga be beneficial for the lowering of stress alone, because I personally don’t actually suffer from anxiety. 

    1. Hey Russ, I honestly believe yoga can help your stress levels and blood pressure. Would definitely recommend giving it a try. Would love to hear how you go.

  3. I agree that yoga is great for helping me to relax and feel calm so it only makes sense that it would be helpful for anxiety. Once in a while my daughter has panic attacks. I wonder if yoga would help with panic. I bet it would. Regardless, yoga is just amazing for the mind and body. 

    1. Hey Wendy, my daughters will sometime join in with me or even initiate a session. I have found my practice to be a great example for them. They can see how it makes me feel and they wish to emulate that for themselves. I would love to hear if it is helpful for your daughter.

  4. I suffer from anxiety attacks but thankfully it is much more under control these days. There was a time where I was actually afraid to leave my home for fear of a surprise anxiety attack. It was life altering. I have wanted to try yoga for many years now and for whatever reason I have never gotten around to it.

    I have transformed my office into an area of peacefulness with aromatic oils and lighting. I would love to add a yoga area in one corner too. What types of moves would you suggest beginners start with? Thanks so much for your input and advice!

    1. Hey Shan, well done on looking after your mental health. Your office sounds divine and adding a space for yoga is a great idea. I personally started doing yoga with an ipad app as I too was unable to get myself out of the house due to social anxiety. I use the Down Dog app which has a complete beginner level to teach you the basics and you can move up through the levels when you are ready. You can learn more about it in “Why I Will Only Use The Down Dog Yoga App!”. Namaste

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