How to overcome anxiety through yoga

overcome anxiety through yoga

*This is a guest post

We live in a demanding and chaotic world where stress and anxiety are a common emotion that we feel every day especially as busy mums. The demands in parenting, work, relationships and society can sometimes be overwhelming that we tend to get caught up and trapped.

We have a different way of coping with anxiety. Some go to escape; some eat their favourite comfort food while others go on a crazy shopping spree.

But did you know that there is an easy and cheap way to overcome anxiety?

Yoga could be your answer to living a relaxed and peaceful lifestyle. Below are some of the yoga poses and tips that you can use to fight anxiety away.

Controlled Breathing

 overcome anxiety through yogaPranayama, which is a source of our vital life force, is a formal practice where the breath is controlled. It came from “prana” which means breath sustaining the body or life force and “ayama” which means to draw out or to extend.

For centuries, yogis have known that the breath has an amazing healing power. They found that they could alter their state of mind by controlling the breath.

When we slow down our breath during stressful situations, our carbon dioxide level in the blood is raised, which brings the PH level back to a less alkaline state. This in return lowers our heart rate and calms us down.

Easy Pose – Sukhasana

 overcome anxiety through yoga

People of all walks of life have tried sitting on the ground in a cross-legged position such as the Sukhasana. When practiced with clear intention, this simple seated posture has the power to bring you to a meditative state.

This easy pose can be quite challenging to some. If you are a beginner, try sitting with your back to a wall, slightly closer than the length of a yoga block and then wedge the ends of the block between the wall and your lower shoulder blade.

This pose can strengthen your back; calm the brain and stretch ankles and knees.

Bow Pose – Dhanurasana

The bow pose, which represents the seeker’s effort for enlightenment, is an important symbol in Yoga. This pose is named as the bow as it looks like an archer’s bow, the legs and torso representing the body of the bow while the arms serve as the string.

This pose strengthens back muscle, increases circulation, energizing and helps relieve anxiety. Many variations of the bow pose have been created nowadays but for beginners, you may start with your knees wide, lift then bring your legs closer together.

Fish Pose – Matsyasana

This pose is a great stress reliever as it opens up and stretches your chest and releases tension in the neck area.

To do this pose, lie on your back first with hands by your side and feet together. Then, place your hands underneath your hips with the palms facing downwards. Lift your head and chest up with an inhale and place the crown of your head gently on the floor while your chest stays elevated. Transfer your body’s weight from your head to your elbows and arms. Hold this position and breathe for 15-20 counts. Lastly, gently release.

Standing Forward Bend

overcome anxiety through yoga

This yoga pose which is also called Uttanasana, has many health benefits, one of which is to reduce the anxiety level. Uttanasana is a Sanskrit word, “ut” means intense, “tan”means to extend or stretch and “asana” means pose.

In this posture, your head is below your heart which creates blood to rush to your head. This gives your cells a rejuvenating boost of oxygen. Other benefits of this pose are as follows: soothes the nerves and calms the mind, reduces anxiety, stress, fatigue and depression, relieves tension in the back, neck and spine, lowers blood pressure and improves digestion.

Corpse Pose – Shavasana

Shavasana, or the corpse pose, is one of the most difficult pose to achieve as it involves relaxing your mind completely. Once you have achieved this pose, you will feel energized, rejuvenated, free of stress and have a clear mind.

Lie down on your back with your feet separated. Place your arms by your side and your palms should be facing towards the ceiling. Relax your body and tuck your chin gently close to your chest. Close your eyes and concentrate on your breathing. Lay down in this pose for 8-15 minutes without any thoughts in your mind or body movements.

Camel Pose – Ustrasana

This pose opens up the chest and shoulders and also strengthens the back. Increase your energy and release all the stress away by bending into a camel pose.

First, kneel down on your mat with your legs and knees high width apart. For beginners, you can tuck your toes in or those that are used to this pose can stretch their toes on the mat. Ensure that your hips are directly above your knees and your spine straight. Put your hands on your hips, then inhale and push your hips upward and lift your sternum towards the ceiling. Drop your hands to your heel and gently lower your head and focus on the tip of your nose. Hold for a few breaths and gently release.

Studying yoga poses can certainly give a lot of benefits. Do these poses today and say goodbye to your anxieties.

how to overcome anxiety through yoga

Have you tried yoga to overcome anxiety? Do share in a comment below.

Author Bio –

Meera Watts is a yoga teacher, entrepreneur and mum. Her writing on yoga and holistic health has appeared in Elephant Journal, Yoganonymous, OMtimes and others. She’s also the founder and owner of Siddhi Yoga International, a yoga teacher training school based in Singapore. Siddhi Yoga runs intensive, residential trainings in India (Rishikesh, Goa and Dharamshala), Indonesia (Bali) and Malaysia (Kuala Lumpur).

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