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YOGA THERAPY FOR ANXIETY

By Casey Carpenter


Around 40 million people in the US suffer from generalized anxiety disorder, and more and more people these days are looking and turning to yoga as a more holistic approach to help manage it instead of using prescription medication.  Millions of people are starting their yoga practice to help manage anxiety and the symptoms that go along with it.  According to betterhelp.com, mental health professionals suggest yoga as an avenue to help that is safe and effective. Yoga has been shown in studies to alleviate symptoms such as tension, distress, irregular breathing, feelings of panic, or an overall unease or dread associated with generalized anxiety disorder.


How does Yoga Help with Anxiety?


Yoga can help with managing anxiety’s symptoms by reducing heart rate, ease heavy breathing, lower blood pressure, and help to release built up tension in the body.  This can help with some of the physical symptoms that anxiety can cause like panic attacks.  Another way yoga helps with anxiety is by teaching the yogi about self acceptance and learning the triggers they might have.  When someone lives with anxiety, it is so important to learn how to accept discomfort and know the limits they might be facing that day.  With a yoga practice, the learning to stay in the moment and learning to love oneself is a key component.  This helps those that struggle with anxiety by learning to let the future take care of itself and by reducing the need for perfection.


Another way yoga can help with anxiety is by the breathing (pranayama)practices taught during a yoga class.  Often, those suffering from generalized anxiety experience breathing in a shallow, unsteady manner and sometimes holding their breath unconsciously and then taking big gulping breaths.  Regulating the breath through focus during asana practice can connect us to the nervous system.   By taking deep, controlled breaths we in essence soothe the nervous system returning it to a more relaxed state instead of constantly living in a fight/flight/freeze state.  Breathing deeply, and calmly during a yoga practice can help lower blood pressure and focus your mind on the here and now, reducing worry for the future.


Yoga Poses for Anxiety


While there are many beneficial asanas in yoga, there are a few poses that are very beneficial to help when you are feeling anxious or need to calm down and breathe deeper according to experts.  Child’s pose, bending forward fold pose, sukhasana, upward-facing dog, downward dog, triangle pose, tree pose, and savasana.  You can easily learn more about these poses in Aligned with Green Wellness’ new class, Yoga for Anxiety, on Monday mornings starting at 9:00am, January 15, 2024.  If you have any questions about this class or others feel free to reach out to Krista at https://www.alignedwithgreen.com/.  Keep in mind that practicing yoga can sometimes bring feelings and emotions to the surface.  Joining a class like Yoga for Anxiety may help you feel comfortable because it is tailored for stress relief and emotional relief.




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