Anxiety can have a significant effect on our daily lives, making us feel like we aren’t in control, bringing on fear, panic, and anger. Stress and fear can also present as anxiety, leading us down the same road to uneasiness and worry. But the good news is you don’t have to let your anxiety or stress control you anymore, because yoga can help set you free.
Yoga isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach to curing stress or anxiety, but it can help alleviate your symptoms to help you feel calm and relaxed. A daily yoga practice combined with good nutrition provides a regular, daily health routine for long term anxiety relief.
So How Does Yoga Help Alleviate Anxiety?
By focusing on deep breathing and proper alignment throughout the asanas, yoga helps to still the mind. During yoga, we turn inward and drown out outside noise, eliminating the feeling that we are competing with our peers or feeling overwhelmed by the outside world. An anxiety alleviating yoga practice should include movements that calm you, keep you in the moment, and don’t pose an extreme challenge.
Here are six yoga poses for anxiety relief:
Legs Up the Wall
This pose is exactly what it sounds like.
- Begin by placing your mat or a pillow against a wall.
- Then lay down and scoot your buttocks up to the wall.
- Put your legs straight up the wall in front of you.
- Relax your arms, close your eyes, and clear your mind.
- Take a few deep breaths and relax in this pose as long as you want.
- Place a mat or blanket underneath you to support the knees, then sit on your knees with legs together or spread in a V-shape and stretch your arms as far forward as you can, bending into child’s pose.
- In this pose, focus on releasing your muscles and letting your worries go.
- Stretch deeper into the pose with each breath, and find peacefulness as you let your thoughts drift away.
Seated Forward Bend
- Sit up on your yoga mat with legs stretched in front of you, and reach your arms up before stretching your upper body toward your toes.
- Try to maintain a flat back and stretch a little further into the pose with each deep breath.
- Beginning on all fours with hands aligned below shoulders and knees below hips, inhale as you lower your belly, draw the shoulder blades together, and lift your gaze.
- This is the Cat part of the pose.
- After a deep breath, begin to arch the back, stretching the shoulders and back up toward your ears while you drop your head into Cow Pose.
- Alternate between cat and cow for several breaths, enjoying the stretch you get in your whole back then release the stress out through the shoulders.
Standing Forward Bend
This anxiety-relieving pose will give you energy and let go of any tension you’re holding.
- Start in a standing position with feet hip-distance apart.
- Then raise the arms overhead and hinge forward at the hips, folding the upper body down while reaching toward your toes.
- Let everything go, hanging in this position or grasping the ankles to give you balance.
- Take a few deep breaths and hold this pose as long as you like.
Finish your anxiety-relieving yoga routine by laying in Savasana with arms stretched out to your sides and legs straight in front of you. Lay in Savasana as long as you like, practicing deep breathing until you feel relaxed.