Living a stressful life can sometimes lead to feelings of anxiety and panic. People who suffer from anxiety are always searching for ways to overcome this feeling of fear and stress. However, patients afflicted with anxiety are now turning to yoga to help them deal with anxiety. Yoga, being one of the ancient forms of exercise, comes with amazing benefits to calm your body, mind, and soul. Focusing on your breath, along with the ability to stay present at the moment, can help get rid of negative thoughts and mental chatter. If you’re someone looking out for ways to overcome your anxiety, then here are 7 yoga poses that you could try out.
Try out the below poses to calm down and find inner peace. These poses may aid you to overcome anxiety by helping you focus and quieten down racing thoughts.
#1 Tree Pose/Vrikshasana
- Stand straight with your arms alongside your body
- Take a few deep breaths, and try to find an object or place in the room to focus your attention. Now, slowly start shifting your weight to the left leg and raise your right foot off the ground. Try to align the sole of the right foot with the inside of the left thigh
- Make sure that your toes point down and the pelvis should be straight
- Move your arms sideways and stretch them up straight above your head, towards the ceiling. Your palms should be pressed together to form an inverted V
- This pose improves stability and balance in your legs
- It strengthens the ligaments of the feet
- Strengthens and tones up your buttocks & legs
- Strengthens the hips and bones
- Helps to build self-confidence
- Helps to achieve balance in other aspects of your life as well
#2 Triangle Pose/Trikonasana
This is an energizing pose that helps ease a tense neck and back. The muscles exercised when you practice this pose are the internal oblique, latissimus dorsi, hamstrings, quadriceps, and gluteus medius and maximus.
- Stand straight with your feet wide apart
- Place your left toes forward, while your right toes should be placed at a slight angle
- Now, lift both your arms and extend them out from your shoulders. Place your palms face down
- Extend the torso as you slowly reach forward with the left hand
- Now, hinge your hip joint to move your right hip back and move your left hand down to your leg or the floor
- Extend the right arm up towards the ceiling
- Hold this pose for about 30 sec each side
- Then follow the same steps with the opposite side
- Helps relieve stress
- Strengthens the knees, thighs, and ankles
- Stretches the groins, hamstrings, shoulders, chest, calves, hips, and spine
- Improves digestion
- Stimulates all the abdominal organs
- Helps with a backache
- Great for anxiety, neck pain, infertility, and osteoporosis
#3 Standing Forward Bend/Uttanasana
How to overcome anxiety and relax the mind through yoga poses is something that a lot of people want to know. This standing forward bend pose may help you relax your mind while it releases tension from the body.
- Stand with your feet apart and your hands on your hips
- Exhale while you hinge at your hips to fold forward, keep a slight bend in your knees while you do this
- Now, move your hands to the floor and tuck your chin into your chest
- Release all the tension in your hips and lower back, while you keep your head and neck hanging heavy towards the floor
- Hold this pose for one minute with normal breathing
- Helps calm down the mind and soothes the nerves
- Reduces anxiety, stress, fatigue, and depression
- Stretches hamstrings and calves
- Keeps the spine flexible and strong
- Relieves tension in the back, neck, and spine
- Eases menopause symptoms, headaches, insomnia, and asthma
- Improves digestion
#4 Fish Pose/Matsyasana
This is a great yoga pose that helps relieve tightness in the back and chest. When you practice the fish pose, it works muscles like the hip flexors, intercostals, trapezius, and abdominals.
- Sit on the floor with your legs stretched out
- Place your hands under your buttocks keeping your palms facing downwards
- Now, slowly start to squeeze your elbows together while you expand your chest
- Lean back onto your elbows and forearms, pressing down into your arms
- If you are comfortable, allow your head to hang backwards towards the floor or rest it on a cushion
- Hold this pose for 30 sec with eyes open
- Relieves stress, anxiety, and irritation
- Improves posture
- Relieves tension in the shoulders, throat, and neck
- Tones the neck and abdominal muscles
- Strengthens the upper back
- Stimulates the abdominal organs
#5 Extended Puppy Pose/Uttana Shishosana
This is an excellent pose that stretches out the spine to help relieve tension. The deltoids, trapezius, erector spinae, and triceps are the muscles affected when you perform this yoga pose.
- Start by coming into a tabletop position
- Now, extend both your hands forward a few inches and move your buttocks down into your heels
- Press down into both your hands and keep your arm muscles engaged, while your elbows are kept lifted
- Rest your forehead on the ground
- Allow your chest to open while you do the pose
- Hold this pose for two minutes
- Calms the mind and body
- Relieves chronic stress, insomnia, and tension
- Stretches the shoulders, spine, hips, upper back, and arms
#6 Child Pose/Balasana
When you feel an anxiety attack coming, this is one of the best relaxing poses you could try out to help ease the stress and anxiety. It may help you keep calm and relaxed.
- Get into a kneeling position and sink right back onto your heels
- Now, fold forward and place your hands in the front
- Let your torso fall into your thighs and rest your forehead down on the floor
- Your arms should be extended forward or you could simply rest them alongside your body
- Hold this position for about 2 to 3 minutes
- Calms the mind and body
- Helps relieve stress and anxiety
- Releases tension in the chest, back, and shoulders
- Great for fatigue and dizziness
- Strengthens the spine
- Flexes the internal organs
- Stretches out the ligaments, muscles, and tendons
#7 Seated Forward Bend/Paschimottanasana
This is another amazing pose that’s believed to calm the mind and relieve anxiety. If you feel that your thoughts are all over the place, take the time to practice the seated forward bend pose that may help center your thoughts.
- Sit on a cushion with your legs stretched out straight, you can keep a slight bend in your knees
- Now, inhale and lift your arms
- Slowly move your hips to extend your body forward, while you rest your hands anywhere on the floor
- Hold the pose for 1 minute with normal breathing
- It helps relieve mild depression and stress
- Calms down the brain
- Improves digestion
- Stimulates the uterus, kidneys, liver, and ovaries
- Gives a good stretch to the shoulders, hamstrings, and spine
- Helps relieve symptoms of menopause
- Relieves anxiety, headache, and reduces fatigue
Follow these 7 yoga poses and take note of all the sensations you feel throughout your body when you perform each pose. If at any time you feel your thoughts are racing, gently try to bring your mind back and slowly continue your practice.
Although research supports yoga as a way to overcome anxiety and panic, it’s always important to talk to your doctor before you start with any new exercise program or yoga practice. This will help, as your doctor would be able to identify possible risks and also recommend modifications to avoid injuries or health problems. Always make sure that you practice in a place where you feel safe and comfortable. If at any time you feel that yoga is causing you discomfort, discontinue the practice immediately.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q. Does yoga help with anxiety?
A. Yoga techniques like relaxation, meditation, and exercise is a self-soothing tool that one can use to calm your mind and slow down racing thoughts. If done right, you can take care of your anxiety better.
Q. How does yoga affect mental health?
A. Research has shown that yoga works wonders when it comes to mental health. Yoga reduces muscle tension, relieves stress and inflammation, and increases concentration. It helps to calm down the nervous system, helping you focus better.
Q. When should I not do yoga?
A. Avoid doing yoga when you are exhausted, ill, suffering from acute stress, or in a hurry. Also, do not perform yoga right after a meal.
Q. Can I do yoga only if I am fit?
A. Yoga can be done by anyone who has no known medical ailment history. However, if you do have a medical condition, then it’s best to consult your doctor or yoga therapist before you begin your yoga practice.
Q. How often should I do yoga for anxiety?
A. Anxiety sufferers can perform yoga for as little as 20 minutes a day to reduce anxiety symptoms. However, performing a one-hour yoga practice two-three times a week can decrease anxiety symptoms dramatically.