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use yoga to manage anxiety

use yoga to manage anxiety

by June 1, 2012

The Anxiety and Depression Association of America says that 3.1 percent of people in the United States experience generalized anxiety disorder at some time or another. The association lists yoga and aspects of yoga; including meditation, exercise and relaxation techniques; as treatment methods for this condition.

When you’re experiencing anxiety, a mixture of poses can be helpful. Energizing poses can help you channel some of your anxious energy while meditative, relaxing poses can balance you out and help you calm down.

Many different types of poses can be beneficial for anxiety.

seated meditative poses:

  • Easy Pose (Sukhasana)
  • Salutation Seal (Anjali Mudra)
  • Staff Pose (Dandasana)

seated or standing forward bends:

  • Standing Forward Bend (Uttanasana)
  • Seated Forward Bend (Paschimottanasana)
  • Head-to-Knee Forward Bend (Janu Sirsasana)

standing poses:

  • Extended Triangle Pose (utthita Trikonasana)
  • Half Moon Pose (Ardha Chandrasana)

backbends:

  • Fish Pose (Matsyasana)
  • Camel Pose (Ustrasana)
  • Wheel Pose (Dhanurasana)
  • Bridge Pose (Setu Bandha)

Finally, Corpse Pose (Savasana) is a great pose to help you relax and let go.

In addition to the poses you practice in yoga, the breathing techniques (pranayama), meditation and relaxation that go along with many yoga practices can also benefit anxiety. For example:

  • Deeper breathing is calming to the mind and body
  • Guided relaxation can help you let go of excessive thoughts and tension in the body
  • Meditation can clear your mind, change your perspective and give you a clearer perception of your life and your worries

Even though you might find it the most difficult to engage in yoga practices when you need them the most, try some aspect of yoga the next time you are feeling anxious. Whether you practice some poses, deep breathing, guided relaxation or meditation, or a combination of them all, setting aside just a little time for yoga can make a big difference.

Reference: The Anxiety and Depression Association of America
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