Yoga for anxiety

Is yoga an amazing all-over workout? Heck yes! But that’s only one benefit. Yoga is a combination of physical movements and postures along with meditative movements, breathing, and mindfulness. It can provide you with an approachable way to reduce anxiety, stress, and depression.

If the panic attack has already hit

Let’s get to the nitty-gritty. If you’re reading this, it is highly likely you have experienced or even right now, are experiencing an anxiety attack or panic attack. Know you are not alone and that nobody has ever died from an actual panic attack as much as your nervous system may beg to differ at the time!

Panic attacks are nothing to be ashamed of. They can happen to literally anyone, regardless of their lifestyle. In these sweat-inducing, tremor-producing moments, your body preps for fight or flight even if there’s no real danger. Panic attacks can be scary, especially if you’ve never had one before.

Symptoms of a panic attack

  • pain or tightness in your chest
  • a sense of impending danger
  • trembling and shaking
  • dizziness or faintness
  • shortness of breath
  • a pounding heart
  • numbness
  • sweating
  • nausea
  • impaired vision

You can use yoga to ease anxiety and panic attacks. Although, before you jump into a new routine, take some time to calm yourself. The breathing techniques below are a great way to begin recalibrating the nervous system.

Try to take deep, slow breaths that fill your belly (not just your chest). Draw air in through your nose and exhale through your mouth. You can also try alternate nostril breathing. Focus on your breath until you begin to feel relief.

Entering a simple yoga pose can also help. Pick one that promotes a sense of grounding but also helps you relax. Some good choices are Child’s Pose and Bridge Pose. This can open your lungs, slow rapid breathing, and decrease your heart rate.

Best yoga poses for anxiety

I have put together a sequence of yoga poses (asana) that will help the body to relax, transferring over to the parasympathetic nervous system (rest and digest) as opposed to the sympathetic system (fight or flight). These yoga poses for panic attacks can help promote a sense of safety, relaxation, and overall stillness.

The practice is for all levels, including beginners, and takes around 60 minutes from start to finish. Each pose should be sat in for around four nourishing belly breaths. If you are struggling with reoccurring anxiety such as GAD ( Generalised anxiety disorder) I would suggest you practice this sequence at least twice a week to keep your nervous system in check, rather than waiting for it to become overstimulated and burnt out.

Click the link here will take you to the free Yoga for Anxiety and Stress sequence, all you need to do is press play and follow its lead.

If you have any questions, need some additional advice or guidance, or would like to attend a 121 or one of my morning online sessions, please click on the link here to get in touch and to find out more or book straight on here

Meditation & breathing exercise for anxiety/panic attacks

This meditation is particularly good for women and essential at times of worry, unease, and irrationality. Normally, we breathe at a rate of 15 breaths a minute, but when we’re able to rhythmically slow down our breath to only 4 breaths per minute, we have indirect control over our minds. This eliminates obnoxious behavior, promoting a calm mind regardless of our surroundings. This is a very effective method of balancing the functional brain.

Please bear in mind that this meditation, and breathing exercise, is an advanced practice. It stabilises the pranic body (energy body), resulting in an increased sense of self and elimination of anxiety. Conscious and subconscious fears negatively impact our judgment and self-trust every day. This meditation removes our reactions to those fears and makes us steady. Follow the Nadi Shodhana link above if you feel this is too advanced for you at the moment.

Try It

Sit in Easy Pose with your eyelids 1/10th open, gaze focused at your brow point. Hold your right hand 4–6 inches in front of your body at the level of your throat. Curl your fingers into a fist. Extend your thumb straight up. Hold your left hand directly below your right fist. Curl the fingers of your left hand into a fist. Extend your thumb straight up.

Adjust the position of your hand so your left thumb tip is about 2 inches from the base of your right fist and your thumbs are aligned with each other. The base of your left hand to the top of your right thumb should cover the space from the level of your diaphragm to your mouth. Hold your elbows so that your forearms are parallel to the ground.

Regulate your breath in this pattern: Inhale deeply and quickly, then exhale immediately, powerfully, and completely. Lock your breath out. Suspend your chest and keep your neck locked. Keep your thumbs stiff and in perfect position.

Hold your breath out for a rhythmic count of 26. With each count, gently apply mula bandha. Visualize as you count. See and feel the energy and awareness going up your spine, vertebra by vertebra. The count of one is the first vertebra at the base of your spine and the count of 26 is at the top of your spine at the center of your skull. Continue for 3–11 minutes

I do hope these tools and techniques help in some way. Always remember…

All is well, and I am safe.
I inhale strength and exhale fear
I’ve survived this before, I’ll survive now

and my favourite…

Let go of the fear, only love is here

I do hope this post brings some relief to you and wish you peace and stillness.