Yoga for Anxiety

Anxiety is something we face in our day to day lives. However, sometimes it can overwhelm us and interfere with the people we love and the quality of our lives. Anxiety disorders can affect various parts of a person life: behaviour, thoughts, emotions and physical health. It is estimated that anxiety affects approximately 1 in 10 individuals.


Anxiety is described as a feeling of uneasiness,uncertainty and powerlessness. The origins of anxiety can stem from past unconscious conflict, beginning in infancy or childhood, a learned behaviour, or a result of biochemical imbalances in the central nervous system. Usually the root cause of anxiety is a combination of physical and environmental factors.

The word anxiety stems from the Latin verb "angere" which means to press tightly or choke. Some of the symptoms of anxiety are: accelerated heart rate, feeling of pressure in the chest, rapid breathing, nausea, heartburn, diarrhea, shakiness, restlessness, sleeplessness, frequency of urination, sweating, hot and cold spells, rapid speech, lack of coordination, forgetfulness, impatience, errors in judgement and diminished productivity.

Yoga involves slow movements and breathing techniques, which is opposite to the symptoms and characteristics of anxiety and our reaction to it. The practice of yoga can develop a stronger and peaceful state of mind and better self-awareness. This helps to overcome fears and prevents the dangers of anxiety.

Practicing yoga postures maintains a healthy nervous system. The hormonal reactions in the blood are neutralized by determined and forceful self restraint. Shortness of breath and rapid heartbeats are soothed by steady but gradual supply of oxygen and reduction in circulation with yoga which calms you down.

Pranayama is the practice of using deep breathing to create balance in the body. When there is not enough prana in the body, a person becomes restless and feels constricted. Anxiety is a bi-product of prana imbalance, and deep yoga breathing is designed to bring more prana into the body.

Yoga Poses for Anxiety

Legs Up

This pose soothes the nervous system and promotes harmony and deep relaxation within the body and mind. Leg's Up Pose allows the body to heal and renew itself with many benefits.

legs on wall

Steps for legs up pose

  1. Lie near a wall and slowly manoeuvre your body so that you can raise your legs against the wall.
  2. Make sure your legs are straight against the wall at a 90-degree angle.
  3. Keep your arms relaxed slightly away from the body.
  4. close your eyes.
  5. As you inhale, imagine that you're bringing in peace, happiness or any positive quality that you desire.
  6. As you exhale, imagine banishing away all tension or any negative quality.
  7. Keep breathing in this pose until you feel relaxed.
  8. To come out of the pose, slowly bend your legs and ease them back into the floor.

Cobra Pose

This pose relieves pressure on the nerves branching off the spine and helps with spinal flexibility and circulation. Cobra Pose opens up four chakras within your upper body, keeping you more balanced.

cobra pose

Steps for cobra pose

  1. Lie on your belly with your arms relaxed beside you.
  2. Turn your head to the centre and bend your arms so that your hands are placed beneath your shoulders. Keep your arms close to your body.
  3. Inhale as you start to slowly arch your back. Lift up with you chest. Do not lift your pelvis.
  4. Hold this posture for about 5 seconds.
  5. To come out of the pose, slowly lower your abdomen, chest, shim and head to the floor.
  6. Relax your arms and body, and rest.

Child's Pose

This pose helps you relax and calms the brain, which clears your mind of negative thought. It also helps keep you grounded and takes away the "stressed-out" fatigued feeling. Child's Pose has many great benefits to the mind and body. Your head is lower than your heart, therefore you receive more circulation to your head.

childs pose

Steps for childs pose

  1. Knees are at least hip width apart.
  2. Forehead is on the floor. Heels are apart, big toes touching.
  3. Arms can be down by the feet (palms facing up), or arms can be in front of head (palms facing down).
  4. Press hands and feel your sitting bones on the mat.
6 Yoga Poses for Anxiety Video
VIDEO - Anxiety is described as a feeling of uneasiness, uncertainty and powerlessness. Here are 6 yoga poses that involve slow movements and pranayama breathing techniques.

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