Anxiety; it can be a simple annoyance when you have to do something you are nervous about or downright crippling. Anxiety can be something that really causes a lot of pain in many people’s hearts. It can be a destroyer of self worth and a roadblock to life. I have experienced anxiety that was so hard to deal with that I rarely left my home in the past. Doing yoga helped me find my center in times where I felt that familiar heart racing and fight or flight kick in. While it may not be reasonable to do the yoga moves in this set everywhere, you can do the breathing featured at the end of this article just about anywhere. The yoga poses contained herein can be used in a comfortable place when you need some inner peace restored and can help you find this feeling throughout the day.
Cat/Cow- This pose involves some great breathing and stretching so I find it helps with calming the mind. To do cat/cow, get on all fours. Inhale slowly and round your back, pulling your buttocks and head in towards your center and your belly button up. This is cat. To move into cow, exhale slowly and bring your head out and buttocks back while relaxing your back.
Cobra- I find heart opening poses that give a good stretch in the back awesome for anxiety release. Cobra is a simple pose just about anyone can do. Get on your mat and lay on your stomach with the top of your feet flat on the ground as well. Inhale and use your hands to push your chest up and pull your head up. Don’t move your hips, just bend at the middle and back. Exhale and gently come back down.
Three Legged Dog- Inversion has been shown to help release anxious feelings, so three legged dog is a great way to achieve this in an easy manner. Get into downward dog. (This is achieved by getting on all fours and then on your feet while keeping your hands also on the mat.) Inhale and lift one leg up while maintaining balance. Breathe for a few minutes like this and then exhale while gently and slowly placing your leg back down. Inhale and do the same with the opposite leg.
Seated Heart Opener- I modified this one because I don’t have a lot of flexibility yet in my shoulders, but just like cobra, this is a heart opener and is great for a good stretch. For my modified version, I sat with my legs crossed and placed my fists on the mat behind me. I arched my back and chest backwards and held this on the inhale. I then exhaled and came back to easy pose.
Alternate Nostril Breathing/Easy Pose- Easy pose is simply sitting cross-legged and straight up. This pose is a nice way to feel connected to your body and is simple to do for meditation. You can also use it for a breathing technique called Alternate Nostril Breathing. This can help you focus on breathing and slow your heart as well as lower your blood pressure in these moments. To do it, close your eyes. Gently place your index (pointer) and long (middle) finger between your eyebrows. Place your ring finger over one nostril and your thumb near the other. Take a deep, slow breath in while covering your nostril with your thumb. Hold it for a few seconds and then release your nostril. Exhale slowly through your other nostril while gently covering the nostril you inhaled through with your ring finger. Do this as long as you need to in order to find a sense of calmness. Try to quiet your mind and pay attention to your breath. You can do this breathing technique in public areas by simply excusing yourself to the restroom or your car or wherever you can find some privacy.
While yoga won’t be a cure for your anxiety, it can certainly be something you keep in your bag of tricks for coping techniques. I hope you found this helpful!
Read more by Christine here.