Yoga reduces stress with breath control, makes you feel healthy, and increases strength and flexibility. The purpose of yoga, which includes a series of movements, breathing exercises, and meditation aimed at these, is to create mind and body awareness and harmony. Yoga is an old tradition and offers many mental and physical benefits. One of the most important mental benefits is that yoga is good for anxiety. So how do you think yoga is good for anxiety?
Incorporating yoga into your routine helps improve your health, increase strength and flexibility, and reduce symptoms of stress and anxiety. Practicing yoga a few times a week will be enough to make a noticeable difference when it comes to your health. Scientific studies have shown that yoga is a successful actor in the treatment of anxiety. I will refer to these studies in the rest of the article.
When combined with a healthy lifestyle or done alone, yoga can help reduce risk factors for heart disease. Heart health is an essential part of overall health. High blood pressure is one of the main causes of heart problems such as heart attack and stroke. It is known that those who do yoga have lower blood pressure and heart rate than those who do not. Yoga has an antidepressant effect and helps reduce depression symptoms. This is because yoga can reduce levels of cortisol, a stress hormone that affects serotonin, the neurotransmitter often associated with depression.
Poor sleep quality is associated with obesity, high blood pressure, and depression, among other diseases. Those who practice yoga fall asleep faster, sleep longer and feel better rested in the morning. There are also studies showing that yoga increases the secretion of melatonin, a hormone that regulates sleep and wakefulness. Practicing awareness through yoga for those with and without irregular eating behaviors will help develop healthy eating habits. Also, doing just 15-30 minutes of yoga each day can make a big difference for those who want to improve their performance by increasing flexibility and balance.
Yoga as a Therapy Method in Anxiety Treatment
Meditation and other stress-reduction techniques are used as a treatment method to combat symptoms such as depression and anxiety, as many studies have proven their benefits. Unfortunately, if you go to a conventional doctor and tell you that you are struggling with depression and the debilitating symptoms it causes, they’ll tell you to rest instead of recommending yoga or meditation or prescribe sedatives that you don’t really need and send you home.
Yoga is an accessible form of exercise for everyone – you can do it from the comfort of your own home by watching many YouTube videos or join a yoga class available at almost any gym. It is easy to find a yoga class that suits your level wherever you are in the world. The choice of yoga style that people prefer usually depends on their physical abilities and personal preferences.
Some of the benefits that people struggling with anxiety observe after the detox process include an open mind, feeling lighter emotionally, being able to relate more to themselves, being less anxious and calmer, having a better mood after waking up (not having to set an alarm to wake up) and their overall mental health had improved noticeably after a visit to a yoga center. When you combine nutrition and exercise with mental well-being – when you control what you eat and incorporate exercise into your life – you will certainly feel much better mentally.
The reason yoga is so beneficial for so many people is that while fighting anxiety and depression, yoga modulates stress reaction systems that reduce physiological stimulation. Stress reaction systems function in the area of lowering blood pressure, balancing the heartbeat rhythm, and reducing the respiratory rate. In this respect, yoga is also a calming activity such as meditation, relaxation, exercise, and even socialization. For many people struggling with depression, anxiety, or stress, which is often effective at some point in our lives today, yoga can be a good and attractive way to manage the difficult symptoms that many of these conditions bring.
Today’s stressful lifestyle fosters anxiety and depressed mood. Yoga therapists describe yoga practices that we can do to cleanse ourselves from the negative effects of anxiety and depression. Yoga, which dates back thousands of years and derives from the root ‘Yuj‘, which means to come together in Sanskrit, can be defined as living harmoniously and happily with the universe as a whole by combining body, mind, and soul.
The first experience of yoga was developed when people applied their discoveries through plants and animals on their own bodies. In particular, these practices were applied in order to reach the special abilities that animals have. The asana (posture) practice that is formed today comes from here. The methodology of the yoga system has been developed to ensure the full development of the person at the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual levels. Therapy-based applications aim to make the person healthier.
The Yoga Therapy program aims to improve the individual’s health, prevent and cure stress-based diseases. It is a program that can adapt to known treatment methods. Yoga therapy techniques fix the problem from the most basic level. In the bodily sense, total recovery depends on the improvement in the vital energy layers at the emotional and psychological level. Through the various techniques used with integrated approaches, the mind is provided to reach silence, calmness, or deep relaxation in a holistic sense.
It is predicted that most ailments, especially today, are related to stress and an unbalanced lifestyle. Deep relaxation in the smallest cell, organ, or tissue in the nervous system is very important and effective at the health level. Various studies have revealed that yoga therapy has positive effects on depression and anxiety. Asana (posture) exercises relax the body, relax the mind, and break the negative thought chain of the practitioner and the person can develop awareness in this state.
The Benefits of Yoga for Anxiety With Scientific Studies
In one or a few periods of our lives, we have all experienced our accelerated heartbeats, tightened rib cage, rushing mind, and body that cannot stay still. Their starting point may be anxiety. Anxiety is a reaction to current events in a state of anxiety and fear about future events. Anxiety is often an unwanted and unexpected guest in our lives. There are no psychological effects in many things that are written or described in order to prevent the progress of the coronavirus epidemic in the world.
Man is a social being. Social isolation, house arrest, and the accompanying uncertainty about the future can affect mental health. Especially in the period when anxiety increases, we may become more open to experiencing anxiety. Anxiety, which occurs in periods when worries about the future increase, may disrupt the nervous system and brain functions along with the internal balance of the body. Studies show that yoga alleviates the anxiety-related anxiety and sadness of the individual.
According to research by experts, the vagus nerve, which controls the parasympathetic nervous system, must be activated in order to relieve the nervous system that is out of balance due to anxiety. Practicing yoga sends a relaxation stimulus to the mind by activating the vagus nerve. According to this theory, when conscious breathing comes together with yoga, a relaxation response is observed in the nervous system. A study conducted by Boston University shows that “GABA”, known as the neurotransmitter of calmness and relaxation among 100 different neurotransmitters in the brain, becomes active with yoga.
During the 12-week study, some of the participants practiced yoga for 1 hour 3 times a week, while the rest did a walk. Although the GABA level of yoga practitioners was higher than those who walked, there were also serious positive improvements in their mood and anxiety. Yoga seems to reduce stress and anxiety levels, but not one hundred percent. For people with anxiety problems at the clinical level, when yoga is applied together with therapy, more positive feedback is obtained from the results obtained by only treating with therapy.
According to studies, it has been observed that the anxiety level of patients receiving cancer treatment decreases with yoga. If you want to reduce your anxiety and anxiety levels by doing yoga, to relax, and to enjoy life and the conditions you are in right now while feeling more peaceful, you can start the experiments with the 15-minute Yoga Training for All Levels that I have prepared for you below. To lower your anxiety levels with yoga:
- Practice yoga for an hour at least twice a week.
- When you cannot find time for 1 hour, it is sufficient to do at least 10 minutes every other day. The important thing is that the body moves.
- Try different yoga styles. For some, a slow and gentle practice may be good, while others may prefer restorative or Yin Yoga. Slow-motion can have a more positive effect to relax the moving nervous system. Others may need to move more intensely such as Vinyasa or Power Yoga. I suggest you try and choose. Yin Yang yoga, being both active and still, can be good for most people for balance.
- Make sure that the place where you will do yoga relax you. So let there be factors such as dim lights, relaxing music. Bright lights and loud music can increase the contraction of the body.
- Absolutely care about your breath. Breathing work focused on the breathing you exhale and breathing through different nostrils can be your tool against anxiety. In short, you can relax with these breaths.
- Give yourself time. You need some time to see the effect of yoga. In the researches, positive improvements have been observed with two yoga practices per week in two to three months. Either way, it’s a process where you have to be a little patient. With practice and dedication, you can discover the intricacies of yoga and regenerate your body and nervous system.
As a person who has been treated for panic attacks with a psychiatrist and psychologist expertise for nearly 5 years, starting yoga has not only helped me get rid of drugs that are said to cure me and actually disrupt my brain chemistry and metabolism but also helped me feel more peaceful, central and safe. When I included the breathing and meditation practices in my life, I overcame many problems that I could not solve. Yoga helps people to connect with themselves. In fact, one of the factors that lead to the emergence of anxiety (if not genetic) is that the person’s bond with himself is severed.
Yoga Therapy Solutions for Anxiety
Anxiety is a phenomenon that enables humans to survive in the evolutionary process. Hundreds of thousands of years ago, Homo Erectus, who first stood up with the incentive to stand upright on two feet, and then the primitive man, who went to cave life, escaped from being prey to predators thanks to our ancestors living on trees, as well as tall crops hiding predators. Healthy anxiety facilitates our attention, focus, stay awake, stimulates, and motivates us to solve our problems.
But if anxiety intensifies and begins to affect our lives and relationships, this indicates that we are crossing the healthy anxiety line and that we are or are entering the limit of anxiety, defined as an anxiety disorder. Anxiety, also known as anxiety disorder, affects the person both emotionally and physically. Emotional symptoms are anxiety, focusing on bad scenarios, irritability, restlessness, and observing signs of danger. Physical symptoms include heart palpitations, sweating, difficulty in breathing, spasm, tremors, headache, insomnia, and weakness.
Many of these feelings are evident in today’s metropolis people due to their fast consuming lifestyle. While technology that provides a lot of convenience in life and the modernizing world life distance us from nature we are a part of, it also creates negative effects on our inner and bodily balance. The more people move away from nature of which they are a part, the more they lose their spiritual and physical balance. This situation is reflected in behaviors, thoughts, and moods. Changes in any affect the others. Let’s not forget, the balance disorder experienced consciously and conscious studies on the effects of this situation provide the development of the balance.
First of all, we know that only a psychiatrist can diagnose anxiety. He/she prescribes the medication he deems appropriate and recommends that the person seek psychological counseling if necessary. The yoga therapy work we will do, on the other hand, provides significant benefits for those who have not been diagnosed with anxiety while supporting the treatment process, but who feel a few of the symptoms or who often live with tired, depressed, anxious, tense and fast, complex mind. Apart from that, even if you participate in yoga or breathing exercises in a center, you can double the benefit you get from your yoga practices with this practice that you will do yourself at home in the morning or evening.
Remember, the intensity of anxiety may increase if someone with an anxiety diagnosis starts taking yoga classes. Therefore, my suggestion would be that the person should turn to yoga styles with less difficulty such as yoga therapy. During the application period, internalize the movements as much as possible. Just focus on your movement and your breathing. Don’t occupy the mind with anything else. We know that living in the past provides depression, living in the future increases anxiety, and staying in the present helps calm the mind and be more peaceful.
The way to stay in the moment begins with breathing. I will share a short application that will be an example of yoga therapy solutions for anxiety. To balance the active mind with the body, we begin by mobilizing the body and calming the mind by focusing on the action. For this reason, yoga therapy offers movements that provide coordination. Before starting actions, determine your intention. It is important to strengthen pre-yoga therapy intention for anxiety. You can intend to do something that will benefit yourself, to make the mind clearer, calmer, stronger.
First, put your feet firmly on the ground and come to an upright stance, keeping your feet about one foot apart. Inhale through your nose and rise to the tips of your toes as you exhale through your nose. Simultaneously lift the right arm up and the left arm to the side. In this position, take a breath and return to the starting position by lowering your soles and arms to the ground while exhaling. Do 3 repetitions in the same direction, and then repeat 3 times in the opposite direction with the left arm up, right arm to the side, and finally do the double arm sideways and double arm up movement 3 more repetitions.
Lie on your back, knees bent, feet flat under your knees. Keep your arms close to your body on either side of the torso. Inhale and exhale, lift your hips up, at the same time raise the right arm to the side of the head and the left arm up towards the ceiling. Do 3 repetitions in the same direction, then 3 repetitions in the other direction, and at the same time 3 repetitions with two arms to the ceiling and then two arms to the side of the head.
Before starting the movement, sit comfortably and close your eyes. Observe the effects of previous movements on your body. Lie on your back again, pull your knees to your stomach, arms on both sides of the body, be careful to keep your waist soft on the floor. Here, take a breath and as you exhale, simultaneously lift both arms up from the head and legs towards the ceiling. Breathe in with the legs up, the soles of the feet towards the ceiling, and exhale and return to the starting position. Do 6 reps.
Come to the all-fours position. Hands under shoulders, knees under hips on the floor, and back straight like a table. Breathe in and come into the child position by sending your hips towards the heels as you exhale. Take a breath in the child’s position and return to the starting position while exhaling. Do 6 reps. When we are tense and stressed, the breath goes around the chest area. We have to use stomach breathing to calm down. Focusing on breathing can be a good idea for quality breathing. There is a stuck in the structure of the mind, to get rid of this situation, move your tongue away from the upper palate and breathe in and out of the nose. Come to a comfortable fit; You can cross-legged or sit with your knees bent.
Bring the spine into an upright posture. When you start abdominal breathing, let out the breath by making an ‘aaaaa’ sound from the mouth and close your mouth. Imagine taking the breath from the top of your head towards your heart, taking three breaths in and out this way. Then imagine that you are breathing from the top of the head towards your belly button and breathe in and out thinking this way three times. Finally, take the breath from the top of the head to the coccyx where the root chakra is located, and observe the places where the breath travels in your body. Keep eyes closed during breathing work.
Yoga Poses Helpful for Anxiety Disorder
According to the 2017 research of the World Health Organization, the number of people with depression is 322 million. Situations in anxiety are a bit more painful. It is thought that there are approximately 500 million anxiety disorders in the world. Of course, these numbers are the number of people who have been officially proven to be depressed and have anxiety. It is difficult to predict where the results will come when we add those who are not aware that they are depressed and have anxiety problems to this number.
Well, you might say, what do depression and anxiety disorders have to do with yoga poses? Although yoga is known as a sport that basically provides body flexibility and balance, it is also one of the most beneficial sports that cleanse the mind. This powerful spiritual aspect of yoga and its ability to purify the body and fill it with positive energy has already begun to be used as an auxiliary element in the treatment of some psychological problems. The first thing to know in yoga classes for beginners is choosing the right yoga outfit. For an empty mind, you must first have clothes that you are very comfortable in.
- Lotus Pose
Although this movement, which prevents physical and mental wear when done regularly, seems easy, it is an advanced yoga pose. It cleanses the mind from the tiredness of the day and is very effective in opening the energy channels. While doing this movement, close your eyes and focus only on your breathing. Remember that the purpose of the lotus pose is to experience the nature of existence through insight and attain enlightenment.
- Matsyasana (Fish Pose)
Matsyasana yoga pose is described as “the destructor of all diseases”. It gives magnificent relaxation to the body by stretching the back, neck, and hip muscles. Matsyasana posture is frequently preferred not only in the treatment of anxiety disorders but also in the treatment of constipation, respiratory disorders, and menstrual pain.
- Setu Bandha (Bridge)
The Sethu Bandha pose is the best way to relieve the stress you experience throughout the day. You can do this movement between 30 and 60 seconds by protecting your neck from the impact of the hard floor with a mat that you will lay underneath. In addition to anxiety treatment, it is good for insomnia, digestion, asthma, and calms the brain. Make sure to do this movement when you feel bad, and you will feel your bones relax and your spine stretch.
- Salambhasana – Grasshopper Asana
Flex this movement to the end! It is a known fact that yawning has positive effects on human psychology. This yoga pose is all about stretching and relaxing. It is very useful in reducing stress and eliminating negative emotions such as tiredness. Wherever you see fit at home or in the office, you can easily do this movement by reaching where you are.
- Balasana (Child Pose)
In your stressful moment, your neck and back muscles contract first. At this point, the Balasana stance, which has a completely relaxing feature, comes into play. You can do it between 2 and 3 minutes whenever you need it to relax the muscles and relieve the load on the spine.
The Greatest Aid in Combating Anxiety Disorder: Meditation
Meditation is a relaxation activity that has been around for hundreds of years. The purpose of meditation, which enables the person to reach mental calmness and calm down, is to rest the soul and mind. Studies over the years reveal that meditation has a positive effect, especially on mental illness. Let’s look at what is meditation, one of the methods used for the treatment of anxiety, especially known as anxiety disorder, how it is done, and what are its benefits.
Meditation is a spiritual purification activity performed to direct the mind to positive thoughts, to create spiritual awareness, and to make the person feel calmer. In Eastern cultures, meditation is done for liberation and it is aimed to provide awareness of the essence of the “soul”. In meditation, the person aims to leave the body consciousness to the soul consciousness and to regain the virtues of the soul such as purity, love, and wisdom.
There are many different meditation techniques, but the purpose of all is to clear the mind and to feel better by being free of bad thoughts. For meditation, you must first be in a comfortable and quiet environment where you can meditate. You can also do it with calm music if you wish. While meditating, the mind is directed to positive thoughts by concentrating. People who are new to meditation may choose to do a guided meditation. Meditation has many proven positive effects on the mind and body. We can list the benefits of meditation as follows:
- It relieves stress.
- It reduces anxiety and worry.
- It improves sleep quality.
- It strengthens creativity and intuition.
- It provides easier focusing, increases concentration.
- It has a reducing effect on high blood pressure.
- It lowers blood pressure.
- It strengthens the immune system.
- It relieves fatigue.
- It relieves heart palpitations.
- Anti-aging hormones are secreted.
Known as an anxiety disorder, anxiety is a mental illness. This disease, which triggers feelings of anxiety and fear, affects the quality of life of the person in its later stages. In addition, anxiety can trigger many mental illnesses. It is a state of constant concern for current events or future events. Anxiety can be caused by genetic reasons or environmental factors can trigger anxiety. It often occurs with other mental illnesses. Therapies and drugs can be used in their treatment.
In addition, it has been proven that regularly meditating has an effect on reducing anxiety symptoms. Anxiety symptoms include excessive anxiety, restlessness, fatigue, anxiety, extreme irritability, trouble focusing, sleep disturbances, and social anxiety disorder. Meditation is done to get rid of negative thoughts in the mind and to purify the mind. Meditation is mainly based on breathing exercises.
In cases of anxiety, such as anxiety, and fear, correct breathing is extremely effective in calming down. Breathing exercises are also effective in focus. Meditation, which is known to eliminate focus and concentration deficiencies, enables the person to focus on the “moment” he is in. For anxiety patients who are worried about the future, this allows them to focus on the “now” and control their thoughts by experiencing moment awareness.
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