We all experience anxiety, especially during life’s challenges, and yoga can help ease anxiety big-time and start you on the track to feeling more like the happy mama you were meant to be. We all face stressful times, like when a child or loved one is sick or there is an important deadline to meet, but it is how we handle the feelings surrounding those situations that is important. Of course, stress is an ongoing part of life and probably won’t disappear the moment we begin a regular yoga practice. The thing yoga can give us is physical and mental space between ourselves and the stressors we encounter.
A recent study , found in the book Yoga Cures, by Tara Stiles, showed how 24 people who described themselves as “emotionally distressed” took two ninety-minute yoga class a week for three months. At the same time, a control group did not begin a stress reduction program. Both were tracked. At the end of the three months, the people in the yoga group reported improvements in perceived stress, depression, energy, anxiety, well being and fatigue. Their depression scores improved by 50 percent, anxiety scores by 30 percent and overall well-being by 65 percent. The control group reported no improvement at all.
Take the case of my long time yoga student and friend Laura who shared:
“When I attended my first class close to thirteen years ago, I was in a difficult place in my life. I had recently lost my mother to cancer and was trying to cope with everyday life. I was trying to find some sort of peace and stability. Yoga helped me find that. I enjoyed the classes so much that I’ve continued to practice yoga over the last 12+ years. Yoga was relaxing and challenging at the same time so that now I am inspired to live and love yoga.”
Whether you share Laura’s love relationship with yoga or not, you can use the following sequence to promote peace and calm.
Alternate nostril breathing technique: Begin with a few moments of seated meditation. Use the thumb of the right hand to close the right nostril, and the index finger or ring finger of the right hand to close the left nostril. Close the right nostril and gently and fully inhale through the left nostril. Then close the left nostril and exhale through the right nostril.
Seated easy side bend: From your seated position lean toward your right side and press your right palm and forearm into the ground alongside your bdy. Stay for three long, deep breaths and then move to the other side and repeat.
Seated easy twist: While staying seated inhale and lift your right arm up and twist to your right, as you exhale grab your left hand to your right knee. Inhale and grow the spine tall, exhale and turn deeper into the twist.
Down Dog: From your hands and knees, lift your hips and press down with your hand with your chest reaching back towards your thighs and your heels toward the ground. Draw your belly in towards your spine. Relax your shoulders, head and neck. Stay here for five deep, long, slow breaths.
Share your own anxiety tamers below or let us know how this worked for you! We’d love to hear from you!