How Yoga can help relieve Anxiety?

How Yoga can help relieve Anxiety?

Sometimes life can feel like a constant state of stress and strain. Pressures from work, home, family, society, community. It’s no wonder that we might become anxious. For some people, this feeling of anxiety happens as a normal part of their everyday lives and it can become a battle to face, control and deal with it day after day. For others, it may just happen from time to time, when something thing(s) overwhelm us. Anxiety can come in many forms, panic attacks, phobias or even as simple as feeling social tension.

Some ways to identify if you or a loved one may be experiencing something on the anxiety scale may be:

  • Surge of overwhelming panic
  • Feeling of losing control or that thought ‘I’m going crazy!’
  • Heart palpitations or chest pain
  • Feeling like you’re going to pass out
  • Trouble breathing or a choking sensation
  • Hyperventilation
  • Hot flashes or chills
  • Trembling or shaking

The above list of symptonm are clearly tough to handle, and if you or a loved one are experiencing these, then perhaps there is a low-cost, easy and enjoyable way to help deal with this, Yoga.

For many years we’ve already known the many benefits of yoga when it comes to physical strength, flexibility, postures, mindfulness, but increasingly the medical community are starting to acknowledge that yoga can help you beat stress and anxiety. Organisations that deal with mental health issues such as depression, anxiety stress wait with baited breath as more and more studies prove what many people know from personal experience, that Yoga helps Anxiety. In fact organisations are even being formed to focus purely on this, such as The Yoga Foundation in Sydney “an evidence based movement to reduce anxiety and depression to improve the quality of life for disadvantaged people” (Source

So how exactly does it work? Well the research says that yoga can relieve anxiety by inducing the ‘relaxation response’. The scientific explanation seems to be that yoga increases the levels of GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid). Low GABA levels are associated with people who suffer from anxiety and depression. GABA is a neurotransmitter (brain transmitter) whose primary role is to reduce neuronal exciteability. So it seems that more GABA equals less anxiety.

The Asanas (the positions) can help release the tension, the Pranayama (the breathing practices) help free the mind of clutter and other thoughts, essentially taking the mind off the thoughts that are causing the and the subconscious meditation that comes as a result of the movement of the positions (Asana) with the breath (Pranayama) can result in a sense of calmness and peace. If only for an hour (how ever long you practice) the reality of Yoga is that you have to concentrate on the here and now, or you’ll fall over, and if you do, you’ll laugh and feel a release.

By practicing yoga regularly, you give yourself the chance to move further inside yourself, as the positions become familiar, and you become more able to truly focus on the breathing. This discipline of focusing on the breath is quite tough, and mentally it’s good training to the brain in control. Parking thoughts, letting them go, returning to focus on the breath or the position, all beneficial calming techniques for when those feelings of anxiety rear their head.

So if any of these symptons we’ve listed are familiar for either yourself or for a loved one consider trying or increasing your exposure to Yoga and watch the benefits roll in. The variety of Yoga classes are endless, from gentle nurturing classes through to sweaty dynamic classes which will have you puffing, or perhaps a nice combination of both, you’ll be sure to find a style to suit your personality and you preference.

You’ll start to notice the changes quickly. After your third time your body will start to feel different, less stiff, more able, after 5 classes you’ll start to notice your mind starting to shift, and from there the benefits are endless. You’ll improve your physique, enhance your breathing, calm and quieten your mind and overall just feel a bit more ‘ahhh’.

Sounds good right? What’s stopping you? Diarise the time, find a Yoga Studio (or even a free online class) and #FitYogaIn #YogaBusinessChicks #Yoga

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