Can Yoga Help with Anxiety?
When it comes to exercising and mental health in general, we know there are correlations. The two are intertwined and work together in almost perfect harmony. One of the best examples of this is yoga and the benefits that come with it, like helping with anxiety. We're not saying yoga will prevent or completely remove anxiety, but it can certainly be beneficial both in the long and short term, inside and outside of the exercise itself. Awesome right?
How can Yoga Really Help with Anxiety?
Looking at how yoga helps with anxiety specifically, we can see the long and the short term ways it can help both physically and mentally.
Right off the bat, looking at what yoga is in terms of exercise is a good place to start. The whole concept of yoga and the movements and meditative exercise that it involves is immediately relaxing. One of the biggest factors? You're made to focus on your breathing, which is a pillar of its own. As you breathe properly and rhythmically, you naturally calm yourself to relieve stress and anxiety, making yourself more present in the moment.
Outside of the physical way that breathing aids with calming, the state of mindfulness that it provides is another huge way to helping reduce anxiety and the symptoms of it too. You put yourself into a place of concentration and relaxation at the same time. You're really in the moment of what you are doing and not worrying about with is outside of it. This helps in clearing the mind and helping to manage stresses as a whole.
So, although mindfulness is all about being in the present, it builds to another interesting application of yoga that leads to a reduction of anxiety in the long term too. This ability to be mindful and almost meditative can be transferred to other situations as well. As your ability to relax and calm yourself through yoga improves, you are able to do it in other situations as well. Almost like a new method of stress management.
Again, this isn’t just all mental benefits of yoga either. Yoga can help with anxiety from a physical perspective in the long run too. Doing exercises in general, as well as yoga is a great way to gain a host of mental benefits, but physical benefits aren’t to be forgotten. Performing yoga regularly enables you to manage your breathing, yes, but your heart rate and blood pressure see a benefit as well. These are often huge contributors to anxiety as we have no control over them in stressful situations. Yoga, however, means that you’re able to calm yourself and reduce these things.
What you can do
So what can you do to make the most of yoga and reduce anxiety? Well, anything really. Typically, all schools of yoga share this effect on anxiety in the long run. Various poses ranging from beginner level things simply to practise mindfulness are great. If they aren’t enough or don’t particularly appeal to you though, the more advanced and strength testing poses are awesome too (as well as being great for core strength)
Overall, yoga helps with anxiety, both physically and mentally. In a perfect world, you could be doing yoga on a daily basis to really make sure that you're getting the most out of it, but that's not always practical. In line with your 150 minutes of recommended exercise a week, yoga can just fit in where you can fit it. Even just once a week should be a great way to have a big impact on your life. Give it a try and see how you feel about it.
Before beginning any exercise or nutrition program, consult your physician, doctor or other professional. This is especially important for individuals over the age of 35 or persons with pre-existing health problems. Exercise.co.uk assumes no responsibility for personal injury or property damage sustained using our advice.
If you experience dizziness, nausea, chest pain, or any other abnormal symptoms, stop the workout at once and consult a physician or doctor immediately.