Modern day life is filled with stressors and escalating pressures that take on a life of their own. We often feel fear that we are not going to be able to manage, that we won’t make those too-tight deadlines or that the all-important job interview will go horribly wrong. Nervousness and feelings of tension or fear are to be expected at times, but sometimes fear can get a stranglehold on us and a nagging, life-changing anxiety disorder can start to take over.
If you are starting to feel stressed out and worried about every little thing, don’t, because yoga has the tools to help combat such disorders and to help you to let go and to relax again. You may feel powerless against all that life throws at you. But you can take back the power, but in a gentle, but firm way.
Yoga gives you a way of being positive again within your own body, because it serves to balance the mind, body and spirit in a harmonious way and yoga breathing can be greatly soothing and perfect for helping you to gain control if a panic attack threatens to strike. While I would always recommend seeking medical advice for a correct diagnosis, regular yoga sessions will only promote feelings of well-being, so start straight away.
Yoga has healing powers, it is so beneficial that by studying and utilising the whole process which includes asana (postures) pranaymas (breathing techniques) and meditation all wrapped up in a wonderful yogic philosophy, you are guaranteed to feel a million times better and more at peace in your life.
Asanas help you to focus on the movement and to ease the daily stresses from your mind. Some postures are highly recommended to help combat anxieties including:
Bow Pose (Dhanurasana)
This posture is wonderful for all respiratory problems and constipation too because it massages the digestive system. But there are many benefits including being able to ease the aches and pains of a mild backache, to ease feelings of fatigue or menstrual pains and, importantly, to help combat feelings of anxiety. It’s important to focus on the move from start to finish and use your breathing to help achieve the maximum benefits. Stay in the maximum stretch for 20-30 seconds.
Standing Forward Bend (Hastapadasana)
The standing forward bend is a lovely counteractive posture for use following the Bow pose and it also helps to calm the mind, ease anxieties and improves circulation to the brain. Other benefits include a gentle massage to the internal digestive organs and a wonderful elongating stretch to the hamstrings.
Cat Stretch (Marjariasana)
This is such a calming pose that it can be practiced at any time throughout the day if you feel tension creeping into your spine or neck. Find a quiet spot where you can be sure not to be disturbed and try to emulate the smooth stretching movements of a cat. Be sure to completely relax the neck in the downward movement so as to let go of any tension and utilise the breath. Other benefits include a massaging effect to the digestive tract.
Breath of the Bumble Bee (Bhramari pranayama)
This is a lovely breathing technique to practice while sitting in the lotus posture, cross-legged or even on a chair. In fact, anywhere, providing you can sit comfortably with your spine erect. It’s important to practice the technique focusing on that gentle vibration that occurs in the forehead and brain. This really helps to alleviate tension, stress or pressure in the head but it’s great to help reduce anxieties and anger. Do not practice this breathing technique if you have heart disease or an ear infection.
Always finish off your session in the corpse pose and mentally work your way through your body seeking out areas of tension. Use the exhalation to help release tension and feel your body sinking into the floor. Try out various mediations to help boost healing or to reduce your stress or anxiety levels.
There are many wonderful postures to help you to achieve control over your anxieties and it’s good to try out different sequences and postures to find ones that suit you the most. The most important thing is for you to be mindful of each position and to relax the mind and body as you go into the hold. Just enjoy the feelings as you develop your sessions and you will start to feel so much happier and relaxed within yourself.