Did you know that yoga is wonderful for anxiety?
Yoga has a beautiful relationship with breathing. Which is extremely important when it comes to mental health and specifically addressing anxiety.
Just about every movement in yoga incorporates breathing to a certain extent. When a person experiences difficulty connected to their mental health, their breathing is often a key area of concern.
Think about the last time you experienced anxiety.
Some people notice that they can’t breathe at a normal rate. Others share that they experience muscle tension.
As a clinician and fitness enthusiast (this is Juan Santos), I love encouraging my clients or those willing to listen to add yoga to their lifestyle. Here are key reasons why yoga helps to reduce and address anxiety.
When you experience anxiety, what comes to mind?
The Diagnostic and Statical Manual of Mental Disorders coins anxiety disorder with the symptoms below:
- Problems focusing and concentrating
- Difficult making decisions
- Problems sleeping
- Irregular changes in appetite
- Feeling worried more days than not
- Problems controlling the worry
- Fear of something bad happening
Benefits of practicing yoga include:
- Reduction in stress.
- Improvement in pain, such as back or neck pain.
- Understanding and managing pain.
- Ability to connect to a community. Such as joining a yoga club in your area or online as a way to connect with a supportive community.
- Improvement in circulation.
- Reduction in risk to injury.
- Improvement in muscle tone, strength, and flexibility.
Let me ask you a question.
Would you agree that just about everyone experiences stress in life?
Stress is connected to anxiety.
Stress from family conflict or from the typical struggle to establish work and life balance. When a person feels stressed their body and mind react.
Think about what stress does to you?
- Do you feel overwhelmed when stressed?
- Do you struggle to sleep when stress is out of control?
When a person experiences stress, they begin to experience irregular breathing that leads to poor circulation. They feel the tension in the body. The tension leads to headaches. Sleep becomes irregular. And before you know it, life becomes a little more difficult.
Adding yoga to your lifestyle creates a powerful transformational change.
Yoga and breathing.
Yoga teaches people to understand how to breathe in a manner that regulates heart rate and improves blood pressure. This right away helps us when we feel stressed. Consider a week that you are struggling with work and life balance. You feel on edge, overly worked, and at times agitated because you are not able to do the fun things that you want to do.
The struggle with work and life balance builds stress. To address stress, a person can engage in yoga prior to work and right before getting home from work. The yoga session can focus on breathing and slowing down. For 5 minutes the person can engage in a wide-leg child’s pose.
This posture starts by coming down on all fours. Next allow your hips to sit back as you spread your knees to a comfortable wide position. Your hands extend forward, your forehead rests on the floor, and the belly sits close to the floor.
For 5 minutes you breathe and allow your mind to focus on the breathing. In and out. When the mind wanders, simply pull it back to focus on breathing. It’s completely okay for it to wander. At the end of the day, that’s what it’s supposed to do. Wander. Just like the legs are supposed to walk.
This activity beautifully reduces stress and clears the mind. Too often people race through life or tell themselves that tomorrow they will get better. Instead, give yourself 5 minutes twice a day to practice this method as a way to improve your mental health.
Mind and Body Relationship.
Yoga teaches people how to build a stronger relationship with their bodies. It’s vital to build a connection between mind and body. For instance, the simple cat and cow pose takes place with the person on all fours. They then stretch just like a cat would. The back spikes up for the cat and it drops down into a bend for the cow. During this process, the person is inhaling and exhaling. They are focused while moving to identify how their body feels.
During the process, you are able to reflect on the pain or overall feel in your body. In addition, you can notice how your mind wanders. During the yoga posture, you’ll notice if your mind is at ease or if it is pulled towards stress in life. The goal is simple. To slow down. To give yourself space to heal, grow, and create transformation.
If you are struggling with mental health challenges in your life, consider yoga. Treat it like a subscription. Just like as if you are subscribing to HBO Max for a period of time to see if you want to keep it around. For 30 days add yoga to your life.
I hope that as you start yoga you’ll notice the beautiful benefits of it: