Yoga for Panic Attacks & Anxiety

Did you know that anxiety is considered to be the most common mental illness in the United States? Almost 20% of American adults live with fear. Panic disorder, a specific and severe form of anxiety, affects 6 million Americans. Not surprisingly, Yoga can help people who experience anxiety and panic attacks to decrease their symptoms and reclaim their lives.

You can create a Yoga Practice to suit your needs if you suffer from anxiety or panic disorders.

Start where you are

There are several different versions of Yoga Asana – the most popular mat-based yoga postures in the West. Hot Yoga, for example, is an athletic form of Yoga that’s practiced in heated spaces. Restorative Yoga is the opposite of Hot Yoga. In a one-hour class, students move through just five supported poses to achieve a deep state of relaxation.

Between these two styles, there are many others. Start by assessing your level of physical fitness. You can ask a yoga instructor for help or leave a comment below if you are unsure where to start. Stress will increase if you push yourself past your limits. Start where you are and respect your current position.

The Big Picture

Asana (postures) are just one part of the ancient science of Yoga. Breathing and meditation are also important aspects of Yoga. Both of these tools can help people who suffer from anxiety and panic.

Be open to experimenting with aspects other than the asana when you begin a yoga practice. Moving your body is great for health and well-being, but it’s only one part of the puzzle. Other areas of Yoga have brought me some of my most transformative moments.

Yoga philosophy includes the yamas, niyamas, and other principles. These guidelines can help you live a happy and fulfilling life. Ahimsa is the first yama, and it tells us not to harm ourselves or others. To learn more about the yogic philosophy, some people may want to begin their yoga practice with The Yoga Sutras.

Belly Breathing

Belly breathing is one of my favorite breathing techniques. You can learn to do it easily: close your eyes if you feel comfortable or gaze gently toward the ground. You can either be standing or seated.

Inhale with your nose, and you will feel your stomach fill up like a balloon. Exhale by the nose, allowing your belly to soften towards your spine. That’s it! You can repeat this for as few as a few breaths or up to twenty minutes. Always listen to your mind and body. You can do belly breathing anywhere. Even while standing in line.

Mindfully Meditate

I work with many people who have been told to meditate in order to improve their mental health. Meditation is amazing. Meditation is awesome. Close your eyes, and pay attention to your thoughts.

I often like to do a naming practice. Sort each thought into past, present, or future. If you’re anything like me, and when you meditate, you begin to think about your next meal, you can label that thought as “future.” By doing this, you will learn how to detach from the thought.

As you would with any physical activity, gradually increase your Meditation Practice each week by adding a minute or two.

Turn things upside down.

One of the ways I find relief from anxiety is by elevating my legs above my heart. There are many fancy inversions you can do. Please keep it simple by doing Legs up the Wall. This can be done on your bed.

Place your bottom on the Wall, and then lift your legs into the air. Rest them on the Wall to support you. You can bend your legs if having them straight makes you uncomfortable. This can happen when your hamstrings become tight.

You can also lay on your stomach on the floor near your bed and then swing your legs onto the bed. Your calves’ backs should rest on the bed. Put your left hand and right hand on the belly. Here, you can breathe.

Allow each exhale to soften your insides as you change the energy flow in your body. As if you were melting into your bed or the earth beneath you, imagine that your back was doing the same. Add in your belly breathing for an additional dose of relaxation.

Talk to your doctor or therapist about your plans if you plan to use Yoga to manage anxiety and pangs. Remember that consistency is the key. Plan your week so that you can try out these techniques and use them as needed.

Although I can guarantee that Yoga will improve your life, I cannot promise that it will happen instantly. As you embark on this journey, be patient and gentle.

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