Yoga For Anxiety

Yoga for Anxiety by Michael Fry

Anxiety can be crippling. In the West we seem to embrace the idea of identifying with our bodies, our material success and how we are seen by others.  Our growing dependence on social media as another ‘part’ of our identity has opened us up to personalized comments, some praises and some attacks, all internalized.  Workplace performance and productivity and the need to satisfy the ‘boss’ has become a barometer of ‘self-satisfaction’.  In short, we have become our ‘outer selves’ at the expense of our ‘inner selves’.  When our outer lives or circumstances do not meet our expectations, often times because we, in some way, have not met the expectations of others, we feel afraid, nervous or anxious.

Some people self-medicate with alcohol or drugs, or even binge eating on comfort foods which may lead to other addictive behaviors and poor health. These are temporary solutions to the symptoms of anxiety but not the root cause.

How can a regular yoga practice lead to a reduction in anxiety?

Yoga involves deep breathing (pranayama), focusing on postures and quieting the mind. Yoga is for us to use for our liberation. The aim of our practice is to allow our innate, even if latent, inner peace to calm us, keep us in the moment and not feeling rushed or in competition with others or ourselves. When the mind becomes quiet, space is created within the inner body. This space allows for pent up anger, resentment, fears and frustrations to ‘move’. 

Inner emotional movement, generated through yoga, begins to create a pathway for transmutation of energies from ‘unwanted’ to ‘wanted or from ‘negative’ to ‘positive’ of ‘un-preferred’ feelings to ‘preferred’.  Specific emotions will come up,  and these are usually attached to specific ‘problems’, memories or future desires within the mind.  Allow them all to pass without ‘judgement’ or ‘attachment’, without labeling anything as bad or good, right or wrong.  Simply allow the postures, breathing and asanas to do whatever they will, trusting that at the end of the practice, there will have been a palpable transformation within the inner body. Let go and release all that leaves and receive all of the gifts, moment to moment, of your practice.  After savasana (corpse pose), simply allow the inner space created during practice to flow with you into your day or night. Let go of the baggage that generates anxiety in order to receive the benefits of spaciousness both inside and out.

6. Poses For Anxiety

1.Standing Mountain Pose (Tadasana)

2.Tree Pose (Vrksasana)

3.Cat and Cow with Lion's Breath

4.Child's Pose (Balasana)

5.Yogic Squat (Malasana)

6.Happy Baby(Balasana)






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