We all encounter several moments in life that leave us worried, stressed, and anxious. At times we are so anxious that we are unable to think. Our thoughts become distorted and we feel numb. Some people treat anxiety with overeating, medications, that leads to other addictions. Though they may work for some people temporarily, they do not relieve the underlying causes. What’s needed is a permanent, safe, and healthy solution for long-term results.
Of course, regular yoga practice incorporating right techniques of performing yoga postures, breathing exercises and meditation effectively alleviates anxiety. The practice of gentle yoga asanas stills the mind, allows you to concentrate on your inner voice rather than the external noises, keeps you in the current moment without making you feel rushed and brings you a sense of calmness.
Here is a list of six yoga postures that are highly helpful in easing anxiety. Learn, understand, and practice for a happy life:
1. Cat-Cow Stretch (Marjaryasana-Bitilasana): Kneel on the floor. Set the knees directly under the hips and wrists under the shoulders. Spread your fingers on the yoga mat. Keep your shins and knees hip-width apart. Draw your belly out, lift your hips, chest, and chin up, and gaze up towards the sky (Cow Pose). Exhale, pull your stomach in, round your spine, and drop your head towards the floor (Cat Pose). Inhale, come into a cow pose, exhale and return to a cat pose. Repeat the movement 5-20 times. A relaxing yoga asana which when practiced in synchronization with the breath fosters stability in the mind, releases tension from the body, and activates the swadhisthana chakra.
2. Big Toe Pose (Padangusthasana): Begin in mountain pose. Spread the feet 5-6 inches apart. Keeping the legs straight. Exhale and bend downward from the hips. Reach down with the hands and slide the index and middle finger of each hand between the toes and the adjacent finger. Make sure the grip is strong. Keep the forehead relaxed. Hold this pose for 30 seconds or more. This yoga asana deeply stretches the hamstrings, legs, and ankles. It also improves balance and develops greater focus.
3. Camel Pose (Ustrasana): Come on your fours. Spread your knees wider than your hips. Rotate your thighs inwards and keep the feet on top of the yoga mat. Place your hands on the pelvis. Elongate your spine toward the floor and widen the back of your pelvic bone. Lean back, bring your chin close to your chest and grab the heels with your hands. Keep your thighs vertical to the ground. Remain in this pose for 30-60 seconds. A heart opening yoga posture that results in robust health, calm mind, and emotional stability.
4. Standing Forward Fold Pose (Uttanasana): Stand straight on a yoga mat either with your feet together or hip-distance apart. Keep your spine erect as you breathe in and raise your arms up overhead. Exhale; hinge from the hips as you bend forward reaching down to the ground. Place your palms on the backside of the calves. Keep your eyes closed and breathe deeply. Stay in this pose anywhere between 20-30 seconds. A beneficial yoga pose that releases anxiety and fills with energy and exuberance.
5. Seated Forward Fold Pose (Paschimottanasana): Sit tall on a yoga mat. Stretch your legs out and place your hands on the floor. Adjust your hips to make a direct contact with the floor. With inhalation, stretch your arms up toward the ceiling and with exhalation fold forward. Keep your spine upright and go as far as possible. Rest your head, chest, and chin over the thighs. You can keep your toes flexed. Hold this posture for 30 seconds. Seated forward fold pose is highly therapeutic for mild depression and headaches. It soothes fatigue and anxiety.
6. Staff Pose (Dandasana): Sit on the ground with a straight back. Keep your legs together and place the palms close to the hips. Keep the torso perpendicular to the floor. Firmly press the thighs against the mat and flex your ankles towards you. Keep breathing and hold this pose for no less than 60 seconds. A wonderful pose that relaxes the brain, creates body awareness and improves physical health.
Don’t fill up your mind with the fear that anxiety is for forever. Practice these wonderful yoga poses for anxiety to clear and calm the mind and relax the body from within.