Tackle Anxiety With This Yoga Flow
Yoga has many benefits, and one that can really help us during the pandemic is that it can help calm frazzled nerves.
Since there are different types of yoga, some styles are better for calming anxiety than others. The slow pace of restorative yoga and hatha yoga makes both styles a great choice for tackling anxiety.
There’s no reason to feel bad about having anxiety. Our minds have been coping with a lot, and we are all adapting to a rapidly changing world.
We have curated an easy and brief yoga flow for anxiety that will help you manage your mood without having to leave the house. Even if you don’t necessarily feel anxious, you may be surprised just how good it makes you feel!
You may want to consult with your physician if you have any underlining health conditions or are pregnant before practicing.
How Does Yoga Lower Anxiety?
Research has shown that yoga actually helps turn off the fight or flight response in the body.
Here are some direct ways yoga helps lower your anxiety.
- Forward bends help activate the “rest and relax” response in the nervous system.
- The breathing technique called ujjayi breathing slows the heart rate to allow you to feel calm.
- The sound of the ujjayi breath calms the inner ear creating a peaceful response in the body.
- The body gets higher levels of oxygen, which helps the body relax instead of feeling panicked.
- Certain poses help target tension in your body to relax strained areas and reduce tightness in the fascia surrounding the muscles.
Remember, you are not alone. Make sure to read: How I’m Living With Anxiety During a World Pandemic
Simple Yoga Flow to Tackle Anxiety
1. Butterfly Pose
- Start in a seated position and bring your feet soles together with your feet away from you and your knees wide.
- Lean forward, letting your head hang and lengthen the spine.
- Slide your arms under the backs of your knees with your palms up.
- Stay in the pose for five slow deep breaths in and out of your nose, relaxing your hips, back, and stomach with each exhale.
2. Reclined Butterfly Pose
- Return to seated and keep the soles of your feet together as you lay back onto the floor.
- Place one hand on your belly and one hand on your heart and breathe slowly and deeply five times in and out of your nose.
- Focus on relaxing and letting the ground support the weight of your body as you deepen each breath.
- Bring your hands to the outsides of your knees when you’re done and close your knees like a book.
- Hug them into your chest and then roll to your right side and press up to seated.
3. Child’s Pose
- Gently and mindfully swing your feet behind you and come to sitting on your heels.
- Separate your knees slightly wider than your hips and walk your hands forward until your forehead rests on the ground.
- Keep your arms stretched forward as you take five slow deep breaths in and out of your nose, allowing the spine and hips to relax.
- Slowly walk your hands back, bringing yourself up to seated.
Read this article next: 5 Things to Avoid if You Struggle in a Yoga Class
4. Supine Twist
- Slowly bring your feet out in front of you and lay onto your back.
- Hug your right knee into your chest and keep the left leg straight on the ground.
- Bring your right knee across your body, resting it on the floor, so your body is now on your left hip.
- Bring your arms out to the sides and look over your right shoulder to help twist the torso.
- Relax into the pose as you take five slow and deep breaths in and out of the nose and then return to center and repeat the same thing with the left leg to even yourself out.
5. Seated Forward Fold
- Hug your knees to your chest and rock up to seated.
- Straighten your legs out in front of you with them zipped together but relaxed.
- Keep your spine straight as you lean forward, and then allow the spine to curve over your knees.
- Relax the back of the neck, so the weight of the head helps lengthen the spine.
- Take five deep breaths relaxing deeper as you release tension in the shoulders with each exhale.
- Then on an inhale, slowly come back up to seated.
6. Legs up the Wall
Your final pose will be held longer to help recover your energy, similar to getting a good night’s rest!
- Sit sideways next to a wall and lay back as you bring your legs up and angle your body to be perpendicular to the wall.
- Bring your arms out to the sides with palms facing up and tuck the chin slightly to lengthen the back of the neck.
- Relax your face, stomach, back, and arms as you melt into the pose breathing normally for seven minutes.
- When done, wiggle your toes and fingers as you take some deep breaths to return to your body.
- Hug your knees to your chest and slowly roll to one side, pausing to breathe before gently coming back to a seated position.
Extra Tips for Lowering Anxiety
If yoga isn’t quite your thing, using a mantra to help you stay calm can be a great way to lower anxiety. Alternate nostril breathing also activates the “rest and relax” response in the nervous system.
Taking your practice off your mat and being present with your body as you transition through your day can help keep anxiety down. Bring your mind back to your body and check-in with your breathing to get more control over how you feel.
Yogis are good at keeping things simple to stay calm, and you can be too!
Focus on getting enough rest, drinking water, and breathing deeply to maintain a state of peace throughout your day. You got this!
Using guided meditation is another way to manage anxiety: Guided Meditation to Lower Anxiety & Raise Happiness