Yoga Therapy for Anxiety

Anxiety is a common state for all human beings. It is normal to experience anxiety during life as it helps us to mobilize our energy so that we can act in the world. Unfortunately, most of us experience anxiety too often or too intensely and it becomes painful and debilitating. This leads to breathlessness, inability to sleep, trouble concentrating and it limits our relationships with others. In extreme forms we experience panic attacks and feel overwhelmed and out of control.

Yoga offers an excellent system of practices which can help us cope with anxiety, because it trains the body to relax and teaches the body and the mind to better manage stress. Once the stress response is activated by the body it must run its course and even if we are conscious of what is happening and mentally sound, the experience of increased heart-rate and edginess will not be averted by even the most rational mind. This is because our system is intrinsically structured to release hormones into our system to make fight or flight possible for survival and, once in motion, this mechanism will have physiological consequences. However, through specific breathing practices combined with movement we can learn to relax the trigger response and bring the nervous system back into balance, so that the stress response does not have an opportunity to take over and completely flood the system. Furthermore these practices help to speed up the process of restoring calm to an activated nervous system.

By using a combination of breathwork, yoga postures and mindfulness, Yoga for the Mind meets both the psychological and physiological aspects of transforming anxiety and teaches students how to effectively calm the mind through the body. This is much easier than trying to do self-talk, which cannot meet the physiological aspects of anxiety such as heart palpations, rapid breathing, sweating, and deep limbic brain activation.

Within the Yoga for the Mind model students also learn how to create focus, watch the mind and let go of unhelpful and destructive thoughts and feelings through the practice of mindfulness.

 For more information about emotional stress and the nervous system click here

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