Yoga Practices for Anxiety

I think everyone at some point in their life feels stress or anxiety, sometimes it can be just a slight uneasiness and sometimes if can be completely overwhelming. I thought I’d share a few of my favourite practices for helping to reduce these feelings and manage my anxiety.

 

Breathing

Obviously, we breathe all day everyday but I mean focussed, conscious breathing. A couple things about this help me: counting the breath can help focus my mind and clear thoughts and exhaling longer than the inhale calms the nervous system.

A simple technique: breathe in for 4, hold for 4, breath out for 8

Another simple technique: full breath in through the nose, full exhale through the mouth with a sigh. Repeat 3 times.

Nadi shodhana (alternate nostril breathing): with your right hand bring your first and middle finger tips to rest between your eyebrows. Use your thumb to close your right nostril. Inhale through the left nostril. Close the left nostril with your ring finger, hold the breath for a moment. Release your thumb and breathe out through your right nostril. Pause for a moment. Inhale through the right nostril. Close the right nostril with your thumb, hold the breath for a moment. Release your ring finger and breathe out of the left nostril. Pause for a moment. Repeat this cycle as many times as you desire ending with an exhale on the left side.

Full yogic breathing: long full breath in to the chest, then the ribs, then the stomach. Exhale from the belly, then the ribs and then the chest.

 

Inverting

This doesn’t have to be a headstand or handstand. Just simply bringing your legs up against a wall is one of my favourite things to do to help calm my mind and body. Bringing your feet above your heart and head allows the blood to flow around the body with less pressure giving the heart a bit of a break. It also encourages lymphatic drainage helping the body’s immunity. If you want to find out more about the benefits of inversions check out this blog.

 

Journaling

Writing for me, is one of my favourite ways to process thoughts and calm my mind. For me, I feel like I declutter my mind by putting everything onto paper instead. By writing down, acknowledging and processing thoughts I can stop them cycling round and round in my mind. If you don’t know where to start ask yourself 3 things: how am I feeling physically, how am I feeling mentally and how am I feeling emotionally. Then write.

 

Meditating

This can be hardest to do when you’re feeling anxious or stressed but it really does help. Using an app like headspace or calm to follow a guided meditation can really help to focus your mind and provide some quiet.

 

Give these a try and see how they work for you. I’d love to hear anything you do that I haven’t mentioned – let’s help each other out!!

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