Yoga for Anxiety and Panic Attacks

Anyone who has suffered from anxiety or panic disorders knows how debilitating these conditions can be. Anxiety can make you feel as if you are suffocating.

As your heart rate increases and your breathing becomes labored and short, panic attacks can seem to overtake your ability to breathe. It’s not fun, and it’s not good for your health.

Yoga Can Help

Yoga focuses on breathing control and brings you into the moment. Yoga teaches you how to live in the present moment and not worry about the future.

Yoga also teaches acceptance and surrender, which are two key factors that keep stress levels down and anxiety and panic attacks at bay. This is a simple, straightforward yoga sequence that you can use whenever you feel anxiety creeping in.

Sukhasana (Easy Pose)

Sitting in this simple position creates the foundation for an internal reflection. It also helps to silence the mind, and focus on the breath.

Start by sitting in a comfortable cross-legged posture. If you experience pressure or tightness around the hips, raise your seat on a cushion, block or blanket. Your hips should be raised above your knees, so your legs’ weight can fall to the ground.

Soften your shoulders away from your ears and lengthen your spine by reaching through your crown. Close your eyes, and focus your attention inward. Allowing thoughts to pass slowly through your mind without stopping or dwelling on them will help you clear it.

Slow down your breathing to get full, deep, and long inhales.

Nadhi Shodhana (Alternate Nostril Breath)

This practice balances the left brain and right brain, as well as the left-right energy centers in the body. This breathing technique is soothing and calms the nerves. It can also help soothe anxiety.

Draw your right hand towards your face from your Sukhasana and rest your thumb gently on your right nostril. Place your middle and first finger on your third eye center, the space between your eyebrows. Rest your ring fingers gently onto your left nose.

Here you can find out more about Alternate Nastral Breathing, and watch the video with step-by-step instructions .

Alternate nostril breathing can be continued for as long as desired to reduce your pace and focus your mind. To maintain balance, make sure you finish with an exhale from the left nostril.

Supta Badha Konasana

Opening the hips is a great way to release both physical and mental tension. Reclined Angle is a passive, restorative and simple way to achieve this.

Draw your soles together and lie flat on your back. Your knees will open wide to the sides of the mat. If you want a deeper opening you can either slide your heels closer to your groin or keep your feet in the same position.

You can make this stretch more relaxing by placing pillows or blankets under your knees. This will allow you to relax your muscles and let go of your control.

Close your eyes and rest your hands anywhere that feels comfortable. Melt into the floor and hold for as long as desired.

Twist your recliner

Twists are a great way to release and drain energy from the body, both literally and metaphorically. Twisting is a great way to release stress, anxiety or unhealthy thoughts which can lead to panic attacks.

Extend your legs out in front so that you are flat on your back. Hold your left hand and hug your right knee toward your chest.

Exhale and relax the knee to the left. Keep your shoulders firmly planted on the floor to ensure that the twist occurs deep in your abdomen. You can deepen your breathing and soften the pose by letting it go.

Allow yourself to mentally “wring out”, or remove, anything that is no longer serving you. Switch to the other leg when you are ready.

Savasana (Corpse Pose)

Savasana, the ultimate relaxation pose, is a great way to reduce anxiety.

In the Reclining Twist, you will extend your legs in front of your body with your feet slightly wider than hip width. Allow your heels to turn and your toes turn out. Your palms should be facing upwards as you release your arms at your sides.

Relax your breath, close your eyes and let the weight of your entire body fall into Mother Earth’s lap. Close your eyes and relax your breathing. Try to focus on the present moment, without thinking about the future or the past.

Be here, right now. Relax your mind and body by settling into this meditative position. Let your anxiety slowly fade away.

You may feel as if anxiety and panic attacks are taking over all of your thoughts, breaths and life. Yoga can help you combat these conditions with the right care.

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