Yoga for Anxiety Disorder: How it Works and 6 Asanas to Try

Over the years, millions of people have turned to yoga for anxiety disorder or when such depressive feelings have crept in. As per several medical reports and surveys, more than 30% of adults at some point in their lives have suffered from anxiety or other mental illnesses. However, doing certain yoga poses even for just a few minutes every day can have a major positive impact. And with time, you may find that with total focus on your breathing and by being present in the correct pose, all the negative thoughts or emotions have already gone quiet. 

Through this article, we will be learning more about questions such as ‘Does yoga help anxiety disorder?’ If so, then which yoga is best for anxiety disorder? How does it work and which yoga poses you must try? 

How It Works: Yoga for Anxiety Disorder

Mental illnesses such as anxiety disorders generally affect our nervous systems while also creating concerns for other physiological functions such as our heart rate, digestion, etc. People living with chronic anxiety disorders are known to have weaker sympathetic nervous systems. In such cases, the body and mind create a heightened reaction to any perceived threat which leads to anxious actions like stress, agitation, heart palpitations or panic attacks. 

To overcome such challenges, it’s important to stimulate our vagus nerve which is a key part of the body’s rest-and-digest system. Yoga poses such as Dhanurasana, Bal Asana, Paschimottan, Halasana and Nadi Shodhan Pranayam are known for stimulating the vagus nerve. 

6 Asanas in Yoga for Anxiety Relief

Most yoga poses or asanas are generally arranged in an order or sequence allowing you to transition from one post to another. However, you can find the poses that you may enjoy more than the others and try arranging them in a sequence as per your comfort. For now, let’s have a detailed look at such asanas in yoga for anxiety disorder: 

Dhanurasana (Bow Pose)

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Generally considered a bit challenging pose, Dhanurasana is another helpful pose in yoga for anxiety disorder. However, since it requires quite a bit of balancing abilities, it’s recommended to get accustomed to much simpler poses. Some benefits of this yoga for anxiety disorder are: 

  • Stretches the abdominal muscles and improves the digestion process. 
  • Facilitates better breathing by releasing any tension in the chest. 
  • Alleviates neck strain and improves strength in other parts like ankles, thighs and chest.

Balasana (Child’s Pose)

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Balasana, also known as Child’s Pose is another that’s considered the best yoga for anxiety. To improve your sleep cycle and also relax your mind, Balasana is one of the most helpful techniques. Moreover, it also helps a great deal to stretch the spine, massage the abdominal organs and relax our minds. A few benefits of this yoga for anxiety disorder are: 

  • Alleviate stress and feelings of anxiety. 
  • Releases any tension in the chest and spine. 
  • Makes your internal organs more active and flexible. 
  • Helps with lowering blood pressure too. 

Paschimottan Asana (Seated Forward Bend)

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Given the growing physical and mental pressure in modern-day workplaces, Pachimottan Asana is a significant pose in yoga for anxiety disorder. Despite being a challenging technique, the benefits of this seated posture are quite a lot. However, if you’re still a beginner then try practising it for a shorter duration only. A few more benefits of this yoga for anxiety disorder are mentioned below: 

  • Stimulates the vagus nerve and calms the entire nervous system. 
  • Boosts the metabolism of internal organs. 
  • Improves sleep patterns by stimulating blood flow through the entire body. 

Matsyasana (Fish Pose)

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A simple yet quite effective asana, Matsyasana is known to have several physical as well as mental benefits in yoga for anxiety disorder. Apart from its easy steps, this asana is also perfect for stretching your muscles while also improving your mental well-being. Although, we recommend doing this pose earlier in the morning on an empty stomach for better results. 

  • Releases the tension accumulated in the neck and chest area. 
  • Strengthens the spinal column and abdominal muscles. 
  • Relieves stress by stimulating the entire nervous system. 
  • Also helps in enhancing your breathing and improving your posture. 

Halasana (Plough Pose)

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While stretching and toning your spine as well as your back muscles, Halasana is a classic technique used in yoga for anxiety disorder. In addition, since this pose is an inversion, it also boosts your circulation and lowers blood sugar. Keep in mind that such inversion poses are usually done at the end of your yoga session. 

  • Relaxes the entire nervous system including the vagus nerve. 
  • Improves flexibility and mobility of joints. 
  • Strengthens back and abdominal muscles. 
  • Also helps in diabetes management by lowering blood sugar levels. 

Nadi Shodhan Pranayam (Nostril Breathing)

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One of the easiest poses, Nadi Shodhan Pranayam is arguably the best yoga for anxiety and depression as well. Moreover, it’s the perfect way to bring focus to your brain and start preparing yourself. While doing this pose make sure you’re sitting cross-legged on the floor with a straight back. Some key benefits of this yoga for anxiety disorder are: 

  • Stimulates the vagus nerve. 
  • De-stresses the body while also helping you with better focusing. 
  • Balances the activities of Nadis. 
  • Reduces issues related to our respiratory and circulatory systems. 

Bhramari Pranayama Pranayam (Humming Bee Breathing)

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Deriving its name from the Indian black bee called Bhramari, this yoga will help you to get rid of agitation, nervousness and restlessness. While practising this yoga, you will produce a sound that sounds similar to the humming of a bee. Some of the major benefits of this yoga are the following:

  • Provides instant calmness.
  • Offers relief from migraines and headaches.
  • Reduces blood pressure.
  • Improves concentration and memory.

The Bottom Line

In today’s world, anxiety and other mental illnesses are undoubtedly a life-long concern. However, doing yoga within a comfortable and safe space can resolve your anxiety issues and also bring positive feelings to your mind. Some poses in yoga for anxiety disorder like Nadi Shodhan Pranayam are known for their significant impacts on our mental well-being. 

In addition, doing such poses in yoga for anxiety disorder can also be seen as a healthy coping mechanism with zero drawbacks. But, make sure to do these asanas in the correct sequence and do not hesitate to seek guidance from a trained professional or yoga instructor. And if you’re ready to rejuvenate your mind and eliminate all possible mental challenges, sign up for our yoga classes today!

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