Suffering from Anxiety? Yoga may be the best prescription for you.

Posted on Nov 4, 2013

Suffering from Anxiety?  Yoga may be the best prescription for you.

Everyone experiences stress and anxiety most are not content living like this for extened periods of time, so we search for ways to alleviate it from our lives.  Since the 70’s researchers have been studying stress-reduction techniques for their effectiveness in treating anxiety and depression and yoga was often overlooked until recently.

A 2012 survey by Sports Marketing Surveys USA for the Yoga Journal indicated that 20.4 million people in the US, practice yoga.  According to the study the top five reasons for starting yoga were: flexibility (78.3 percent), general conditioning (62.2 percent), stress relief (59.6 percent), improve overall health (58.5 percent) and physical fitness (55.1 percent).

Yoga works on anxiety much like other self-soothing techniques such as meditation, relaxation, exercise or socializing with friends by easing stress response systems in the body and by decreasing the arousal brought on by the source.  In addition the practice of yoga will increase the heart rate variability which increases how well the body can deal with stressful situations.

The practice of Asana’s (Yoga positions) is a very powerful technique for burning up that nervous energy many with anxiety are challenged with.  In addition the practice of Pranayama (regulated breathing techniques) throughout the asanas provides a complete foundation to address stress and anxiety.

Yoga can put you in touch with your inner strength when facing stressful times.  When one combines these yoga techniques with the daily practice of focused relaxation and mediation as simple as deep breathing exercises combined with contracting your muscles for 10 minutes can provide you a new sense of feeling resolved and grounded.

So let’s get started, learning yoga from a book or video is an attractive lure for many looking to begin their yoga practice however nothing can be more helpful in your early experience than some individualized instruction and talking to a qualified instructor about your goals from yoga.

Everyone comes to their yoga practice with different flexibility levels for any number of reasons and selecting an instructor who will modify poses based on these limitations is a very important step for finding an enjoyable yoga experience.

Here are some questions you should ask yourself as well as any potential yoga instructor:

What do you expect from a class? (Make sure you understand the focus of the class matches what you need from a class)

Is this a beginner’s level class?  Like anything we wish to learn, beginning your yoga practice will provide a learning curve through accomplishing the poses and terminology (Sanskrit) used to describe  them.

What are the instructor’s credentials?  The Yoga Alliance is the nationally recognized organization which certifies yoga instructors awarding those who have completed the requisite training and agree to continue their own education in yoga with an RYT designation.

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