Anxiety is a common condition in this world as it is today, so it is important to find a form of exercise that calms your body and allows your mind to recuperate. Luckily, practising yoga is one of the best ways to reduce stress and anxiety because it requires complete attention and focus on performing each pose. Many of the asanas we perform are aimed at helping with anxiety. During yoga, breathing becomes increasingly important as you get deeper into a pose. According to a study at the St. Elisabeth’s Medical centre in Brighton, MA yoga is one of the best non-medicinal ways to eliminate stress and anxiety. According to the report, 25 out of 35 trials focusing on the effects of yoga on stress reported a reduction in stress when practising yoga (1).
Here are the top 5 reasons why yoga is great for reducing anxiety.
Take Time for Yourself
Despite yoga often being practised in a class with others, yoga is much more about connecting with yourself than with those around you. During your yoga, your body is only limited by your mind and your imagination. Even an hour of yoga each day allows you an opportunity to leave the stresses of your busy life. You won’t have to answer phones, talk with customers or deal with any other issues that are causing you stress. Instead, practising yoga allows you to escape into a different world where you can forget the problems outside the studio’s walls and focus on being in the moment.
Clear your Mind
From planning a dinner to driving a child to an after school activity to finishing a project at work, being busy can be both stressful and challenging. As the day progresses, our minds begin to become cramped with all the things we have yet to accomplish. Often, this causes us to become stressed and to lash out in unhelpful ways. Practising yoga reduces anxiety because it allows you to clear your mind by pushing away negative or stressful thoughts and focusing on your breath. Yoga is as much physical as it is mental exercise.
Have you ever had so many thoughts running through your head that it is almost impossible to get any work done? I think we’ve all been there before and the best solution is to grab your yoga mat and work these issues out at the studio. Not only does yoga allow your mind to rest, but also it releases more blood and oxygen to the brain giving you the energy necessary to solve even the most complicated of problems.
1. Aw, Li; “The Effects of Yoga on Anxiety and Stress,” St Elisabeth’s Medical centre, March, 17 2012.