Anxiety is a problem that we all experience at some point in our lives for one reason or another. Whether it’s your financial stresses causing you concern or you experience a degree of social anxiety in certain situations, it can cause much bigger problems for you to deal with. When anxiety sets in, it can disrupt no end of things – your sleeping pattern, your diet, even the way you communicate with others as you are put on edge.
Overcoming anxiety can be complex and of course varies depending on the reasons for it and the severity of it. There are some fantastic herbal remedies that can help to alleviate the symptoms but, as with most things, prevention is always better than the cure. Yoga can be such an effective weapon against anxiety that it’s surprising that it is not prescribed long before the doctor reaches for the pills.
First of all, yoga is an amazing form of exercise and it releases those all important endorphins. It’s a fact, doing exercise makes us feel good about ourselves – if not during than at least afterwards. This sense of accomplishment after a session is as great for our self esteem as it is for our bodies. The key is to start slow. Learn the basic poses and move from a beginner class to a more advanced session at your own pace. You’ll more than likely surprise yourself at how well you’re progressing and this of course is great for your self esteem also.
There are certain yoga positions that are more beneficial for defeating anxiety than others. The most important poses to focus on are restorative poses. These are positions of rest in which you have time to focus on your breathing and clear your thoughts. Done for an extended period of time, restorative yoga poses can feel similar to meditation. The Child’s pose for example, which involves kneeling down with your head bent forward and your arms stretched to reach ahead of yourself on the floor, helps to release tension in the shoulders and neck. When people experience anxiety, a lot of tension tends to build up in these areas so it is important to regularly release it.
The Legs up the Wall pose is another restorative pose that will induce feelings of relaxation. It is also useful for alleviating lower back pain and of course, releasing anxiety from the body. As the name suggests, you simply lie flat on your back with your legs up the wall – you can insert a pillow under your hips for comfort if you prefer. You can hold this pose for as long as you like; it shouldn’t become uncomfortable and you will find it a great way to relax as feelings of anxiety leave your body. This is a good one to do right before bed if you find that your anxiety is preventing you from sleeping restfully.
Remember, these are great poses to begin with but there’s a world of yoga out there in which you can learn many more helpful poses. Don’t limit yourself and you’ll soon be amazed at how much lighter life feels.