Yoga for anxiety
3 poses to ease your anxiety during these troublesome times. By Sarah Highfield
We are not even halfway through the year yet, but it would be fair to say that 2020 has challenged all of us in ways we could never have imagined. With the onset of COVID-19, the shift in the way the world works has been rapid and frightening, to say the least, and we are all adjusting to a new ‘normal’. For many people, the uncertainty surrounding coronavirus is one of the hardest things to handle, and because of this, increased stress and anxiety is only natural.
There are many techniques to help manage anxiety, and yoga, according to a March 2020 health guideline on ‘Coping with Coronavirus Anxiety’ published by Harvard Medical School, is a tried and true way to relax.
According to Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras, yoga is defined as: ‘Chitta Vritti Nirodha’. In other words, ‘Yoga is the cessation of the fluctuations of the mind’, which is exactly what we need from time to time. Yoga comprises mindfulness, deep breathing and focusing the mind, which are all deeply effective at helping you to be calm and centre yourself when you feel overwhelmed. With just a few simple poses, which will only take a few minutes out of your day, you can support your nervous system to handle stress, increase your resilience, let go of the things you cannot control and restore a sense inner peace.
Yoga for anxiety - three poses I turn to when I feel anxious:
Reverse Warrior Pose (Viparita Virabhadrasana)
I feel strong when I do this pose, it is such a powerful pose and really does lift my spirits. Reverse Warrior Pose supports an active and functional nervous system by stretching the spine and the chest, and freeing up both physical and emotional blockages. By lifting the chest and the heart, this asana helps to boost self-esteem and perseverance.
Our mind and body are interconnected, by increasing the flexibility in your spine and relieving the tension in your neck, back, and shoulders, you increase the flexibility in your mind. At the same time, Camel Pose opens the heart chakra and brings suppressed emotions to the forefront. It also offers a change in perspective both physically and mentally, which can be useful for problem solving.
Kneeling Eagle Arms Pose (Garudasana)
This pose is calming because it's very simple to do, there's no need to worry about balancing or using lots of strength, it can even be done at your desk. It's the type of pose where you can simply sit and be. Lots of people store tension in the back of their shoulders and neck, this pose releases the tension by expanding the back muscles, which are connected to the shoulders.