November 29, 2014

3 Yogic Ways to Ease Anxiety.


Firstly, know that you’re not alone. 

The Australian Bureau of Statistics 2007 study shows that each year, one in five Australians will experience a mental illness. Approximately 14% of Australians will be affected by anxiety disorder.

Beyond Blue states that 435,000 people in Australia, aged between 16 and 24 have experienced an anxiety disorder within the last 12 months.

Anxiety is an overwhelming and often, unreasonably severe response to stress. It’s like the “fight or flight” response 1,000-fold. When thoughts overwhelm, anxiety becomes a physical reality, and it can be extremely frightening. Although it seems uncontrollable, there are things we can do to ease the severity of an anxiety attack.

1.  Breathe
Focus on elongating the exhale will calm the sympathetic nervous system, bringing a steadiness to your mind. Lengthening the out-breath will slow your heart rate, ease the “fight/flight” response, decrease respiration and blood pressure. This will allow your physical body to relax and put things back in perspective.

A simple breathing technique: breathe in as you silently count upwards to five, then breathe out, whilst counting from 10 back down to one. Focus on making each exhale slow, deep and complete.

2.  Accept that you’re anxious. 
Instead of frantically trying to fight the situation, remember that anxiety is just another feeling. Find a place where you can sit quietly—decide whether you need to be alone, or ask a friend to come and be with you until you feel better. Remember that you are not dying, even though it may feel like it at the time, and try to focus on the fact that this is just your mind being overactive, and it is giving you a physical response. Trust and accept that whilst you don’t enjoy these awful thoughts or feelings whilst you’re in the midst of it, that it will pass. You will feel okay again.

3.  Use asana to relieve anxiety 
Ask your yoga teacher to show you some anxiety-relieving postures. One beneficial pose to ease stress, tension and anxiety right now, even after you read this, is legs up the wall pose (Viparita Karani)

Viparita Karani: Laying in foetal position with your hips against a wall and your head toward the centre of the room, roll over onto your back and lift your legs straight up to rest on the wall—soles of feet toward the ceiling. Gently slide a pillow or folded blanket under your hips for comfort and gentle elevation and allow your arms to open wide, palms up. Breathe, relax and rest in this position with eyes closed for 5-10 minutes. Gently slide knees back down towards your chest and roll to your right side back into foetal pose for a few moments before slowly bringing yourself back into the day.


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Author: Dee Reynolds

Editor:  Travis May

Photo: Flickr/Kellinahandbasket

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