Yoga For Nervousness: The Large Image

12 Jan 2018, 6:26am -

Health Advice

- About Anxiety
by Nina
Big Sur Calm by Evynd Earle*
This morning I read a short articleYoga and Mental Healthon the Blue Shield website that recommended yoga for anxiety and depression. I was very glad to see this mainstream recommendation for using yoga for anxiety, something I’ve personally found extremely helpful, as well as for depression. But I was a bit baffled at Blue Shield’s explanation for why yoga helps with anxiety.

"The poses are designed to put the body into stressful, sometimes uncomfortable physical positions. By pushing through this discomfort, practitioners are essentially creating their own exposure therapy, forcing their bodies to learn their limits and stay mindful of their body."

Well, putting aside the totally questionable blanket statement that yoga poses “are designed to put the body into stressful, sometimes uncomfortable physical positions,” I suppose it is possible that the asana practice could be some kind of exposure therapy. However, here on the YFHA blog we have some very different ideas about why and how yoga can help with anxiety. So I thought it would be a good time to provide an overview of all the material we have on our blog about anxiety, including scientific background about anxiety and yoga, personal stories from practitioners, and our wide variety for practice recommendations (none of which, by the way, include practicing stressful positions). It’s also worth noting that two of the people who have written for us about yoga and anxiety include a neuroscientist (Dr. Ram Rao) and a medical doctor (Dr. Baxter Bell). So I feel like we’re on pretty solid ground with both our analyses and recommendations.

I’ll start by listing the background articles we have about anxiety and yoga, several of which discuss scientific studies. I’ll then list the personal stories followed by the (very long) list of posts we have with practice recommendations. If, after looking through these articles, you still have questions about anxiety and yoga that you want answered, please write me at nina at wanderingmind dot com, and we will get on it!

Background about Yoga and Anxiety

InAnxiety, Longevity, and YogaRam describes what anxiety is and discusses studies showing the effectiveness of yoga for helping reduce anxiety.

InAnxiety, Yoga, and Brain ChemistryRam describes from a scientific perspective how yoga helps anxiety discusses scientific studies that explain why.

InReducing Cortisol Improves AnxietyNina discusses role of elevated cortisol levels due to stress in causing anxiety.

In9/11 Anxiety and YogaBaxter discusses an article that looks at blood markers of anxiety and identifies the particular yoga practices that can lower them.

InThe Relaxation Response and YogaNina provides basic information about how yoga helps reduce stress (which can be the cause of anxiety).

InTriggers, Self Study, and Emotional Well-BeingNina describes how you can learn to recognize what triggers your anxiety and what you can do about it.

InYoga Solutions for AnxietyNina discusses how yoga solutions for anxiety are not the same for everyone.

Personal Stories

InComfort with Uncertaintyby Nina Rook how yoga helped her manage her anxiety and learn to take a different approach to life.

InYoga for Anxiety: Krista's StoryKrista Wood writes about her experience with anxiety and how yoga gave her the tools to work with, not against, it.

Practice Ideas

InTaking Charge of Your Stress or AnxietyNina provides basic advice how to get started if you want to practice yoga for anxiety.

InStress Management for When You're StressedNina provides general guidelines for practicing during stressful times.

InWalking Away from the EdgeNina provides some background about panic attacks and how to prevent them from happening.

In10 Ways You Can Soothe Your Anxiety with YogaNina lists some simple practices you can choose from.

InAnxiety, Yoga, and the Front BodyandSoothing Yourself with Supported Forward BendsandSoothing Yourself with Supported Forward BendsNina recommends practice ideas based on the concept that for some lying on your back can cause anxiety while prone positions can be soothing.

InBalancing Your Emotions with Your BreathandFriday Q&A: Breath Practices for AnxietyNina recommends breath practices for stress and anxiety.

InBalancing Your Emotional Body with Counter PosesNina recommends counter poses you can include at the end of a yoga practice to help balance your tendency toward anxiety.

InAnxiety, Meditation, and Yoga Nidraby Baxter discusses the benefits of yoga nidra for anxiety.

InWhen Relaxing Isn’t RelaxingNina discusses what to do when a supposedly relaxing practice isn’t working for you and inBreath Practices: If They're Not Working for You They're Not Working for Youwhat to do if breath practices—even supposedly relaxing ones—cause anxiety.

InFriday Practical Pointers: Who Should Avoid BackbendsBaxter recommends who should avoid backbends and that can include people currently experiencing anxiety.

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