With 40 million adults in the United States suffering from anxiety, it’s time we found a cure. If you are among them, there’s hope! For centuries, people have been using yoga for anxiety relief. These simple postures can help you get centered and relaxed, naturally.
Yoga for Anxiety
How: Come to all fours, making sure your shoulders are directly over your wrists and your hips are over your knees. Inhale as you tuck your toes, arching your back. Gaze forward. Exhale untucking the toes and rounding your back. Chin to chest. Repeat 5 times, moving with your breath.
Why: Cat/Cow pose loosens the chest, neck and shoulders and prepares you for the next move.
How: Straighten your right leg and bring it out at a 90 degree angle from the body. Slightly angle your left leg in towards your extended leg for stability. Bring your left arm between your right arm and leg and place your shoulder and the side of your head on the mat. Walk your right finger tips to the top of the mat. Hold for 5 breaths and repeat on the opposite side.
Why: Threading the needle releases the muscles in the neck and back that we tend to tighten when anxious or worried.
How: Bring the hips to the heels and forehead to the ground. Bring your hands down by your feet. If it feels more comfortable, you can have your feet together and knees wide to facilitate the forward fold. Hold for at least 5 breaths.
Why: Forward folds are calming to the nervous system. This posture is a recovery pose.
How: Keeping the feet and knees together, reach for the heels. Tuck the chin and begin to raise the hips off the heels, maintaining your hold on your heels. Raise your hips until you are on the crown of your head.
Why: Rabbit helps release the back of the neck and upper back.
How: Lying on your back with your legs extended, bring your hands under your hips, palms facing down. Place your hands as if they were in your jeans pockets. Inhale and rise onto your elbows, opening your chest and throat. Hold for 5 breaths.
Why: Fish is a counter post to the forward folds in this sequence and helps open the chest and neck.
How: Lie on your back and bring your legs straight up. You may want to move to the wall to use it as support.
Why: This modified inversion reduced blood pressure and is excellent for calming your nerves.