Practicing Yoga Exercises For Anxiety Relief can really be effective and help lower stress and anxiety levels. Yoga helps by transferring your focus and attention to your breathing and your body. Most people tend to evade the feelings of anxiety while others struggle and take medication to numb the anxious feelings. I used to suffer severely from anxiety and tried different medications that made me feel strange and not all there and I just hated those feelings. Finally fed up with the way it made me feel so I started to do yoga exercises for anxiety relief and started taking these classes online.
Being diagnosed with social anxiety disorder and generalized anxiety disorder, I took different SSRI’s. These seemed to help, but I also noticed as well as my friends and family these medications took something away from me. My feelings and emotions were gone. Normal daily life didn’t make me sad or happy, just numb, each day just passed by with lifeless affection for anything.
I became fed up feeling like this and searched for ways to change this. I wanted to control my anxiety and also feel emotion. Talking to my doctor we decided to slowly come off my medication, finding other alternatives to help including Yoga to relieve stress in my life.
Yoga Exercises For Anxiety Relief
1. Child’s Pose – Balasana
Child’s pose is commonly known as the relaxation pose, it’s used in between more difficult poses during a class. This pose or exercise helps release any tension build up in the neck, shoulders or back. Doing this pose will help you focus on your breathing, slowly calming your anxiety.
- First put a mat or towel on the floor and this will help cushion your knees
- Kneel on the floor with either your knees together or apart in a “V” shape
- Now lean forward stretching your arms out on to the floor
- Slowly relax, close your eyes and slow your thinking
- Let your body be still and calm, almost melting into the mat
- Pay attention to your breathing, breath slowly and count to 10 to help you be conscious of your breathes
2. Legs Up The Wall – Viparita Karani
The Second Yoga Exercise For Anxiety Relief is “Legs Up The Wall” Pose is great for relieving stress of the lower back, providing anxiety relief, lowering high blood pressure, menstrual cramping and other health ailments. Find an open wall space and if putting your legs up on the wall is uncomfortable try putting a pillow under you to help bolster you up a bit.
- Put your mat or a pillow up against the wall
- Lay down on your back trying to get your buttocks as close to the wall as possible with our legs up on the wall
- Place your arms along side of you
- Close your eyes
- Focus on your breathing
- Release the stress and tension
Related Article: 5 Ways Yoga Helps With Unhealthy Habits
3. Seated Forward Bend – Paschimottanasana
Another Yoga Exercise For Anxiety Relief is called Paschimottanasana or seated forward bend. This pose will help you relax, ground yourself and focus on your breathing. Doing this pose will help relieve anxiety and also headaches.
- Place your mat on the floor
- Sit on your mat with either your legs out straight or if its more comfortable you can cross them
- Keep you back and spine up straight
- Slowly stretch forward, when you start to feel pain or strain stop and come back a little
- Keep your back straight and do not arch, this will stretch your hamstrings
- After a few minutes come back up
4. Cat Cow Pose
Cat Cow Pose is one of the great Yoga Exercises For Anxiety Relief because it warms the body and brings movement and flexibility to your spine and body helping you to be more coordinated and at ease. In the first image we see the “Cow” position or Bitilisana, ideally try to keep your head up and look forward. The second image is the “Cat” position or Marjaryasana, on all fours lower your head and raise or arch your back up.
- Start on all fours, your hands, knees and legs on the floor
- Beginning with the Cow pose inhale as you drop you belly
- Upon exhaling go into Cat pose
- Raise and arch your back upward and lower your head down
- Continue inhaling and exhaling as you go from cow pose to cat pose for 5-20 times
5. Standing Forward Pose – Uttanasana
Standing forward pose is very beneficial in calming the mind and also stretching your hamstrings. You can do this one easily without a mat and it can be done almost anywhere such as the office, before a game and will help relieve anxiety. This will also increase your energy levels and relieve tension in the body. The focus for this exercise is to extend or lengthen your torso.
- Which ever is more comfortable start by standing with your feet together or apart
- Bend over and try to touch the floor near your feet keeping your knees straight
- Release the tension in your back, neck and head
- Inhale and exhale slowly
- Try to hold for 30 seconds to 1 minute
- When coming up put your hands on your hips and slowly raise yourself up
6. Warrior I Pose – Virabhadrasana I
There are 3 Warrior Poses and all are great Yoga Exercises For Anxiety Relief, starting with Warrior Pose I follow the steps below.
- While exhaling spread your feet apart to approximately 3 1/2 feet
- Reach your arms straight up and together
- Turn your left foot out 45 degrees
- Turn your right foot outward 90 degrees
- Exhale and turn your torso to the right
- Lift strongly with your arms, raising your rib cage
- Keep your head forward
- Hold for 30 seconds to 1 minute
- Inhale and come back up to normal standing
7. Warrior Pose II – Virabhadra
Warrior pose II is great for increasing stamina and I’ve also found it helpful for relieving my anxiety. Similar to Warrior Pose I except here we stretch out our arms.
- Start by standing and spreading your feet about 3 1/2 feet apart
- Raise your arm and keep them out from your sides
- Turn your left foot 45 degrees outward
- Turn your right foot 90 degrees outward
- Slowly turn so you look like the woman in the picture above
8. Warrior Pose III – Virabhadra
This pose takes a little practice standing on one foot but will shift your thoughts from your anxiety to doing the exercise.
- Start in a standing position with your feet together
- Bend over lifting your leg to a 90 degree position
- Raise your arms outward in front of you
- Hold for about 2-3 breaths
- Lower your arms and leg
- Continue the same with the other leg
9. Corpse Pose
This pose is obviously the easiest pose to do as it consists of laying down and is not physically demanding. Corpse Pose can be difficult for the mind however as you need to focus on yourself instead of other things going on.
- Lie down on a mat or towel with your arms by your side
- Keep your palms up
- Relax your legs
- Close your eyes
- Release tension in your face and throughout your whole body
- Breath deeply in and out slowly
- Clear your mind and focus on relaxation
10. Tree Pose – Vrikshasana
Tree Pose helps you focus and promote concentration and awareness on yourself and your body instead of your anxiety. This is one of the eleven yoga exercises for anxiety relief I do on a daily basis. I’ll even do this while standing in line at the grocery store to relieve anxiety I feel starting to creep up.
- Shift your weight to one foot
- Raise your other foot and clasp it with one of your hands.
- Place it on the inner thigh
- You can keep your hands on your pelvis or raise them together
- Hold for about 30 seconds to 1 minute and then switch feet
11. Camel Pose – Ustrasana
Doing the Camel Pose can help boost your energy and increase your mood helping you feel more calm and relief from your anxiety. Camel Pose will take practice reaching back holding yourself and then back again.
- Kneel on the floor with your knees hip width apart
- Place your hands on your hips
- Inhale and slowly reach back to your feet
- Stretch your sternum up and outward like above
- When finished, lower your chin and slowly come back forward
These are some great yoga exercises for anxiety relief and have helped me greatly. I try my best to practice them all each day along with some other poses that I’ll write about later. These exercises can help relieve some of your anxiety and also boost your mood.