Many people turn to yoga when feelings of anxiety start to creep in during times of stress. You may find that focusing on both your breath and your ability to be present in each pose can help with anxiety relief and boost your overall mood.
It’s all about meeting yourself where you are. Practicing one or two postures for just a few minutes a day can have a major impact, if you’re open to the practice.
To get the most out of your session, take note of the sensations that move throughout your body as you come into each pose. Allow yourself to feel and experience whatever emotions arise.
If you feel your thoughts start to scatter, gently bring your mind back to the mat and continue your practice.
De-stress with this 20 minute calming yoga routine that includes light and easy full body stretches for stress relief and anxiety.
Does it really work?
When researchers compared the results, they found that yoga significantly helped with anxiety relief and reduced feelings of stress, anxiety, and depression.
Another small study from 2017 found that even a single session of hatha yoga was effective in reducing stress from an acute psychological stressor. A psychological stressor is a task or event that prompts an immediate response, like a fight-or-flight reaction.
In this study, the stressor was a math task. After completing a video-instructed yoga session, participants experienced reduced blood pressure and reported increased levels of self-confidence.
While this research is promising, larger, more in-depth studies are needed to expand upon these findings.
The bottom line
Although recent research supports yoga practice as a way to anxiety relief , it may not be suitable for everyone.
You should always talk to your doctor before starting a new yoga or exercise program. They can help you identify any possible risks and recommend appropriate modifications.
Keep in mind that practicing yoga can sometimes bring uncomfortable feelings and emotions to the surface. Make sure you practice in a space that feels comfortable and safe. This may mean doing yoga at home or joining a class specifically tailored toward stress relief or emotional healing.
If you feel that practicing yoga is triggering your anxiety instead of alleviating it, discontinue the practice.