Yoga Techniques to Reduce Anxiety
Meditation is relaxation. It is not about concentration, it’s actually about de-concentration. It’s not about focussing one’s thoughts on one thing, but instead on becoming thoughtless. The overall benefits of meditations include a calm mind, enhanced concentration, improved clarity and communication, and relaxation of mind and body. Regular practice of meditation has a profound impact on the core three areas of our existence - physical, mental, and spiritual.
11 mental benefits of meditation
Meditation brings the brainwave pattern into an alpha state that promotes healing. The mind becomes fresh, delicate and beautiful. It cleanses and nourishes you from within and calms you, whenever you feel overwhelmed, unstable, or emotionally shut down.
With regular practice of meditation:
anxiety decreases emotional stability improves creativity increases happiness increases intuition develops gain clarity and peace of mind problems become smaller meditation sharpens the mind relaxes the mind, thus giving deep relaxation
Here are some ways in which you can ease your anxiety and enhance your mood by controlling your breath and combining it with simple yoga techniques.
Take inventory of how you feel, physically, mentally, emotionally. Next, place one hand on your heart, one hand on your belly and exhale completely, counting from 5 back to 1. Inhale into the hand on your heart to the count of 5, and exhale backwards from 5. Inhale to the space between your palms for 5, and release the exhale by starting at 5 and counting back to 1. Inhale to the hand on your belly for 5 seconds, exhale counting backwards for 5 seconds. Now, inhale to the count of 7, inhale to your heart, your ribs and into your low belly, then exhale to the count of 10. Repeat 10 times. Note how you feel after.
Take a walk, matching your stride to your breath. Take note of the sounds and smells around you, and note the temperature of the air on your skin. Find a steady pace, and if possible, take your shoes off and place your bare feet on the ground. This is called grounding, and can be very powerful for when you start to feel your anxiety set it.
Seated or standing, take a few mini Sun-Salutations. Inhale while reaching both arms up over your head, then exhale your hands through your centerline, connecting your palms in front of your heart space. Inhale arms again while looking up, and exhale your hands through center, releasing them down towards your mat. Then pause, taking a few rounds of breath with your palms pressed onto your mat. Soften your shoulders down your back. Slow your breathing down. Repeat 3-5 times.
For times when your anxiety manifests as jittery legs or bouncy limbs, try taking Legs up the Wall pose, also called Viparita Karani in Sanskrit. Start by finding a clear wall space, and lie down on the floor. Bring your legs parallel to the wall, creating a 90 degree angle with your legs and your torso. Shimmy your shoulders underneath you, press the back of your head into the ground, face your palms upward, and simply breathe. This posture can be done anywhere and is beneficial for everyone, especially after long stints of travel.
Finally, be mindful of what you are consuming! Excess screen time, loud music, caffeine + sugar can all contribute to an anxious mind. Focus on incorporating more calming things, a relaxing bath, a silent meditation, a walk in nature, etc. If you consume caffeine, try switching to tea instead of coffee for less of a jittery buzz. If sugar is a main part of your diet, try incorporating sweets that have a low-glycemic index (like coconut sugar or whole-fruit).