Yoga is a combination of exercise and spirituality. It’s a tool that has been used for thousands of years to control the mind and body, and that level of control allows it to provide a number of different physical and psychological benefits.
That is why yoga is one of the most popular exercise techniques for stress management. There are several qualities of yoga that promote healthier, anxiety-free living, and integrating yoga in your life may be an effective anxiety cure.
Why Does Yoga Help With Anxiety?
There is a spiritual component to yoga that can have a profound effect on anxiety. When you connect your mind, body, and spirit, you often find that all of your being becomes calmer and more relaxed. Different styles of yoga are believed to have different spiritual benefits, but between them all lies the idea that when your state of mind is connected to your body, you have the opportunity to experience a state of calmness that can be incredibly uplifting.
There are also scientific reasons that yoga is beneficial for anxiety. These include:
- Exercise – Any and all safe exercise acts as an effective anxiety cure. That is because exercise relieves body tension, burns away stress hormones, increases neurotransmitter flow, and improves overall fitness and health. Yoga is a popular form of exercise and one that strengthens the core and the rest of your muscles, giving you all of the benefits of traditional exercise on your hormones and body chemistry.
- Improved Movement/Flexibility – Depending on your age, you may also benefit from the improved movement and flexibility that yoga offers – especially as a long term solution to your stress and anxiety levels. Lack of movement is one of the primary reasons that anxiety increases with age. Yoga creates more flexibility, which contributes to more movement and ultimately better mental health.
- Deeper Breathing – Yoga strategies teach you to breathe in manner that is known to be calming on the body. Deep breathing (which involves breathing slower and through the stomach rather than the chest), is considered a better style of breathing – and one that is known to be an effective natural relaxation strategy when you’re feeling stressed. Deep breathing is both practiced during yoga and plays a role in your ability to find relaxation even when you’re done with yoga.
- Researched Health Benefits – The mechanisms of these health benefits are not always clear, but research has shown that yoga has a variety of benefits to your health, including an improved immune system, better sleep, and even allergy relief. All of these issues (weak immune system, allergies, and poor sleeping habits) play a role in your daily stress and anxiety.
- Calm, Quiet Experience – Finally, the simple yoga experience (sitting in a room, slowly moving from one position to another in general silence) is, itself, a healthy relaxation tool. Many people do not allow themselves to be in environments that are as calming as a yoga studio or the outdoors, so this type of time spend caring about yourself can be incredibly advantageous.
In addition, once again, there are the spiritual benefits of yoga that can be incredibly calming for those that find themselves with constant stress and a disconnect between their mind body and soul. Combine that with the other advantages of yoga as an anxiety reduction tool and it becomes very clear why yoga is so valuable. For those that are suffering from a considerable amount of stress and anxiety on a regular basis and looking for some relief, integrating yoga in to your life may be just what you need.
About the author: Ryan Rivera’s attitude on yoga as a stress relief tool changed immediately after his first yoga session. He now writes about the benefits of natural cures like yoga for stress and anxiety at www.calmclinic.com.