Monday, 1 July 2013

Yoga and Relieving Anxiety

Anxiety disorders are on the rise because more and more people feel pressured and stressed with the fast-paced lifestyles of today.  While most of those who suffer from the different anxiety conditions turn to antidepressants and other medications, other people turn to alternative therapies like yoga for help.

Since the 1970's, stress-reduction therapies like meditation and yoga have already been used in many circles to treat anxiety and depression. A current national survey has revealed that an estimated 7.5% of American adults have tried yoga at least once, while another 4% have practiced it the previous year.

Let's take a brief look at how yoga can help relieve anxiety. 

Yoga Can Relieve Stress 

The postures and controlled breathing and meditation techniques of Yoga have been noted to help relieve the mind of the person who suffers from stress and depression. This centuries-old practice has been noted to modulate the body's stress-response systems, and effectively reduce physiological arousal.

As a matter of fact, the meditation, relaxation and exercise modes of yoga can soothe frayed nerves and increase heart rate variability, which is a major indicator of the body's capability to flexibly respond to stress.  Yoga could also lower blood pressure, ease perspiration and reduce heart rate. (Source: Harvard Health Publications)

Has Yoga Been Tested To Be Effective Against Anxiety?

An increasing number of studies have noted positive reviews for the use of yoga against anxiety.
A study published in the May 2012 issue of the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine
showed that researchers utilized high-magnetic resonance spectroscopic imaging to analyze the levels  of the neurotransmitter gamma-aminobutyric or GABA, in the brains of yoga and non-yoga practitioners.

Researchers noted a 27 percent increase in the GABA brain levels of those practicing yoga, while no major changes were noted in people who didn't practice yoga. Low levels of GABA in the brain are often connected or associated with anxiety and depression. (Source:

Why Yoga Is an Wonderful Alternative Treatment

Yoga therapy has also been shown to be potent at warding off depression and anxiety disorders, due to a 
number of factors. First, it allows the person to effectively work with his or her own nervous system. Thus, if you wish to pacify your senses and calm down, you should learn to relax and do yoga breathing exercises.

Remember that in yoga, breathing is known as the language of nervous system “control and equilibrium”.

Yoga also presents anxiety sufferers with a host of effective techniques for fighting the disorder. These methods include recognizing, admitting and accepting the problem in all its depth, and acknowledging the need for some sort of change. Instead of resisting the urge to act out feelings, yoga suggests that the individual explore other alternatives, communicate more with people, and accept feedback from them. (Source:

The exercises, relaxation and meditation techniques of yoga also allow the individual to work calmly on any problem or issue, even if no positive outcome is expected. Yoga teaches the person to allow their intuition to find new ways or possibilities. All these methods are all part of the physical, mental and spiritual discipline of yoga, which began in ancient India, and have been tested to successfully allow the person to attain a state of permanent or eternal peace.

Photo Credits:

“Yoga” & "Yoga 2" by RelaxingMusic/Flickr