When yoga was introduced to the United States only a short time ago its popularity was attributed to its spirituality. Many people that started daily yoga exercises did so because they felt it helped them to connect with some of the spirituality of the East, which has always been fairly popular within a subsection of the community. While the spiritual component is still present, many find out that yoga benefits are much more than they originally believed. It’s more than just a spiritual technique. It’s a powerful exercise that has many benefits for your health, and not just your physical health – your mental health as well.
With that in mind, yoga has become one of the most common tools that people use to help control their anxiety, and there are many reasons to believe that yoga is actually very powerful, even for those that don’t feel connected to the spiritual components. Below, we’ll examine many of the ways that yoga benefits anxiety.
Yoga Poses to Release Stress Hormones
The key benefit of yoga poses is that it is actually a very powerful form of exercise with the ability to strengthen muscles and use up energy. Exercise is a forgotten cure for anxiety. It has the ability to genuinely reduce stress and improve wellness, because exercise releases neurotransmitters that improve mood while simultaneously burning away the stress hormones that lead to most anxiety symptoms. In addition, there is evidence that when your muscles are tired and your energy depleted, your anxiety decreases as a result.
Improved Breathing Techniques
Yoga isn’t just an exercise either. Yoga also involves breathing techniques, and for those with panic attacks or a considerable amount of stress, these breathing techniques can be extremely beneficial. Poor breathing habits have been blamed for many anxiety attacks, and better breathing (including breathing in slowly through your stomach rather than your chest) has been linked to stress reduction.
A Break From A Fast Paced World
Yoga is also one of the few types of exercise that, in many ways, gives you a break from the business of today’s world. While yoga is still physically demanding, it also requires you to slow down – something that very few people do anymore. If you perform yoga often every week, you’re giving yourself a break from the stresses of the world and finally slowing yourself down and taking time to yourself without a barrage of external stimuli.
Additional Health Benefits
There are several benefits of yoga whose mechanisms are unclear, but they’ve been extensively studied and found to be present. For example, yoga boosts the immune system, improves sleep, and may even fight allergies – while it’s not clear what causes these health benefits yet, all of those issues can actually contribute to anxiety, indicating that yoga may have secondary benefits for anxiety in addition to the primary benefits.
Improved Self Confidence
Finally, yoga – like all exercises – is a great way to burn calories, improve your appearance, and generally make you feel better about yourself. These don’t play as large a role in anxiety as many people believe, but there is still no denying that when you feel good about yourself, your anxiety does a better job of staying under control.
Anxiety Reduction and Yoga at Home
Not long ago, yoga was seen as an outsider to the exercise world. Not anymore. Most people choose to take up yoga classes for the exercise and health benefits, but those dealing with mental health issues and need help for their anxiety may find yoga to be one of the most effective ways to fight stress and get the help that you need.
About the Author:
This is a guest post by Ryan Rivera who often adds yoga as part of his anxiety reduction strategy.
photo: kukhahn yoga