Anxiety and stress is a part of almost every adult’s life. Even children can experience it. When stress and anxiety become chronic stress, you can’t escape the constant tension that exists in your body. Doctors may prescribe you anti-anxiety pills. These come with risks as you can develop a dependency on these kinds of drugs, which worsens mental and physical health.
More studies are coming up with proof that yoga and meditation are an excellent way to reduce symptoms of chronic anxiety. A Harvard study reported that yoga modulates the stress response. The yoga poses, breathing exercises, and meditation practices can help ease anxiety during intense moments of stress. They can also negate the onset of anxiety. With anxiety being such a problem and the drugs being a part of the problem, doctors are now convinced that the holistic approach is important.
Yoga has many benefits involved when it comes to your body, mind, and soul. Wherever your anxiety comes from, yoga can help you to manage it. Chronic anxiety doesn’t have to take over your life and doctors know this now.
Yoga Helps Ease Physical Symptoms of Chronic Anxiety
Physical symptoms that manifest from anxiety can cause you many problems. Anxiety causes inflammation and all over body tension. Heart disease and GI tract problems are also a risk. Any pain you have that is unrelated to anxiety will be more painful when your body is in constant fight/flight response mode. The yoga poses, also known as asanas help to release tension. As you stretch, you lengthen muscles and bring a balance back to yourself.
Child’s pose is great for making you feel safe instantly which is another aspect of yoga we will discuss later. It effectively releases tension in the back of the neck, your shoulders, and your upper back. As there is a body/mind connection to how your neck is feeling, you tell the brain it’s okay to relax when you get rid of neck tension. Studies have proven that certain yoga poses to calm the nervous system down which alleviates a rise in cortisol levels.
Relaxing Yourself at a Cellular Level
Some of the yoga poses you will do encourage chemicals in the brain known as GABA to increase. When compared to a study, it was shown that yoga is just as effective as walking when it comes to increasing GABA chemicals in the brain. When they are produced, they are like a tranquilizer, which relaxes the body. This counteracts anxiety that causes the fight/flight response. Your heart will become regulates and beat at a normal pace and muscles will relax. Some poses in yoga also detox the body as they massage the internal organs, which may hold onto cortisol. Cortisol is a natural chemical but it can overproduce which damages the body.
Yogic Breathing Reduces Anxiety Immediately
A growing number of studies have shown that diaphragmatic breathing triggers the body to relax. It is an instant benefit to your physical and mental well-being. When you do yoga, you will be practicing breath work that can come in handy during times of immediate stress. The breathing helps you manage anxiety when it arises. Yoga teaches us to breathe deeply into the lungs and belly. When you do these deep breaths, you send a message to the brain that there’s no reason to sound the alarms and put the body on alert. The fresh oxygen you bring into the body allows you to dispel carbon dioxide, which is a natural, healthy process.
When you do deep breathing every day, it becomes easier to manage moments of emotional turmoil. The feeling that chronic anxiety gives you is not comfortable. By breathing, you can prevent all that tension from building up in the body. Eventually, you can ease your central nervous system on demand if you’re diligent enough. You won’t have to take anti-anxiety medication because you can control the body and its reactions.
Shallow breathing will alert the brain that there’s a problem so when you learn to breathe deeply instead, you can fight against anxiety.
Adrenal Gland Management
With yoga, you can calm down the nervous system. You can gain a feeling of safety and security. Anxiety often comes up because we’re afraid. Cat/Cow pose helps to stimulate adrenal glands, which relaxes you. When you go into Child’s pose, you deeply massage the adrenal glands. Here’s a secret too, if you stay in Child’s pose for 11 minutes, it is like you’ve slept for four hours.
When you’re in Child’s pose, you prevent the blood from moving through. When you release the pose, blood and bodily fluids then surge through. This is how the adrenal glands are detoxified. The adrenal glands play a large part in the immune system and have been shown to be directly affected by stress. The evidence is mounting that any kind of relaxation therapy can positively benefit endocrine function. Yoga and other relaxation techniques can also counter the changes that occur when the body is put under stress.
Meditation for Centering and Becoming Mindful
Meditation is proven through science to be a powerful way to bring yourself back to your center. While the studies are preliminary, the results have found mindfulness meditation is a promising intervention against chronic anxiety and stress. The ruminating thoughts you have can cause a lot of anxiety. They are responsible for rising levels of adrenaline and cause the body to become ill. Science doesn’t describe the effects in the same way as ancient sages do but the results are the same. When you learn how to sit in the higher seat of consciousness, you’re able to control the worrying thoughts that cause anxiety. Breathing is often incorporated into meditation as well as to help relax you before you begin.
Just by sitting and noticing what you’re feeling and what that does to your body, you can begin to change the way you think and feel. Meditation is something that takes time and effort, it is through daily practice that you can be the master of your own mind. When you can do this, you won’t experience stress or anxiety. Yoga helps you develop your meditation skills.
These are just a few examples of why yoga is so helpful against chronic anxiety. It heals the body from what anxiety does to it. It can also change how you see things so you don’t experience constant tension and stress any longer. Doctors know this based on the countless medical studies that have been conducted on yoga and meditation.