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Here are simple 6 ways to use yoga to soothe your anxiety

Published on:2 March 2021, 17:53pm IST
Yoga can be used to soothe the feeling of anxiety and slow down racing thoughts.
Nishtha Bijlani
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Make yoga practice a part of each day to reduce feelings of anxiety. Image courtesy: Nishtha Bijlani

Yoga works like a natural pacifier for anxiety. Not only does it have multiple positive effects on the body, but it also heals the central nervous system. This induces a feeling of relaxation, helping with anxiety.

Complete awareness at the level of body, mind and breath is the definition of the state of Yoga. Hence, yoga is a practice done not just on the mat, but off it too. 

Here are six ways in which you can apply the practice of yoga to your life, on & off the mat

1. Deep belly breaths

The effects of deep conscious breathing are unmatched. It directly soothes the nervous system, helping induce a calm and relaxed state.

Method: Lie down on the back. Use a bolster under the legs or back to feel more rested. Place your palms on the abdomen, one above the navel and other below it.

Deep belly breaths. Image courtesy: Nishtha Bijlani

Start by breathing deeply while inhaling and exhaling. Slowly watch the breath become more natural and slow. Enjoy the process of relaxation here.

Note: This can be done at any time of the day, even in the middle of work.

2. Balasana

Balasana or Child’s pose is a very relaxing pose. It soothes the nervous tension in the stomach that is caused as a result of anxiety. It helps combat racing thoughts.

Method: Get on your knees. Rest your hips on the heels and bend forward to bring the head down to the mat. Let your hands rest by the sides. If you find it difficult to bring the head down, use a bolster, place it between the legs and rest your torso on it. Stay here for as long as it feels comfortable.

Balasana. Image courtesy: Nishtha Bijlani
3. Pavanmuktasana

This pose helps to shake off the jittery feeling in the body that is often accompanied by anxiety. It is literally like giving a hug to yourself!

Method: Lie down on the back and simply bring your knees to your chest. Put your arms around the legs, like you’re hugging them. Lift your head up for a few seconds and then drop it back. You could stay here as long as you like.

Pavanmuktasana. Image courtesy: Nishtha Bijlani
4. Brahmari pranayama

It is also known as the Humming Bee Breath. It has a very tranquillizing effect on the mind. In addition, it promotes better sleep and slows down thoughts.

Method: Get in a comfortable seated position on the mat or chair. Use your thumbs to close the opening of the ears. Spread the rest of the four fingers across your face to make the Shanmukhi Mudra. Close your eyes, take a deep breath and release the ‘hmmm’ sound through pressed lips. Do this for 5 to 10 rounds.

Brahmari. Image courtesy: Nishtha Bijlani
5. Gratitude Journal

It is a very good practice to maintain a gratitude journal.

Method: You can choose to do this at the end of the day before going to bed. Think of how your day went by and find 3 things to express gratitude for. Write these down. Do this as a daily practice to see a remarkable positive difference in you. Watch your worries soon convert into happy vibes!

Write a journal. Image courtesy: Nishtha Bijlani
6. Guided Meditation

Practising meditation regularly can do wonders for your mental health. It helps us slow down, reduces stress-response and helps connect with the inner self. Meditation can seem difficult to practice when you’re a beginner. Hence, choosing to meditate with help of guided audios that are easily available online can be a great start.

Method: Switch on a guided meditation video or podcast. You can use YouTube, Spotify and apps like Calm. Follow the directions and begin your journey with meditation. Build your practice by meditating for at least 5 minutes every day to see the difference.

Guided meditation. Image courtesy: Nishtha Bijlani

Yoga is a way of life and when practised regularly, can help you reduce anxiety levels.

Nishtha Bijlani Nishtha Bijlani

Nishtha Bijlani is a Mumbai-based certified yoga expert.