Yoga is a popular type of exercise that combines physical movement with meditation and mindfulness. Including yoga practice as a part of your exercise routine has been proven to provide numerous health benefits including:
- Increased strength and stamina
- Better balance and flexibility
- Weight loss
- Increase in muscle mass
- Better mindfulness and focus
- Greater synergy between mind and body
In recent days of uncertainty and tension, one of the most relevant and influential benefits of yoga is its ability to decrease stress and counteract symptoms of anxiety. In this article, we’ll look at four specific ways yoga helps to lessen anxiety.
- Yoga helps the body to relax
Guiding your body through a yoga routine can decrease tension in your muscles, which in turn can calm your mind. Yoga poses are a great way to use your muscles and get rid of any excess energy that might be making you anxious or jittery. Many yoga routines also involve using stillness and conscious breathing to promote relaxation. So, whether you’re sliding into a lunge or curling up into a fetal position, yoga is a helpful, constructive outlet for nervous energy.
2. Yoga refocuses the mind
Focusing on the body and its movements during a yoga session can help distract you from anxiety-inducing thoughts. The repetitive, smooth movements can be helpful in interrupting negative thought spirals. Many yoga routines include moments of meditation that give you tools that allow peace and positivity to triumph over fear and worry. As a practice, yoga also reminds us that our bodies and minds are not as opposites; they actually function best when they work together.
3. Yoga is a healthy self-soothing method
Everyone who struggles with anxiety or stress needs a dependable method of self-soothing. Self-soothing practices are things you can do to calm yourself down or redirect your thoughts when you’re feeling out of control. Yoga can be a great option for a self-soothing practice that requires minimal preparation. Many breathing exercises and poses with understated movements can be done anytime and anywhere. A few mindful breaths while driving to work or a simple stretch of the wrists beneath your desk can help you to find calm during stressful situations.
4. Yoga offers an opportunity for community
Isolation can be both a cause and effect of anxiety. Joining a yoga group or attending a yoga class provides an opportunity for you to share healing experiences with other people. Group yoga can help you to set aside the day’s worries and realize that you are not alone. Many people turn to yoga as a means of overcoming stress and anxiety, so you will likely find others who are experiencing the same journey you are. Engaging in meaningful conversations with people who understand is a key step in overcoming anxiety.