Yoga for Anxiety: Yoga for Emotional Healing
Publication Year: Submitted
Sources ID: 45321
Collection: Yoga-Based Interventions for Stress and Anxiety
Visibility: Public (group default)
Today we are going to open to and become aware of anxiety. Just like the other emotions we have opened to experience, we can open to the emotion of anxiety. Anxiety is not good or bad, it is simply an expression of energy. When we open to the free-flowing quality of anxiety we can attend to its energetic nuances in our minds and bodies.Anxiety affects 18 % of adults in the US, approximately 40 million adults between the ages of 18-54. Those numbers are pretty consistent worldwide. Women are twice as likely to be affected by anxiety than men. When we experience anxiety we feel an overwhelming lack of trust in our world with no sense of inner security or safety. There is a feeling of being out of control and completely groundless. When we experience anxiety, we wear ourselves out with relentless thinking which heightens our nervousness in our bodies and minds. There is a sense of there being a danger or threat or not being able to cope with what may happen. When we experience anxiety we experience irrational fear, we are hypervigilant to the negative and we worry excessively about the future. With anxiety we are caught in an endless feedback loop. Our minds spiral into continual mental scanning which use up our physical and mental resources, leaving us feeling exhausted. The experience of anxiety results in hormonal imbalances in our bodies as our adrenal glands increase the secretion of adrenaline and cortisol in our bodies. Adrenaline and cortisol are hormones release in response to fear and stress by the medulla of the adrenal glands and in some neurons of the central nervous system. Research has shown that yoga is superior to other forms of exercise in terms of lowering cortisol than other types of physical movement. A research study on African dance and yoga for example actually showed higher levels of cortisol after the dance than before compared to yoga where the levels were reduced. In another research study with specific yoga poses, researchers measured the cortisol levels before and after yoga classes and discovered significant decreases after yoga class. With anxiety we need to ask ourselves, where is my attention? Usually our mind is all over the place and our body is fidgeting. When we practice yoga, we can place our attention with the sensations in our body. Instead of wearing ourselves out with relentless thinking which heightens anxiety, we can connect with our bodies and be still. Yoga offers us a way to connect with the earth, to ground, release all that nervous tension into the earth and connect with a sense of safety. Restoring your body through yoga will help to recover a sense of equilibrium.