I’ve been hearing this word a lot from clients lately.

Anxiety: a feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease, typically about an imminent event or something with an uncertain outcome.
– Oxford Languages

Clients have been asking for relief from anxiety. Are you also feeling worried, nervous, panicked, hopeless? I’ve been hearing these feelings described to me when clients are telling me they are feeling anxious and can’t seem to shake it.

Often when we are anxious, our minds are moving fast and we don’t feel like there is anything we can hold on to, leading to more and more feelings of helplessness. So, the anxiety feeds on itself, potentially leading to a panic attack. If you’ve noticed that you are anxious, that is the first step in being aware, and that means you can take control of the anxiety.

And so, I am once again reminded of yoga and the benefits it has for when you feel anxious.

The Mayo Clinic states that, “A number of studies have shown that yoga may help reduce stress and anxiety. Yoga can enhance your mood and overall sense of well-being. Yoga might also help you manage your symptoms of depression and anxiety that are due to difficult situations.”

Yoga helps with stress and anxiety because it combines the practices of mindfulness and breathing with movement.

How do you calm yourself when feeling anxious?

  • Sit down. If you can’t sit down, stand in one place.
  • Feel the support of the earth underneath you. Feel your seat or your feet supported. You are being held up. If it helps hold onto something to give you additional support. You can hold onto the ground, the wall, a piece of furniture, or even an object that is meaningful to you. Notice this support. Notice how it feels to be supported.
  • Observe your breath flowing in and out of your body. (Note: If observing your breath makes you more anxious, skip this step and continue to focus on grounding yourself.) Just the act of observing the breath can bring a soothing quality to us. It helps to slow the heartbeat and therefore calm the mind. Observe the breath without trying to control it.
  • Move mindfully and gently. As you move through each pose, go slowly and notice what feels best to you. Stop doing a pose if it causes any discomfort.
    • Upward Hands Pose. From sitting or standing, maintain the feeling of being supported by the earth under your feet or seat, then lift your hands to the air as you breath in, and slowly bring your arms down with your elbows bent like a cactus (cactus or goal post arms). Go slow and do this 3-5 times.
    • Breathe in and breathe out after the last movement.
    • Cat/Cow Pose. Slowly come to hands and knees, feeling your hands and knees connected the the support from below. First allow your belly to reach down towards the earth while looking up slightly and your tailbone lifting – this is cow pose. Then, arch your back and gaze towards your legs with your tailbone reaching down – this is cat pose. Slowly alternate between these poses 3-5 times, moving with your breath.
    • Breathe in and breathe out after the last movement.
    • Legs Up The Wall Pose. Slowly roll to your side, and then onto your back. Feel your back being held up by the floor below. Keeping your entire torso and head resting on the floor, slowly lift your feet to the sky, keeping your knees slightly bent. You can do this in the middle of the room, or if you are near a wall, you can rest your elevated feet on the wall. Stay here for 3-5 breaths.
    • Fetal Position. Slowly bend your knees and bring them towards your chest, and then roll onto your left side. Feel where your body is held by the ground below. Stay here for 3-5 breaths.
    • Easy Pose. Slowly press yourself to sitting with your legs crossed, your seat supported by the floor. Allow yourself to breath at your own natural breathing rhythm without controlling the breath.

Notice the difference in your breath, heart rate, and feelings in your mind and body.

May this practice bring you some relief from your anxiety and some peace into your day.

May you have peace within,

Julia anjali mudra hands

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