Coping anxiety during Covid with Yoga
The coronavirus is that guest which hasn’t been invited to the party and yet it is refusing to leave. With the sudden lockdown in place, crippling anxiety has become extremely common in urban Indians. It’s easy to get caught up in the hustle. Yoga can help you cope with anxiety. It is a soothing technique that alters your response to stress with practice. Ultimately yoga helps you to calm your impulses aligning with your parasympathetic nervous system. Hence for those suffering from anxiety, yoga is like oxygen. Let us look at a few ways of how yoga is instrumental in lowering stress and anxiety.
1. Getting a grip on the illusionary mind
When you practice yoga, the aim is to live in the present moment, and we do that by focusing on our breath or the posture that we are in. Hence when we are spending time in the present moment, we are coming away from the future which does not exist. And this is when we feel anxiety when we start getting overwhelmed about what is to come the unknown we start to create mental stories about the future that is not even real and so when we do yoga we come well away from that. Yoga helps you get away from the illusionary mind and bring you back to the present moment
2)Yoga lowers tension and promotes relaxation
Whether it is outwardly visible or not, our body reacts to every emotion. In times of stress, our body tends to squeeze. To cope with that it releases adrenaline and cortisol which increases the heart rate. We hold tension at different parts of our body - shoulders, jaws, etc which creates an increasing muscular tension. This, when transported back to the minds - creates a feeling of uneasiness. The relaxation benefits we receive from some of the yoga posses such as Dhanurasana (Bow Pose), Matyasana (Fish pose) can help us release the physical tension and get a grip over the effects of Anxiety.
3) Yoga helps us to regulate breathing
Our breath has a direct connection with our nervous system. At the time
of stress, we take rapid breaths. By practicing yoga, we slow down our breathing which has a soothing effect on the nervous system. During any yoga session, you will find the focus is primarily on the breath.
4) Increase in bodily awareness
In addition to the relaxation effect, yoga can also be instrumental in increasing bodily awareness. Yoga can help you release the unnecessary tension we carry in our bodies.
5) Yoga aids in releasing endorphins
Yoga aids in releasing endorphins which are chemicals produced by the body to relieve stress. Yoga or any kind of exercise is often suggested by doctors for depression and anxiety for the same reason.
6) Yoga is good for your relationship with yourself
When you are making time to get your mat every day if you can but even just when you can, you’re letting your body know at a subconscious level that you’re worthy of self-love because when you’re practicing yoga you’re practicing self-love, you’re getting in tune with your breath and your body and you’re giving yourself the space, the four corners of your mat and it's just for you and yourself and so you start to become aware of the body, the mind starts quieting down and you develop a positive relationship with your being which is amazing as you start to become more patient with yourself, you become more relaxed.
7) Relationship with the outside world
When you’re practicing yoga and developing an amazing relationship with yourself you’re becoming more patient and compassionate and all these are going on while you’re on the mat. This ripples out in the rest of your life and your relationship with the outside world. You become more patient and tolerant towards others and feel less triggered by the situations which are not within your control.
8) Accepting discomfort
When you do a new yoga pose, you will often feel slightly uncomfortable and it will take some practice getting comfortable in that pose. We tend to move away from anything that causes discomfort but running away never be the solution. For instance, moving away from things that cause anxiety will also deprive our life out of the experience. Yoga increases our ability to tolerate things. Knowing that while trying a new pose, a certain amount of discomfort is expected, makes it more tolerable.
9) Yoga classes emphasize on the community and faith
Anxiety can make you feel restless. You may become vulnerable and constantly feel misunderstood. When you take group yoga classes online you bond with people with similar problems and develop a sense of belonging. Developing faith in the community can help you cope with anxiety.
Yoga is becoming increasingly popular both in India and in western countries. Youths are turning to yoga to cope with stress and anxiety. Simply focusing on your breath and the ability to live in the present moment during each pose can help you block the negative mental chatter and uplift your mood by an act of self-love. Below are some of the postures which will help release endorphins and burst anxiety
- Virasana or hero pose
- Dhanurasana or bow pose
- Padangusthasana or big toe pose
- Matsyasana or fish pose
- Ustrasana or Camel Pose
- Padangusthasana or half-moon Pose
- Padangusthasana or seated forward bend pose
- Utthita Trikonasana or Extended triangle pose
- Uttana Shihosana or extended puppy pose
A study conducted in 2017 suggested that every single session of Hathayoga was effective in reducing stress in the participants. It was found that after every completed yoga session there was a reduction in the blood pressure level. Yoga can be trusted for at least reducing stress and anxiety if not completely eradicated. Do give it a try!