about yoga class sequencingBy Ishrattasleem Tasleem

Research and clinical studies about Yogic therapy seem to indicate that the mind and body are connected with each other in a holistic way. In turn, yoga works to reduce suffering from mental distress, depression and anxiety, with daily practice. Everyone experiences feelings of stress and anxiety at times in his or her life. When the level of stress reaches the highest degree of tolerance, it pushes us into a state we call: “panic attacks.”

These attacks are distinguished by steadily increasing and overpowering anxiety, triggered by physical sensations, such as: Rapid heart rate, increase in palpitations of the heart, sweating, choking, chest pain, dizziness, and nausea. Anxiety amplifies the amount of fearful thoughts and unpleasant emotions we experience in an average day. Nowadays, these panic attacks can be treated easily and effectively by several alternative medicinal treatments, such as tai chi, qi gong, psychotherapy, yoga and meditation.

Within recent years, yoga therapy has been taught as a helpful alternative way to recover from panic attacks. Yoga includes a cycle of stretching and breathing techniques that help one in finding a complete sense of relaxation, balance, and stability in the body and mind.

Yogic therapy helps in regaining the strength of the body, but also focuses on the stability and poise of the mind. According to some medical researchers, yogic methods can be helpful in reducing one’s stress and anxiety levels. During the regular performance of both asana and pranayama, a great amount of constant worry can be released from the body and mind. This release of energy helps us let go of negative energy. Students practicing yoga can handle anxiety with ease and comfort with the help of yogic tools. In some cases, anxiety will be controlled permanently and constant worry may never bother you again, if yoga is performed daily with complete concentration and focus.

Yoga techniques for reducing panic attacks:

Some of the yoga exercises listed below will help bring back confidence and focus, and also help in fighting anxiety.

• Lotus Posture (Padmasana) and Easy Pose (Sukasana) are two of the most important panic- relieving positions. During such a position, a person is bound to sit cross-legged in such a way that the hands are placed above the knees, with the palms facing upwards. During this position, breathing in and breathing out should be practiced gently and continuously.

• The second most important posture is Legs-up-the-Wall Pose (Viparita Karani), which helps people going through anxiety and panic attacks. The technique gives a relaxing, gentle and rejuvenating effect. This posture is done by lying flat on your back and by keeping your legs straight up into the air with the support of a wall. The pose is to be held for one to five minutes. Concentrate on breathing in and out while performing this asana (posture). This asana is one of the most helpful postures to calm your nerves and regulate your breathing.

• Heart opening postures, such as: Fish, Camel, and Cow pose help to release anxiety and negative energy from the mind and body. Such postures help the practitioner in practicing easy breathing techniques, while stress and anxiety are purged from the core of the body.

• Relaxing asanas, like extended child pose, help in calming the body when you are under a great deal of stress. Yoga, when performed calmly, always results in providing soothing and relaxing sensation and helps you find logical solutions for your problems.

Resources:

Medical Hypotheses, Volume 78, Issue 5, Pages 571-579

C.C. Streeter, P.L. Gerbarg, R.B. Saper, D.A. Ciraulo, R.P. Brown

Breathing Training for Treating Panic Disorder: Useful Intervention or Impediment?

Behav Modif October 1, 2003 27:731-754

Respiratory Biofeedback-Assisted Therapy in Panic Disorder

Behav Modif September 1, 2001 25:584-605

Treating Anxiety in a Managed Care Setting: A Controlled Comparison of Medication Alone Versus Medication Plus Cognitive-Behavioral Group Therapy

Research on Social Work Practice March 1, 1999 9:188-200

“I Am a Nice Person When I Do Yoga!!!”: A Qualitative Analysis of How Yoga Affects Relationships

J Holist Nurs 2014;32:2 67-77

Mindfulness, spiritual well-being, and visual impairment: An exploratory study

British Journal of Visual Impairment 2014;32:2 108-123

The Effects of Exercise Training on Anxiety

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A systematic review of yoga for state anxiety: Considerations for occupational therapy / Revue systematique sur l’efficacite du yoga pour traiter l’anxiete reactionnelle : Facteurs a considerer en ergotherapie

Canadian Journal of Occupational Therapy 2013;80:3 150-170

Investigating the Perceived Feasibility of Integrative Medicine in a Conventional Oncology Setting: Yoga Therapy as a Treatment for Breast Cancer Survivors

Integr Cancer Ther 2013;12:2 103-112

Investigating the Perceived Feasibility of Integrative Medicine in a Conventional Oncology Setting: Yoga Therapy as a Treatment for Breast Cancer Survivors

Integr Cancer Ther 2013;12:2 103-112

Randomized Controlled Trial of Yoga Among a Multiethnic Sample of Breast Cancer Patients: Effects on Quality of Life

JCO 2007;25:28 4387-4395