The Purpose of Yoga: Releasing Anxiety - Yoga Practice Blog

The Purpose of Yoga: Solutions for Releasing Anxiety

releasing anxietyBy Dr. Paul Jerard, E-RYT 500, YACEP

Many new students ask , “How can Yoga help me with releasing anxiety?” Yoga is a 5,000 year catalog of health solutions and an evolving science of life. Therefore, here are some age old Yogic solutions for releasing anxiety. To make them work, you must realize that you have to make a habit of releasing anxiety, within acceptable limits, all day long. Physical practice of Yoga postures (asanas) will release muscular tension. Make a habit of physically practicing as you sit, stand, or lie down. You do not have to put on a Yoga show to sit straight, stand straight, tilt, twist, or bend.


As humans, we are in motion most of the time, but you can move or stand still with purpose and mindfulness. Once you establish Yoga training into your life off the mat, you will be surprised how often you and people around you are regularly sitting, or standing, in poor posture, during the course of an average day. Self-Observation is very important. As you wake up, observe the muscle groups and joints, which have contracted, as you slept. These contractions can cause daily muscle tension, spasms, pains, and aches. Is the tension in your face, back, neck, shoulders, legs, arms, or hips?


Get to know how your body responds to mild warm-ups and develop routines to compensate for physical tension. The connection between mental and physical tension is symbiotic. If you resolve a physical form of tension, you will resolve mental tension, as well.  In Hatha Yoga, there are more than 1500 postures to choose from. Many of us have seen charts, or books, with 500 to 600 Asanas to choose from. If you become creative, you will soon discover many more while sitting in a chair. You can practice Yoga training while you are at your desk, in your bed, on your couch, on a bus, or when you walk. When you add the breathing component, (pranayama), to your daily life, you have many more combinations of techniques.


Here’s another approach to releasing anxiety and developing your coping skills.. However, you must use it in the right time and place. Do not be silent! Let it out vocally. Some people laugh, pray, sing, cry, or shout, but each method works at the right time. So, be tactful, if you decide to make noise.  If you hold it all in, you will burst – in the figurative and literal sense. Therefore, you have to release or reduce anxiety in some way. Some people roll up the windows in their cars and scream at the top of their lungs. In truth, whatever works is a good thing.


We will not all have the same reactions to anxiety. Some people will laugh, while others cry during identical circumstances. Look at how some people react to losing a job. Some people have a party, while another person may contemplate suicide.  In a typical Yoga class, you may learn mantra and japa. These are powerful methods and are very beneficial in combination with pranayama.  Depending on the style learned, some yoga teacher training courses devote many hours to mantra.  There are many reasons why mantra is good for health.  Mantra allows us to enhance our ability to focus by drowning out noise.  During the day, we absorb a lot of background noise and we also generate our fair share with the number of thoughts, which run through our heads.


Lastly, anxiety is energy, which is not always negative, but can be deflected, transformed, or circulated, throughout your being. Releasing anxiety requires careful daily effort and maintenance. Yogic solutions work, but they must be practiced daily. You do not want to collect and store negative feelings, so carefully release them back into the universe.


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La Torre, G.; Raffone, A.; Peruzzo, M.; Calabrese, L.; Cocchiara, R.A.; D’Egidio, V.; Leggieri, P.F.; Dorelli, B.; Zaffina, S.; Mannocci, A.; YOMIN Collaborative Group. Yoga and Mindfulness as a Tool for Influencing Affectivity, Anxiety, Mental Health, and Stress among Healthcare Workers: Results of a Single-Arm Clinical Trial. J. Clin. Med. 2020, 9, 1037.

La Torre G, Raffone A, Peruzzo M, Calabrese L, Cocchiara RA, D’Egidio V, Leggieri PF, Dorelli B, Zaffina S, Mannocci A, YOMIN Collaborative Group. Yoga and Mindfulness as a Tool for Influencing Affectivity, Anxiety, Mental Health, and Stress among Healthcare Workers: Results of a Single-Arm Clinical Trial. Journal of Clinical Medicine. 2020; 9(4):1037.

La Torre, Giuseppe; Raffone, Antonino; Peruzzo, Margherita; Calabrese, Lucia; Cocchiara, Rosario A.; D’Egidio, Valeria; Leggieri, Pasquale F.; Dorelli, Barbara; Zaffina, Salvatore; Mannocci, Alice; YOMIN Collaborative Group. 2020. “Yoga and Mindfulness as a Tool for Influencing Affectivity, Anxiety, Mental Health, and Stress among Healthcare Workers: Results of a Single-Arm Clinical Trial” J. Clin. Med. 9, no. 4: 1037.

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