Teaching Yoga to Reduce Anxiety - Yoga Practice Blog

Teaching Yoga to Reduce Anxiety

teaching Yoga to reduce anxietyBy Faye Martins

Is teaching Yoga to reduce anxiety effectively helping our students? If you watch Yoga students from the moment they come into our classes to the moment they leave, a tremendous transformation occurs. Most students have a facial expression of happiness as they leave their Yoga school. When one becomes a Yoga instructor, it is gratifying to see many people reduce their stress levels. Anxiety can be extremely debilitating for our students. It can prevent them from enjoying life, make it difficult to form lasting relationships with classmates and hinder overall academic or work performance. Fortunately, regular yoga classes are an effective solution for reducing anxiety in students of all ages.



A study published in the International Journal of Yoga Therapy found that after just eight weeks of yoga classes, high school students who suffered from anxiety saw significant reductions in their symptoms. The students who participated in the study reported feeling calmer and more capable of handling stress inside and outside the classroom. Other research has shown that yoga can help to reduce anxiety by promoting positive changes in the brain.



A study published in Frontiers in Human Neuroscience found that after eight weeks of yoga classes, participants had increased levels of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA). This neurotransmitter helps to regulate mood and impulsivity. The participants also had lower levels of cortisol – a hormone associated with stress and anxiety. So how do yoga classes reduce anxiety for our students? By improving mood, promoting relaxation, and increasing feelings of self-efficacy and control.


Anxiety Today

In today’s impossibly fast-paced world, more people are suffering from anxiety. Anxiety can have a serious impact on our everyday lives. It can keep us from doing what we love, and it can keep us from enjoying life. While numerous anti-anxiety medications are available, they are only a temporary fix for a bigger problem. One of the best ways to deal with anxiety is an all-natural practice that will help to encourage calmness – the simple practice of Yoga. It is a viable and useful alternative that can have a positive impact on your mind as well as your overall health.


Reducing Pain

Yoga has long since been known to reduce the number of aches and pains. These issues include headaches, back pains, and carpal tunnel syndrome. The stress and anxiety we experience often manifest themselves in physical ways. Yoga training can help to decrease the pain we experience and help us to strengthen our muscles, and even help change the way our brain perceives certain triggers that bring on stress. Studies have even shown that Yoga exercises can help to lower blood pressure.


Accessible Practice

All too often, people believe they don’t have time for Yoga. However, certain poses can be done anywhere, even at the office. Arm stretches, both seated and standing, can be very beneficial. Chair poses, such as twists, can feel great for the lower back. Another way to incorporate Yogic techniques while sitting at your desk is to do breathing exercises that encourage cleansing of the stress and negativity from the body. Many companies are beginning to see the benefits of offering Yoga classes to their employees because it boosts morale and productivity.


Yoga Poses

Exercises that engage the core increase flexibility, and enhance balance are more than just ways to build muscle. They also take a certain level of concentration and thought. Many asanas are geared toward helping you let go of the stress of your life and create inner balance. Too many of us don’t set enough time aside for ourselves. Still, daily practice and meditation can help make us feel less rushed and more able to live in the moment instead of getting caught up in worry and anxiety.


Mindfulness Meditation

Mindfulness meditation is a form of mindfulness that has been shown to be effective in reducing anxiety. In a mindfulness meditation, you focus your attention on your breath and the sensations in your body. You observe your thoughts and emotions without judging them or trying to change them. This allows you to become more aware of the present moment and to let go of your anxiety about the future or the past. There are many different ways to meditate, but all mindfulness meditation techniques have three things in common: they focus on the present moment, they involve observing your thoughts and emotions without judgment, and they allow you to detach from your thoughts and emotions.


Yoga Nidra for Anxiety

Yoga Nidra, or “yogic sleep,” is a state of deep relaxation that is said to be even more restful than sleep. It is achieved by lying comfortably and focusing on the breath while mentally repeating a mantra or affirmation. Yoga Nidra is an effective way to reduce anxiety. A study published in the journal Frontiers in Psychiatry found that Yoga Nidra could reduce anxiety levels in participants significantly. There are many different ways to practice yoga Nidra, but one of the simplest is to find a comfortable position and focus on your breath. Start by inhaling and exhaling deeply, focus on one area of your body at a time, and tense and relax each muscle group. Once your whole body is relaxed, focus on your breath and repeat a mantra or affirmation to yourself.


Breath Awareness

It is well known that breath awareness can help to calm the nervous system and reduce anxiety. In yoga, we use this breath awareness to help our students learn to control their own anxiety. Here are some tips for teaching yoga to reduce anxiety:

1) Make sure your students are comfortable and relaxed in their Yoga poses. This will help them focus on their breath and not on any external sources of anxiety.

2) Teach your students how to control their breath. Slow, deep breathing has been shown to be one of the most effective ways to reduce anxiety.

3) Help your students focus on their breath by guiding them through a relaxation exercise or meditation. This will allow them to concentrate on their breathing and let go of any other thoughts or worries that may be causing them anxiety.

4) Encourage your students to practice breath awareness on their own time, outside of class. The more they practice, the more effective it will be in reducing their anxiety levels.


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5 thoughts on “Teaching Yoga to Reduce Anxiety”

  1. Thank you for the tips to reduce anxiety. God, I think I need this blog as part of my daily habit. I’ve been extremely depressed and lacking sleep for the past 2 weeks. Thank you for the tips and videos!

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