Any sickness or disease usually indicates a kind of imbalance- be it in the body or in the mind. The job of healers (doctors) is then to find it and determine methods (medications or therapies) to restore balance. Nothing does it better than the slow-moving exercise known as ‘Yoga’. The health benefits of yoga are so many that we won’t be able to cover all of them in one article. This will focus on yoga as the most natural anxiety relief. However, we promise that E-Medz Solution will probe deep into it and publish several more articles on the different yoga benefits such as ‘Yoga for weight loss‘, and ‘Yoga for pain relief‘. Although in this article we’ll focus on Anxiety, Depression, and Panic disorder, let’s first see where Yoga comes from.
The History of Yoga
What does Yoga Mean?
This is an Indian art, and the word ‘Yoga’ comes from the ancient language, Sanskrit. The root word is ‘Jog’, which means to connect. So what does that have to do with Yoga? Well, obviously the practitioners, A.K.A. Yogis, wanted to connect themselves to the entire universe. They divided their practices into two.
A type of Yoga where they tried sitting still to silence the mind in order to make a deeper connection to the universe. However, after sitting for a long time (Sometimes days), the body started to complain. The back started to hurt, and muscles seemed to get sore. After all, even the greatest Yogis in ancient times were still humans. It was Buddha who learned later that you cannot discount the body, and he got enlightened, but Buddha did not come up with the movements. It was the Yogis who followed him after. They came up with the Yoga Exercises.
2. Yoga Exercises
A type of slow-moving set of exercises to restore balance to the body. Just like medication, it focuses on breathing while moving the body in an elegant fashion. This creates a light pressure and stress on the body parts, which in turn, increases blood flow, promotes distribution of nutrients, and releases the joints. The idea is to bring flexibility, and comfort to the body parts that get stiff during long meditations. Later, they found out that you could also stimulate the energy centers (Chakra). Medically, we know these as glands. There are hormonal glands located in different parts of the body. Stimulate them, and they will flow. With the right stimulation, you can basically do almost everything. For example, if you can stimulate the flow of Endorphins, you get rid of pain right away.
Later on, when Indian Yogis spread throughout Asia, the Chinese martial artists, recognized the value of this practice and incorporated Yoga into their martial arts, and came up with Ti Chi and even acupuncture.
And now, you can find a Yoga studio almost anywhere in the world. Only on Manhattan Island, NY, there are 600+ yoga studios.
What is Anxiety Disorder?
Anxiety is a natural feeling. Sometimes, it is even good because a certain level of anxiety makes people perform better at jobs. Yet, when anxiety becomes so severe that it starts to cause physical problems, and the patient becomes a danger to himself or others, we call it Anxiety Disorder.
If you haven’t yet, we recommend our article “Is your Anxiety Killing You Softly- An Anxiety FAQ”. It’ll tell you everything you need to know about Anxiety Disorder and how it affects us physically.
Norepinephrine (Adrenalin) is the anxiety hormone. Those who have a disorder, generally tend to have an uncontrollable flow of Norepinephrine in their body followed by a type of circumstance we know as ‘Trigger’.
How Can Yoga Help with Anxiety Disorder?
Yoga can be the cheapest natural anxiety relief. It does not necessarily stop the flow of Norepinephrine, but it can increase the level of other hormones such as Endorphins and Dopamine that counteract Norepinephrine. It has the uncanny ability to target specific hormonal glands and stimulate them. Old Indian Yogis called the process ‘Opening the Chakras‘. Furthermore, Yoga is a balancing act. If there is an unbalanced flow or certain chemicals, Yoga can act to neutralize them.
So yes, Yoga can help relieve anxiety and stress significantly. However, Yoga should be considered as maintenance and not an immediate solution. If a person is having an anxiety attack, it is highly recommended that he/she take the prescribed medications although slow and deep breathing, which is the Yoga essential, can help immensely.
We also have a list of proper anxiety medications and how they work in a separate article:
Over time, by increasing the flow of Endorphins and Dopamine, you can slowly get rid of anxiety. Endorphin is similar to morphine that relaxes the body and relieves pain, and Dopamine is a reward hormone that simply makes you ‘feel good‘. A lot of Dopamine is released during and after sex so you know how it feels.
If you practice Yoga Exercises for only 20 minutes a day twice a day -morning and evening before meals, you will restore balance to your body and significantly reduce the possibility of having an anxiety attack.
Of course, we can teach or write about the Yoga poses and exercises in this article, but wouldn’t it be better if you just watched some videos? Below are links to several YouTube channels that have lessons on Yoga for beginners and Yoga for Anxiety relief. See how you can get rid of your stress in 15-20 minutes. Check them out:
Yoga Instruction Videos:
Channel: Yoga With Adriene
Channel: SharahBeth Yoga
Should I Practice Yoga at home or at a Yoga Studio?
That is your choice. In the age of information, you can watch some videos online and learn to practice them at home. However, if you have access to a yoga studio near you, why not give it a try? A certified yoga instructor can teach you properly and fix the yoga poses if you are doing them wrong. Videos can’t do that. Once you have learned your Yoga moves properly, you can then practice at home. Yet, practicing together in a social setting is way better than practicing alone. Yoga studios also have the perfect environment that calms people.
We have heard of a yoga studio in the UK that offers Nude Yoga or Naked Yoga classes in a co-ed setting.
Naked Yoga has nothing to do with sex.
according to them.
Practitioners feel comfortable and confident in their own skin when they do those Yoga poses naked.
We’re not judging, try it out. It turns out that this practice is not a modern thing. Ancient Indian Yogis practiced it too.
What About Meditation for Anxiety?
Most of the recommendations here focused on the Yoga Exercise and not the Meditation part. There is a reason for that. People suffering from anxiety can’t stop thinking for a long time, which is what meditation is all about. You can try out meditation, but if you fail to stop your mind from thinking, after the meditation, you will feel even more irritated. We would not recommend it until you have learned to calm yourself down through Yoga Exercises. It may take up to three months and then, meditation will be relevant.
If you are in therapy, your psychiatrist is going to tell you when you can meditate. It generally happens after the part called “Acceptance”.
If your anxiety is severe and you take medications for it, you might want to know about the medications and your options. In that case, we recommend our article on Anti-Anxiety Medications.