Application of Yoga in Relieving Anxiety

Breathing exercises and yoga are considered to be excellent in controlling stress and anxiety. Yoga is a combination of slow physical movements, meditation, relaxation with gentle and deep breathing exercises that help in lowering muscle tension, relaxing the nervous system and lowers heart rate, thereby relieving anxiety.

Certain sequences and simple breathing exercises that are explained below can be practiced with slow and gentle movements for relief from anxiety. However, these yoga postures are not recommended for individuals with hypertension, pregnant women, women with heart disease, epilepsy or individuals affected with stroke.

Gentle Breathing Exercise – Lie on the back, in a comfortable and calm place, breathing slowly through the nose. Inhale air deeply into the lungs by expanding the abdomen completely. While exhaling, contract the abdomen gently and exhale completely. This process can be repeated several times.

Standing prayer position – Stand tall, with the feet kept apart in line with the width of the hips. Join the palms in front of the chest. Raise the joint palms overhead by inhaling simultaneously. The shoulders can then be relaxed and brought down into the back. The hands can then be separated, by exhaling simultaneously and the hands can be swept down to the sides and again brought back to the initial prayer position. This can be repeated several times, taking care to breath deeper and longer each time at a slower pace.

This entire process can be repeated by reversing the breathing process, i.e., by inhaling while separating the hands and exhaling while joining the palms.

Apart from these simple exercises, certain Asanas like Ujjayi (Victorious breath), The Corpse Pose, The Shoulderstand, Alternate Nostril Breathing and Pranayama is recommended for Anxiety. It is suggested that before starting practice for control of anxiety, one should stand for a minimum of ten minutes in The Corpse Pose to remove thoughts of past experiences and future to gain attention during the practice.

Individuals who are struggling with chronic and debilitating mental health problems can research other forms of stress treatment.


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