Yoga Therapy for Anxiety Disorders
The Mind is always busy with one or other thoughts, which may be necessary or unnecessary. Becoming A master of the mind is not very easy. Mind, more specifically thoughts affect perceptions and behaviour altogether. To control one's thoughts either can interrupt and replace them or can vanish them out of the mind. Mind and body are interrelated and interdependent. Nowadays the stress and anxiety are very common problems which mind and further affect the body. A person’s problem with anxiety, can range from mild to severe. Anxiety disorders are common in all age groups.
What causes Anxiety disorders?
Normally we feel anxious in many of the situations in our life, but if it is constantly disturbing and interfering our day to day activities, then we call it as Anxiety disorder. There are a number of causes which leads to anxiety disorders. The areas of brain centres that control fear and emotions may involve in some cases. Genetic and environmental factors may contribute to the development of this problem.
Some of the common external factors which cause anxiety disorders include:
▪ Work Stress.
▪ Stress in a personal relationship such as marriage.
▪ Financial problems.
▪ Tension due to some serious illness.
▪ Side effects of some long term medication etc.
Types of anxiety disorders
➢ Generalised anxiety disorder.
Most of the people feel anxious and worried, while facing some stressful situations like competitions, exams, speaking in public etc. These are all constant worries and fears which distract day to day life activities. Symptoms include insomnia, stomach upset, restlessness, fatigue etc.
➢ Panic disorder
Repeated unexpected panic attacks with no warnings which can leads to many problems in daily life show symptoms like sweating, shortness of breath, elevated heart rate etc.
➢ Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.
Some people experience obsessive thoughts and compulsive behaviour which become so excessive which they might not be able to control. It is characterized by unwanted thoughts and behaviours which they feel compelled to perform. For e.g. Excessive double checking of things such as locks, switches etc.
If someone has intense fears of things which are not that dangerous, this condition we can call as phobia. Common phobia includes fear to animals, fear of heights, fear of closed rooms etc.
➢ Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD)
Fear of seeing negatively by others and humiliated in public is the main characteristic feature of SAD. Meeting unfamiliar people and performing in front of others will be giving trouble to these people with SAD.
➢ Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder(PTSD)
If a person experiences --a trauma in life either physically or emotionally which can cause an anxiety problem, it is called PTSD.
Yoga Therapy for Anxiety Disorders.
Yoga is a natural way which is helpful to remove or overcome these deep rooted worries and fears. It is A mind - body connection. Yoga includes asana, breathing techniques and pranayama, meditation and relaxation techniques, used to counter the effects of stress and anxiety and is cost-effective and easy to implement. If a person is having a long term history of anxiety disorder or if it is severe, then it is better to go for a counselling first and then later to continue with the therapy.
A few asanas like Vrikshasana, Tadasana, Vajrasana, Shashankasana, Shavasana, Uttanpadasana, Makarasana coupled with pranayama like anulom- vilom, on a regular basis, helps to flush out all the negative thoughts and tiredness of the minds.
Observe how deep your inhalation and exhalation is. Hold your breath for a few seconds after exhalation. If the negative thoughts are again disturbing, then open the eyes and feel the abdominal and chest movements while breathing. Repeat the same which helps to reduce the continuous thoughts of the mind.
Relaxation techniques such as deep relaxation techniques and yoga nidra are very beneficial in anxiety disorders. Yoga nidra is qualitatively different from relaxation. It is a ‘sleep’ where all the burdens are thrown off to attain a more blissful state of awareness, a relaxation much more intense than ordinary sleep. Yoga Nidra aims to focus the mind to achieve relaxation and increase wellness.
During anxiety and depression, there is a decrease in neurotransmitters such as serotonin and norepinephrine. Besides, an increased level of cortisol has a role in causing depression by regulating the function of serotonin and norepinephrine. Yoga helps in decreasing the cortisol levels leading to a counter-regulatory effect to reduce the depressive and anxiety symptoms.
Meditation can be done for improving the concentration and to stabilize the mind. It has been proven to be a very good solution for stress management. This practice is a promising new treatment for stress related disorders. Meditation indicates a potential role in reducing maladaptive and compulsive behaviours. These techniques alter theta and alpha EEG patterns significantly more than regular relaxation.
Yoga is important in day to day life, not only for the people who have anxiety disorders, but to improve the overall health and quality of life. Regular practice of yoga helps to achieve peacefulness of body and mind.
“YOGA a secret of being healthy.”