December 22 2017 – Grace Laurian
Anxiety is a maladaptive response of the brain, meaning that it serves no practical survival function. Fear, anxiety and an excited nervous system are part of a fight-or-flight response that protects us from danger. Anxiety sufferers experience the same hyperactive nervous system, but they do so in benign situations.
Yoga has been shown to counteract this response. Studies have shown that consistent yoga practice can lead to lower heart rate, lower blood pressure, calm breathing and a relaxed thought process in lieu of an overactive cycle of worries and negative thoughts.
Many anxiety sufferers have a low pain tolerance. Chronic pain is common among many people with anxiety disorders. At the University of Utah, regular yoga practice was shown to correlate with a high pain tolerance. The evidence suggests that by relaxing the mind and body, yoga can reduce the pain-related aspects of anxiety.
These studies are part of a growing pool of research that clearly proves that yoga for depression and anxiety can be positively powerful. With tens of thousands of yoga studios in America, this ancient practice is no longer viewed as a new-age pseudoscience. It can deliver powerful results in the treatment of anxiety and the promotion of a relaxed mind and body. Through yoga, anxiety sufferers can take control of their condition and be proactive about its treatment. By engaging in a regular practice, these people can create permanent changes in the way their brain perceives and responds to stress. This approach tackles the deep, root causes of the disorder to make permanent changes that improve well-being.
National Institute of Mental Health