Which Yogasan is best for fighting depression

Yoga Against Anxiety: How To Overcome Your Fears

We all know the feeling of fear. Fear can save our lives and protect us from wrong decisions or harm. But it can also paralyze us, keep us from doing projects and sometimes even determine our everyday lives. In each of us fear is triggered by something different, everyone perceives it differently and evaluates it differently.

What we all have in common, however, is that we want to be able to deal with our fear well. More and more people are discovering yoga as their way to learn how to deal positively with their fears. Fear does not become an obstacle, but perhaps even a pleasant companion.

In this article you will learn how yoga against anxiety can specifically help you to get to know your fears better, to make peace with them and to go through your life with less fear.

Why do we have fears?

From the day we are born there is fear in our life. That sounds dramatic, but it's just as natural as it is necessary. Fear is one of our basic emotions and has brought us to where we are today. If humans weren't afraid, our ancestors would have fought a fight with the saber-toothed tiger instead of fleeing and it is very likely that they would have died out.

Fear is a good thing. She wants to protect us. Less common today than the saber-toothed tiger, but there are still more than enough good reasons for it to be used. In our everyday life we ​​come across countless situations that can trigger fears in us. And it's almost never really about our survival. Because we are just as afraid of a job interview, a conflict with a friend or moving to a new city.

What happens to me when I'm scared?

We all know this queasy feeling in our stomach, as if the stomach were sliding down a floor. Our heart beats faster, our hands work up a sweat, and our bodies become shaky. All of these reactions are justified and generally make sense.

They prepared us for battle earlier - “Fight or Flight”. Our sympathetic nervous system is booted up, the blood rushes from the head to the legs, we are prepared to run or fight. All other functions are shut down: recovery, sleep, digestion are now on the back burner. As soon as the danger is over, there is a balance - the parasympathetic nervous system is activated and ensures that our body recovers from the exertion.

What if my fear is no longer useful?

But what if this change from tension to relaxation no longer takes place? This is the case for many people who have an anxiety disorder. They feel fear much more often and more intensely than others and thus repeatedly come into a state of excitement.

Anxiety disorders are a very broad field, but regardless of whether they are generalized anxiety disorder, social phobia or panic disorder - the principle is always the same: Different situations or stimuli trigger fear in the person, although these do not serve to protect or survive. The sympathetic nervous system is thereby activated excessively frequently and strongly and puts the person in a constant state of tension.

How does yoga work against anxiety?

Activating our autonomic nervous system is not a one-way street. Just as fear can activate our sympathetic nervous system and put us under tension, we can activate its opponent, the parasympathetic nervous system, through targeted relaxation. Once we have understood these interrelationships, a big step has already been taken.

Because a very crucial aspect of anxiety disorders is the feeling of loss of control. People with an anxiety disorder usually feel that they are powerless to deal with their fear, which in turn increases the fear. This vicious circle can be broken if we realize that we can very well influence our fear. Most of the fear takes place outside, triggered by external stimuli, situations, and perceived dangers.

In anti-fear yoga, we direct our attention away from the outside world and towards ourselves. This inner awareness is essential when it comes to fear. In yoga we learn to observe our physical reactions as well as our thoughts closely. Only when we see and understand what is happening in us can we influence it.

Just breathe away your fear with yoga breathing exercises?

All breathing techniques are primarily about consciously perceiving and controlling the breath. In this way we learn to influence our physical functions and feel this directly.

An example: We are about to take an important test. We're scared, our hands get wet, our heads suddenly seem empty. We breathe shallowly and quickly. Just a few deep, calm breaths in the stomach, eyes closed, let us think more clearly again.

What sounds so banal and simple is much more than the often heard "just take a deep breath". Through targeted breathing techniques, called pranayama in yoga, nerve tracts of the parasympathetic nervous system can be activated, which brings us into a state of relaxation. Once you have internalized the techniques, you can use yoga against fear and emerging panic in everyday situations. Plus, doing yoga regularly can also improve your sleep.

Numerous studies have already proven the positive effects of pranayama on various psychological variables. With regular practice, the number of attacks has decreased in people with panic disorder, and in people with generalized anxiety disorder, the level of tension due to the breathing exercises decreased. And for that you don't have to be a yoga guru or have years of experience. With a few targeted exercises, you can take control of a large part of your fear and help yourself in tricky situations.

Yoga against fear

Simple exercises for at home

Observe a relaxed mind

In addition to breathing techniques, asanas, physical exercises and meditation are also part of the yoga teaching. Meditation is a great way to observe and understand yourself better. This also includes physical sensations such as your heart pounding or your breath.

That is why it is particularly valuable to do small check-ups and scan your body during yoga practice. You will notice that many of the sensations that you are also familiar with from experiencing fear will occur. Noticing these and feeling them subside is very effective in reducing the fear of fear.

Here you can see in the video which breathing techniques and asanas are particularly suitable for overcoming feelings of fear and activating courage and strength in you. Perhaps there is one or the other exercise for you that you can take with you and that gives you the good feeling of having something in your hand when you are afraid.

Categories Anxiety & PanicTags Anxiety, Anxiety Management, Exercise, Yoga