Fighting Anxiety and Panic Attacks through Yoga

Many situations can cause people to experience bouts of anxiety or panic attacks. It could be a scheduled exam, traveling to a new place, being alone in a room, or speaking in front of many people. Of course, these situations do not have the same effect on everyone, and the gravity of the condition usually depends on how the person reacts to the situation.    

 Although the severe conditions may necessitate medication or regular therapy, less serious ones are best treated naturally. It would benefit an individual suffering from anxiety or panic attacks to develop some natural coping practices. One ideal technique is yoga. 

 Conscious Deep Breathing    

 Being mindful of your breathing is both a physical and mental exercise. Slowly taking deep and full breaths and concentrating on the act takes the focus away from the trigger or the thoughts that aggravate your feeling of anxiousness. In panic mode, breathing becomes short and shallow, but with conscious regulation of breathing, a calming effect sets in, negating the start of anxiety.      
Through your nose, gradually take a deep breath that fills the lungs entirely, then exhale just as slowly. In deep breathing, also called diaphragmatic breathing, the abdomen expands instead of the chest because of diaphragm contraction. Place your palm on your abdomen and notice the expansion. Be aware of the coolness of the air you inhale and warmth of the air you exhale.  


  A mantra, a word or phrase or even a sound or syllable repeated with every exhale, is another useful tool in yoga to divert your attention from your anxiety. Some think that the mantra technique needs a foreign word, usually Sanskrit, or a word or phrase that is considered official. This is not a requirement. You can use any word that you could think of that fits the moment. 


Anxiety, other than causing emotional imbalance, can also manifest itself physically. It causes the muscles to tense up, producing aches in different parts of the body. Yoga incorporates poses and stretches that will loosen up the body and relieve it of tension and also facilitate proper breathing. There are basic poses and stretches that are easy to execute and that don't require sophisticated equipment. An example is the child's pose. Considered as one of the most comforting asanas, or yoga poses, the child pose allows the body and the mind to relax when in panic mode. Spread out your yoga mat, get on your knees and with hands flat on your mat, slowly lean forward until your forehead touches the mat. Extend your arms forward with palms down on the mat, or you can put your arms at the sides, palms up. Take in deep breathes and concentrate on the act.      

Anxiety and panic attacks may be serious health concerns, but before you pop a pill, try the natural healing benefits yoga can offer.    

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