yoga treatment of anxiety

Yoga is a group of physical, mental, and spiritual practices or disciplines which originated in ancient India and aim to control and still the mind, recognizing a detached witness-consciousness untouched by the mind and mundane suffering. Yoga is a system of exercises for the body that involves breath control and helps relax both  the mind and body.

It is a Hindu philosophy which aims to unite the self with the spirit of the universe. According to the great Indian saga and yoga master Sri Aurobindo, “Yoga is a methodical effort toward self-perfection through developing your talent potential on the physical, vital, mental, intellectual, and spiritual levels. And the most fundamental step you can take toward expanding the limits of your consciousness is to gain mastery over your mind.”

Therefore, yoga is an extraordinary spiritual science of self-development and self-realization that shows how to develop the full potential in our many sided lives. It was first devised by the rishis and sages of ancient India and has been maintained by a stream of living teachers ever since, who have continually adapted this science to every generation. 

The scientific evidence of yoga practice is traced back to pre-vedic age, the time of Indus Valley Civilization (3000 BC) before the Aryan civilization started to flourish in the Indus subcontinent.  In archaeological excavations made in the Indus Valley at Mohenjo-Daro a figure is found that archeologists believe represents a yogi sitting in meditation posture.

The figure is shown sitting in a cross-legged traditional yoga pose with its hands resting on its knees. Archeologist Sir John Marshall, the discoverer of the seal named the figure Shiva  Pashupati.  According to Indian mythology Lord Adi Nath, the other name for Lord Shiva is believed to be the founder of yoga and Parvati his divine consort first disciple.

Yoga’s integrative approach brings deep harmony and unshakable balance to body and mind in order to awaken the latent capacity for a higher consciousness that is the true purpose of human evolution. The many methods of yoga spans a vast range from physical postures to breathing practices and meditation, all based upon a philosophy of consciousness and natural way of life.

The classic definition of yoga extracted from Geeta is “Samatvam Yoga Uchyate” that means  Yoga is to keep the mind balanced and equanimous in all vicissitudes of life. 

Introduction

The word ‘Yoga’ is derived from the Sanskrit root ‘Yuj’, meaning ‘to join’ or ‘to yoke’ or ‘to unite’. As per Yogic scriptures the practice of Yoga leads to the union of individual consciousness with that of the Universal Consciousness, indicating a perfect harmony between the mind, body and soul. Perceived stress and anxiety can be a normal and healthy response to life circumstances. But for some, the fast pace and uncertainty of modern society causes debilitating levels of stress and anxiety. 

Anxiety and unmanaged stress hurts our quality of life and is responsible for an increase in health issues and disorders across the world. It is a psycho-social crisis that has been accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic. The rate of anxiety in the globe is increasing rapidly, only in the US it has increased more than triple in the second quarter of 2019 during the COVID pandemic lockdown.

It has been increased from 8.1% in 2019 to 25.5% in 2020. The resulting negative emotions are not only traumatic, but also make our immune systems more vulnerable. It is difficult but doable to manage these draining emotions.

Yoga steps make it more vulnerable such as exercise, breathing technique, relaxation and meditation have all been shown to mitigate anxiety. Traditional yoga is a practice that combines all four techniques on which most of the people are relying on to manage their anxiety.

Additionally, in the post COVID era yoga is getting recognition and the same level of attention as other medical research and medication are receiving. Healthcare professionals are finding consensus around why yoga is such a powerful tool for regulating emotions and reducing anxiety. 

Below points elaborates on how yoga is growing medical recognition as a treatment for anxiety.

Yoga as a Mind-Body Treatment

Yoga works as a Mind-Body treatment in case anxiety increases, it may start to interfere with everyday activities and overall well-being and thereby meet the criteria for an anxiety disorder such as generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). Mentally, this includes pervasive day-long exaggerated worry and tension, inability to relax, difficulty concentrating, anticipation of disaster and excessive concern about life issues. Patients are unable to control this even though they realize that their anxiety is more intense than is warranted. However, many anxiety symptoms are actually physical, such as muscle tension, trembling, sweating and insomnia. Such symptoms are due to an activation of the fight or flight stress response, which prepares both the mind and body for real or imagined threats by causing significant changes in the body, mind and emotions.

The physical components of yoga practice work effectively on anxiety symptoms in the body while also impacting mental functioning through the mind-body connection. Overall, these skills make it possible to have a degree of control over our emotional state and how we respond to stressful events. It’s what makes the mind-body practice of Yoga so powerful.

Scientific acknowledgement to Yoga for anxiety treatment

Yoga has a positive impact on anxiety and its disorder. Yoga is an effective and safe intervention for individuals with anxiety disorders or with elevated levels of anxiety. Other researchers have also found adequate evidence to suggest that yoga for children and adolescents may also reduce anxiety.

Moreover, Kundalini Yoga’s efficiency in improving emotional well-being. That work has contributed to a study that showed positive benefits of a Kundalini Yoga treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Kundalini Yoga is a credible treatment. It is more effective than stress education in treating GAD, though not as effective as the CBT gold standard. Given that conventional treatments of GAD are not fully effective or easily accessible for everyone. Therefore, it is adequate to say that use of yoga is an essential treatment for anxiety and its disorder. 

Importance of Home yoga for Treatment for Anxiety

It is an essential step to do yoga continuously at home on a regular basis. While medical professionals and researchers are putting efforts to establish the medical entitlement to yoga, people can also adopt yoga exercises at home to cure and treat the anxiety and anxiety disorder. One of the many beautiful aspects of yoga is that it does not require special equipment, only a yoga mat is sufficient to continue the home yoga, so it is easy for the people to continue practicing Kundalini Yoga at their comfort place at home.

It is so helpful to perform Kundalini sequence or meditation to cure or treat anxiety or anxiety disorder. Patients can easily try a Kundalini sequence or meditation at home whenever they feel disturbed, anxious or worried. It is always best to learn with a qualified Kundalini instructor to ensure practicing and performing properly, but there are plenty of techniques patients easily perform on their own while socially distancing and living at their comfort zone.

Yoga is a methodical effort toward self-perfection through developing your talent potential on the physical, vital, mental, intellectual, and spiritual levels. And the most fundamental step you can take toward expanding the limits of your consciousness is to gain mastery over your mind. Yoga steps make it more vulnerable such as exercise, breathing technique, relaxation and meditation have all been shown to mitigate anxiety. Traditional yoga is a practice that combines all four techniques on which most of the people are relying on to manage their anxiety. 

Conclusion

Moreover, Kundalini Yoga’s efficiency in improving emotional well-being. That work has contributed to a study that showed positive benefits of a Kundalini Yoga treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Kundalini Yoga is a credible treatment.

It is more effective than stress education in treating GAD, though not as effective as the CBT gold standard. Given that conventional treatments of GAD are not fully effective or easily accessible for everyone. Therefore, it is adequate to say that use of yoga is an essential treatment for anxiety and its disorder. 

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