More and more anxiety experts are recommending yoga—along with meditation and other mindfulness techniques—as part of an effective strategy for bringing a worried mind under control. Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the United States.
Of course, for us worrywarts, yoga has a paradoxical downside: We can even get anxious about doing it properly. Unfortunately, some yoga students go to class only to feel the tension ratchet up rather than down as they strain to copy their teachers' elegant poses.
The solution is to keep it simple. Limiting your practice to 15 minutes, or three poses, might be plenty when you're feeling overwhelmed. And feel free to pick and choose, skipping anything that starts the wheels spinning again. Instead of arguing with yourself when you start worrying (which only makes the worry more persistent), try to do the opposite. The yogic practice of noticing thoughts as they come into your mind, but detaching from them, is perfect training for keeping worries in perspective. To ease your worried mind, show up to yoga class, do your best, and let go of the consequences.