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Antidotes to Anxiety

While any yoga program can help ease social anxiety, three poses are especially helpful.

The practice of yoga offers solutions to all types of stress, including social anxiety. Here are three poses that can be especially helpful.

Crocodile Pose: This is a deceptively simple posture that can deliver dramatic benefits. Relax on your stomach with arms folded on the floor above your head. Similar to Savasana (Corpse Pose), in which you lie face-up, Crocodile Pose allows you to release all of your tension, but because it puts your belly and face to the ground, it can make a socially anxious person feel less exposed and vulnerable. In Crocodile Pose, you can practice yogic breathing (consciously using your diaphragm), which feels both calming and empowering.

Seated Twists: Seated twists of all kinds are powerful anxiety relievers. They teach you to relax even when you find yourself in a tight spot. Once a deep twist has been achieved in the pose of your choice, focus on the breath. You'll soon discover that breathing relieves the anxiety and discomfort of the pose. Next, you can apply this insight to other life situations—going to a party, sitting in a meeting, or talking with people.

Headstand: More advanced yoga students can practice Sirsasana (Headstand), which is great for increasing balance and strength and can also stimulate mental clarity. Holding Headstand can be tough, but it's an effective way to calm anxious thoughts and build confidence.

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Reader Comments

choni

Thank you Chista, for I have a friend who gets anxiety attacks almost everyday but guess what only recently a blood test revealed a thyroid problem.

Christa

Before you decide to use anxiety as a tool for personal transformation, be very aware that there are real -- sometimes dangerous -- physical causes for severe/sudden onset symptoms. MVP(mitral valve prolapse), thyroid disorders, and hormonal imbalance are among them. Once you've ruled these out, you can certainly make use of meditation, asanas, and various grounding techniques to help you cope.

Laura

I reccommend Virasana. Sit as high as you like, put a blanket down to protect your knees, and root your ischials (sitting bones) deep into the earth while extending the spine upward. This increases apana. Slow even inhalation and exhalation, as in viloma pranayama, helps lower anxiety.
This can be done in a chair at a desk too.
And finally, if a couple can prepare to agree to disagree in this way for 5 minutes before what is anticipated to be a difficult conversation, each will be centered in their selves, yet connected through the breathing. Namaste.

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