Anxiety affects around 40 million adults every year. It can be a highly uncomfortable experience that disrupts our everyday lives. There are many natural remedies scientifically proven to ease anxiety, including yoga and meditation. One study in particular has proven that yoga has helped to significantly decrease symptoms of stress and anxiety in those that practice. The following sequence is designed with the intention of calming anxiety and easing the mind. Practice this sequence for a sense of calm in the body and peace of mind.
Find a comfortable seat, spine long and upright and relax the palms down on the thighs. Take a few deep breaths to allow the body to settle. Begin to deepen the breath and direct it into the abdominal area, expanding the diaphragm on the inhale, and allowing it to shrink on the exhale. Direct your entire awareness to the sensation of the breath entering and leaving the body. When you notice your mind begin to wander, gently and non judgmentally redirect your awareness back to the sensation of the breath. Sit in stillness for 5-10 minutes.
Child's pose (Balasana)
Separate your knees hips width distance apart on the mat. Sit back onto your heels as you extend the arms forward, coming into balasana, child’s pose. Allow your chest to be heavy and keep your palms and forehead planted on the mat. Feel the connection of your body on the earth, and breathe into that grounding sensation. Hold this posture for 10 breaths, allowing the body to soften deeper with every exhale.
Shift forward into a table top position. Keep your wrists stacked underneath your shoulders and knees underneath your hips. As you inhale, drop the belly and bring your gaze toward the ceiling. As you exhale, press the mat away and arch the spine as you bring your gaze toward your navel. Continue moving through these motions slowly and intentionally for 8-12 rounds, connecting deeply with your breath.
Half Pigeon (Eka Pada Rajakapotanasna)
Place your right knee behind your right wrist and allow the shin to become parallel with the front of the mat. Extend your left leg long behind you and square the hips. Place your palms back by your hips and press into them to open up the heart on an inhale, and then exhale fold forward, bringing your chest down to the mat. If your right hip is coming off the mat, you may place a blanket underneath the hip for support and to help keep the hips squared. Hold for 10-20 breaths, breathing deeply and then switching sides.
Reclined butterfly (Supta Baddha Konasana)
Make your way onto your back. Place the souls of the feel together and allow the knees to fall apart. If needed, you can place the support of blocks or blankets underneath the knees to ease the stretch in the hips. Place one hand on your heart and the other on your belly as you deepen the breath. Allow your body to heavy and relax with each exhale, holding for 20 breaths.
Transition into waterfall pose by simply extending the legs up toward the sky. You may need to adjust the prop underneath you to feel supported. Keep a slight bend in the knees and allow your legs to be soft. Relax deeply and hold the posture for up to 20 breaths.
Find your way onto your back for a final resting posture. Allow your arms and legs to come out long and away from your body. Let go of any breath control and allow your body to relax and be heavy. Hold this posture for 5-7 minutes, coming up slowly when you are finished to begin your day.