If you're stressed you can really benefit from doing regular yoga. This isn't new information. But why is yoga beneficial for those with anxiety? We spoke to Malvina Risby, founder and director of Hom Yoga in Sydney.
What is it about yoga that helps sooth an anxious mind and body?
“Yogic breathing (pranayama) is an important component of yoga practice as it activates the parasympathetic nervous system to calm the body and neutralise the stress and anxiety triggered by an overactive sympathetic nervous system. Together, the physical postures and breathing exercises of yoga are designed to open up the diaphragm and encourage deeper and more natural breathing."
And how does this help?
"This delivers more oxygen to the blood which is essential for the proper functioning of the brain, nerves, glands and other internal organs. As the brain requires more oxygen than any other organ, if it doesn't receive enough, the result is mental sluggishness, negative thoughts, depression and anxiety. The end result of focused yogic breathing exercises is a more relaxed, in-touch state of mind."
So why the postures with the breathing?
“Asana (physical postures) work to enhance the body's ability to manage stress responses. By placing the body under moderate and controlled physical stress, the individual's resting heart rate reduces, blood pressure is lowered, and breathing is consistent and eased. In effect, yoga works to teach the body to self-regulate, strengthening its ability to respond to stress in a positive manner.”