I have battled with anxiety my entire life and while I don’t think yoga is a substitute for medical treatment, I can share firsthand that it is an incredible compliment and tool. In fact, this is one of the aspects of yoga that has been best studied, particularly, when it comes to women’s health. Data tells us that women tend to be twice as vulnerable than males to stress and anxiety overall, and this has been holding true during COVID-19.
A recent study showed that yoga significantly decreased symptoms of both depression and anxiety in women after just 12 sessions. And a COVID-19 specific study looking at the effects of yoga on anxiety on people who just started practicing during the pandemic and those who were regular practitioners found vast improvements of well-being across both groups. Meaning, you don’t have to be a yoga expert or daily practitioner to experience yoga’s benefits!
I know that one of the things that causes great anxiety for me is a lack of time (WAU?). Although I know yoga helps, when I don’t have time for a super long practice, I get doubly anxious. But these studies and more show us that we don’t need two hours to reap yoga’s benefits.
Even if you only have 5 minutes (which guess what: we all have!), doing any kind of yoga asana has been shown help improve anxiety.
Try this 4 pose sequence anytime, anywhere (see below for “in-public” modifications, if you’re at the office or another public setting) the next time you’re feeling overwhelmed.
1. Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward Facing Dog)
In-public modification: No access to a clean floor? Use a wall, your chair seat, or a desk for your hands.
2. Garudasana (Eagle Pose)
In-public modification: Skip the legs and do the upper body portion.
3. Pascimottanasana (Seated Forward Fold)
In-public modification: Try this standing instead and grab your elbows.