If you suffer from anxiety when you take tests, before you perform, during social situations, or anytime, a study by Gupta (2005) shows that anxiety can be significantly reduced by practicing yoga. In Gupta’s study, subjects in different degrees of health meditated, breathed, stretched, and performed yoga asanas (i.e., poses) over the course of ten days, as well as learned about nutrition and the treatment of their diseases. Ten days?!! Well, that’s how long the study was.
Anxiety reduction can take only a few minutes. Even seconds. You can reduce the symptoms of anxiety, such as increased heart rate and blood pressure, by simply deep breathing. If you don’t believe me, figure out where the Kern Center is, get on a treadmill, jog or run for five minutes, stop and take your pulse. Then, breathe in through your nose on a count of four, holding your breath for one or two seconds, and breathe out through your nose for a count of four or more. Check your pulse again in a minute or two. Your heart rate will have dropped significantly. (This also works wonders for those of you who breathe hard while exercising or taking the stairs.) You can also do this experiment with a sphygmometer used for measuring blood pressure if you’ve got one lying around. After you get used to breathing this way, you can do it for longer counts.
Now, back to yoga. Yoga involves stretching and breathing done at the same time. It doesn’t involve tying yourself into a knot before you’ve learned to bend over and touch your toes, so go easy on yourself. Here’s a site that can get you started to reduce anxiety through simple yoga stretches: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=47eBWF05i74. And, please only stretch as far as is comfortable—this is for relaxation, not muscle tearing. Your breathing and flexibility will develop with practice. Nomaste.
Here is a link to the resource: Yoga for Anxiety.pdf
Ghupta, N., Khera, S., Vempati, R., Sharma, R., & Bijlani, R. (2006). Effect of yoga based lifestyle intervention on state and trait anxiety. Indian Journal of Physiol Pharmacol, 50(1), 41-47. Retrieved October 8, 2014