Basic yoga exercises against anxiety and effective breathing technique


Anxiety is something that almost everyone experiences. It is a normal reaction to modern life, stressful situations and usually comes in the form of slightly unpleasant thoughts, worries or fears of future events. These thoughts can be associated with a fast-pounding heart, sweaty palms or shallow breathing.

For some, however, these thoughts and accompanying feelings can become an everyday part of life. They can be completely crippling and seriously affect a person's normal life, which can develop into anxiety disorders or panic attacks. However, this article is not intended to help with more serious anxiety disorders, which certainly need to be addressed comprehensively, and not only through yoga. The following positions are suitable as a pleasant addition after a stressful day or as a calm before an event of which we are naturally worried and, as is the case here, the best results go hand in hand with regularity :).

How can yoga help with feelings of anxiety, stress and panic?

  • Yoga reduces tension in the body and promotes relaxation. While experiencing stress and anxiety, our bodies tend to contract, literally (our muscles are tense and breathing shallow). Tension begins to hold in our shoulders, neck, jaw, chest or elsewhere. Excessive muscle tension can then be transferred back to our minds and multiply the feeling of restlessness. When we experience the relaxing benefits of yoga, we can reduce our physical tension, which helps to release the grip that anxiety can have on us.
  • Yoga helps us regulate breath. Our breath is closely connected to our nervous system. When we are nervous, we tend to breathe shallowly and quickly or even subconsciously hold our breath and only then do we inhale or exhale. When we consciously slow down and deepen our breathing, we also calm the nervous system. Yoga can teach us to breathe consciously and use our breath to stay in a challenging position, "so to speak," so to speak. For this reason too, breathing properly and constantly returning to the breath is the alpha and omega of most yoga classes.
  • Yoga raises body awareness. In addition to the relaxing effect that comes directly from the practice of yoga positions (asanas), through exercise, meditation, breathing techniques (pranayama) we are more aware of what is happening in our bodies. We can recognize different feelings and it is already a great success. By recognizing what is happening here and now in our bodies, we are effectively learning to feel these feelings, to let go of emotions effectively, which helps the flow of energy and, ultimately, to make us feel better.
  • Yoga practice can interrupt thought cycles of worry . Certainly each of us already has the experience of "getting stuck" in our own head and chronically still worrying about something can be really not only mentally, but gradually also physically exhausting. When we immerse ourselves in yoga practice on our mat, exercise and deep breathing give us the opportunity to get out of our heads. Of course, our worries in our heads can come with us, but yoga gives us the opportunity to practice releasing these worries and catastrophic thoughts and return to our bodies and to breathe again and again. Through this practice, we can learn to practice it effectively not only in yoga class, but also at other times in everyday life.
  • By practicing yoga, you are actually proving to yourself that you care about yourself, which is very useful for your psyche . When we are stressed and busy, it is easy to stop doing things that are good for us, such as exercising, getting enough sleep and eating well. When we find the villages as little as 10 or 20 minutes to practice yoga, we signal to ourselves that we are someone worth caring for. We should prove that we care about ourselves not only by thoughts, but also by behavior.
  • Yoga promotes self-acceptance. Yoga positions challenge us to accept ourselves, as the whole practice is based on accepting where we are. Accept that our whole life is the way, as well as our yoga practice. It is said that there are exactly as many "jogs" as there are people in the world. Accept our bodies, abilities and limits exactly as they are at the moment. This does not mean that we do not have and cannot improve in positions, on the contrary. Importantly, acceptance does not have to mean resignation or stagnation. However, the first step to overcoming oneself is self-acceptance. In a week or an hour, your body can do something else, move on…
  • Yoga trains us to overcome discomfort. We often subconsciously tighten/run away from discomfort, and sometimes this escape causes us to escape from situations of experiences that would be enriching in our lives. For example, if we avoid activities that cause anxiety at all costs, we may lose the opportunity to meet new people, to experience new things.

And what does science say about that?

Regarding the practice of yoga in broad terms, many experts agree that the combination of asanas (physical exercises), pranayama (breathing) and Mindfulness or some form of meditation is effective in alleviating anxiety and in all cases. For example, anxiety in women with depression, in low-income patients who have been treated for anxiety and depression, in women who are victims of violence or veterans with PTSD, and many other cases.

In total, hundreds of studies have been done that have addressed the benefits of meditation (which is also part of yoga practice) to calm the mind. One of the most relevant was published in 2014 in the journal JAMA Internal medicine. Researchers at Johns Hopkins University have scrutinized 47 studies of meditation programs that have included at least four hours of training. Researchers have found consistent evidence that mindfulness meditation (note: there are different types of meditation, this focuses on mindfulness of what is here and now, bodily feelings, breathing) has reduced to some extent the symptoms of anxiety across studies. When we are nervous and anxious, our mind can "tear off" and deal only with things that may happen, but it may not be at all, and this actually makes us feel worse. Other symptoms, such as insomnia, may also be associated. Meditation and yoga practice teach people certain skills that can help us face this tendency in normal life. For example, to stay in the present moment and not to head in the faith of tomorrow's worries, to recognize thought patterns of fear and anxiety, and when such thoughts arise, to return to the breath that will help us anchor. So we can "get out" of the spiral of thoughts, worries and worries that often occur in anxiety.

1) Balasana - the position of the child

How to do it:

  • Get on your knees with your feet together and sit on your heels.
  • Place the head on a mat.
  • Stretch your arms forward or place them back next to your body and release them with your palms facing up.
  • Hold in position for at least five deep breaths.

yoga exercises to relax

yoga exercises on the spine


2) Cat and cow position (alternation)

How to do it:

  • Kneel on your knees and place your hands in front of you so that your palms are perpendicular to your shoulders and your knees are wide.
  • When inhaling, bend in the stem and look up.
  • When exhaling, roll your back, pull in your abdomen, and press your chin toward your chest.
  • Repeat several times.

cat position


3) Uttanasana - deep forward bend

How to do it:

  • Start from the position of the mountain (Tadasana). Your feet are either touching or your widths.
  • Slowly lean your body forward.
  • Keep your knees slightly bent, hang your hands down as comfortable as you can (you can grab the opposite elbows or touch the mat with your whole palms). (Note: you better keep your knees bent, as if you were being pulled too hard by hamstrings, it is important to relax and not suffer ;)).
  • Gently press your head toward your knees or let it hang loosely and bring your back out.
  • Hold in position for at least five deep breaths.

back forward


4) Marichyasana A - the position of the sage

How to do it:

  • Sit with your back straight and palms facing downwards (pole position - Dandasana).
  • Bend the right knee and place the right heel close to the sciatic bones. Press your left foot firmly to the ground. Keep the left foot active in flexion.
  • Move the torso to the front and to the left. This will help you make the pose easier and smoother. Place the right shoulder near the right knee.
  • Extend your right hand and turn your palm outward so that your thumb is facing down on the floor. Bend your hand and wrap it around your knee from the outside.
  • Put your left hand behind your back and try to join the fingers of both hands (if nothing works, at least grab your T-shirt).
  • With exhalation, we bend even more so that our forehead approaches the tibia.
  • Stay in a pose for 3 to 5 deep breaths.
  • And don't forget the other side, of course :).

ashtanga position


5) Janu Sirsasana

How to do it:
  • Slowly bend the right knee and place the foot of the right foot against the inside of the left thigh. Try to keep your right knee on the floor and your left foot active.
  • Inhale deeply, raise your arms up, and exhale, tilt your torso forward.
  • Grab your hands where your body is currently letting go (whether it's the tibia, ankle, or your entire foot).
  • With each exhalation, it is as if you tilt the pelvis a little forward and thus you can gently lean forward even more and bring your head closer to your left foot.

yoga exercises anxiety


6) Pascimottasana - pliers position

How to do it:

  • Sit with your legs outstretched right in front of you on the ground.
  • Keep your back straight and your toes bent towards you (flex on your foot).
  • Slowly, with a breath, lift both hands straight over your head and reach forward (hands can be muddy - intertwined fingers and forefingers upright).
  • Exhale slowly and bend forward away from the hip joint, keeping the spine upright. Try to round the back until finally at the bottom.
  • Put your hands on your feet wherever they get without much effort.
  • If possible, hold your toes or ankles to help you get even closer head forward and down to your knees.
  • Stay in this position for as long as possible and breathe deeply.
  • After reaching your limit in position, inhale and raise your arms straight above your head.
  • Breathe and put your hands down to place your palms on the ground.
  • Relax for a while and try to feel the changes in your body.

forward bend yoga exercises anxiety


7) Nakrasana - relaxing position of a crocodile

How to do it:

  • Lie on your stomach.
  • Bend your elbows and rest your head on the backs of your hands (palms down). Leave your head relaxed.
  • Your legs are stretched out and relaxed wide, with the toes pointing to the sides.
  • Relax with at least 10 deep breaths.

yoga positions on tightness


8) Baddha Konasana - butterfly sitting (plus treat yourself to a foot massage :))

How to do it:

  • Sit in Dandasana.
  • Now bend your knees and join the soles of your feet.
  • Grab your feet or ankles.
  • Move the heels as close to the lap as possible.
  • Breathe and try to lower your knees to the ground.
  • Your arms and shoulders should be relaxed.
  • Push the sciatic bones into the mat as you would like to take root.
  • You can gently oscillate your knees, which resembles the movement of butterfly wings.
  • Stay in this position for at least 2 minutes.

yoga sed butterfly


9) Setu Bandha Sarvangasana - half bridge

How to do it:

  • Lie on your back, bend your knees and place your heels on the ground close to your buttocks.
  • Point the tips of your feet forward to the width of your pelvis.
  • Push your hands along the body with your palms into the mat and push your shoulders into the ground as well.
  • Slowly raise the pelvis with a breath.
  • Hold in position for at least five deep breaths.

yoga Setu Bandha Sarvangasana - half bridge


10) Savasana - the position of the corpse

How to do it:

  • Lie on your back with outstretched but at the same time relaxed arms and legs. Store your back, shoulders on a mat, so that you are comfortable and nothing pulls you, it does not hurt.
  • Keep your heels slightly apart and let your feet "fall" freely to the side. The tips of the feet point to the side.
  • Keep your hands at the sides, slightly away from your body.
  • The palms are turned upwards towards the sky.
  • Stay in the position for 5-10 minutes and relax.

yoga relax


BREATHING TECHNIQUE (Pranayama) - Anuloma Viloma (if you do alternating breathing with breath holding it is Nadishodhana breathing)

How to do it:

  • Sit comfortably and make sure your spine is straight and your heart is open.
  • Release the left palm comfortably in the lap and place the right hand just in front of your face.
  • Rest your index finger and middle finger between your eyebrows to stabilize your hand.
  • You will actively need a ring finger and thumb for alternating breathing.
  • Close your eyes and take a deep breath through your nose and exhale through your nose.
  • Close the right nostril with your right thumb. Inhale slowly and steadily through the left nostril (variant: you can briefly hold your breath).
  • Close the left nostril with your index finger and open the right nostril and exhale slowly through the right side (variant: you can briefly hold your breath in the exhalation).
  • Inhale slowly on the right side. Close the right nostril with your thumb and alternately reopen the left nostril and exhale slowly with the left side.
  • Repeat 5-10 cycles.

breathing techniques



  • Take a comfortable seat with your legs crossed so that your spine is straight (you can also lean against the wall so that you are comfortable, nothing pulls you, it doesn't hurt and your mind still doesn't remind you :)).
  • Lower your hands to your knees, palms up, you can join your thumb and forefinger (the other fingers are outstretched), your elbows are outstretched, or place your palm in your palm in your lap and gently join your thumbs.
  • There are many types of meditations, in the beginning it will be enough for us to close our eyes and take our breath away :).
  • We begin to perceive every breath where air enters the body and every exhalation where air exits (we can easily inhale through the nose and exhale through the mouth).
  • We focus only on our breathing and count ten deep breaths and exhales in our minds.
  • Try to repeat this for a total of three rounds.
  • When you are ready, notice your surroundings, sounds and slowly open your eyes.


meditation bratislava


Namaste friends!


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Practicing yoga provides great benefits, but you need to realize that only you know your own body and its limits. Talk to your doctor before starting exercise, especially pregnant and breastfeeding women. Also, consult him with any questions or concerns about your medical condition. The recommendations, exercises, thoughts and other opinions expressed on this site reflect our own experience and are not intended to replace professional medical assistance.

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