This series of Hatha yoga poses significantly reduces anxiety after only 8 classes, according to a study published in the Indian Journal of Physiology and Pharmacology.
Why should you reduce your anxiety level? Excessive anxiety is a “major component of unhealthy lifestyles.” The mental stress of chronic anxiety possibly contributes to the severity and progression of psychiatric and bodily illness, such as
- heart disease
225 Unhealthy, Anxiety-Ridden Participants
Researchers from the All India Institute of Medical Studies in New Delhi examined the effects of a lifestyle modification program, with a focus on yoga, on the state of anxiety in 225 unhealthy men and women between the ages of 19 and 76. All the participants suffered from health problems, including high blood pressure, asthma, and diabetes as well as psychiatric disorders and gastrointestinal problems.
There were two groups:
- Group I: 175 participants completed a 10-day lifestyle modification program of 8 yoga classes with meditation and pranayama (yoga breathing exercises) component. After yoga class, Group I attended 2 hours of lectures that covered nutrition, stress management, and individualized advice about her or his illness.
- Group II: 50 participants in the control group did not receive treatment.
Yoga for Anxiety Study Results
After only 8 Hatha yoga classes, the women and men reported an equally significant reduction in anxiety, when compared to the control group. The resulting data showed
- All age groups saw significant reductions in anxiety
- The greatest improvement was seen in participants between the ages of 19 and 39, and between 50 and 76
- Participants with high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity, neck pain, and psychiatric disorders saw more improvement than those with other health conditions
*In this study, because the control group did not attend the lectures, it’s not possible to discern whether the lectures, yoga, or a combination of the two, caused the anxiety reduction.
Hatha Yoga Poses to Reduce Anxiety
Would you like to try the Hatha yoga class sequence that successfully reduced anxiety? Below, you will find the entire sequence of Hatha yoga poses to reduce anxiety, featuring the list of asanas in Hindi and English, 3 types of pranayama, and humming meditation.
Hatha Yoga Therapy Sequence to Reduce Anxiety
- Start with relaxation in Shavasana / Corpse Pose
- Then, perform Humming Meditation while sitting in Vajrasana or Padmasana, the Lotus Pose
A. Standing Asanas
- Ardhakatic hakrasana – side bend
- Padahastasana – forward bend
- Ardha chakrasana — standing back bend
- Vrikshasana – tree pose
B. Seated Asanas
- Ardha Matsyendrasana – spinal twist
- Pachimottanasana – seated forward bend
- Konasana – wide-leg forward bend
C. Back Bending Asanas
- Resting in Makarasana – crocodile pose
- Bhujangasana – cobra pose
- Dhanurasana – bow pose
D. Reclining Asanas
- Uttitapdasana – leg raising
- Sarvangasana – shoulder stand
- Matsyasana – fish pose
- Pawanmuktasana – wind relieving pose
- Setubandhasana – bridge pose
E. Shavasana – corpse pose
F. Pranayama – yogic breathing exercises
- Bhastrika – forced exhalation
- Nada shuddhi – alternate nostril breathing
- Bhramari – exhale as you hum like a honey bee
G. Shavasana – corpse pose
H. Final Humming Meditation – sit in Vajrasana or the lotus pose
Reference for Hatha Yoga Sequence to Reduce Anxiety
1. Indian Journal of Physiology and Pharmacology; Effect of Yoga-Based Lifestyle Intervention on State and Trait Anxiety; Nidha Gupta, et al.; 2006