People with anxiety may experience chronic stress responses in their bodies. Besides making you feel anxious, chronic stress can cause insomnia, digestive problems, headaches, irritability, and an inability to concentrate. While you may want to talk with your doctor about medication, cognitive behavioral therapy, etc., you also may want to look into trauma-sensitive yoga classes to relieve your heightened stress levels.
What Is Trauma-Sensitive Yoga?
Trauma-sensitive yoga classes are geared towards people dealing with trauma from PTSD, abusive relationships, depression, anxiety, etc. The goal of these classes is to help people develop a greater mind-body connection and ease psychological triggers of their trauma that may be contributing to chronic stress.
What Are These Yoga Classes Like?
Trauma-sensitive yoga classes are very similar to other yoga practices as you focus on breathing, stretching, and flowing through different poses. However, these yoga classes also help students develop mindfulness. Mindfulness is the ability to bring one's attention back to the present moment and accept thoughts, bodily sensations, and feelings without judgment. These classes also focus on the confidentiality of the student so that you can feel safe to work on your anxiety without judgment.
How Do These Yoga Classes Help?
Psychology Today says that yoga can help people with anxiety in a variety of ways. For instance, yoga can help you
- Regulate shallow or deep breathing
- Develop self-confidence and self-compassion
- Find acceptance to work through discomfort
- Release muscle tension
- Interrupt worry cycles and detrimental thought patterns
One study compared cognitive behavioral therapy and yoga and found that both were great stress management treatments. Participants saw improvements in their stress behavior and their overall quality of life. They also saw physiological improvements in their blood pressure, cortisol levels (this is the body's main stress hormone), and their heart rate.
Another study focused on trauma-sensitive yoga specifically and its effects on those with PTSD. This study found that this type of yoga's mindful movement helped participants regulate their emotions, feel safer in the present moment, and feel more comfortable in their bodies. When you are anxious, you may suffer from mood swings, racing thoughts, and discomfort from being stressed, so this type of yoga could have promising applications for your own symptoms.
You'll want to update your doctor and/or therapists about any new exercise program—even yoga—so that they can help you monitor your health and whether or not this type of therapy is helping. You don't have to suffer through your anxiety symptoms; contact a trauma-sensitive yoga instructor in your area today to learn more about this therapy.