Anxiety and Yoga Therapy

Anxiety & Yoga Therapy

Are you a Pinball Wizard? Racing and bouncing daily between destination points: home, work, carpooling kids, grocery store, last-minute errands. Factor in groan-inducing hurdles like traffic, unexpected deadlines, a miscommunication with someone special, maybe a lost night’s sleep worrying about juggling details or staring at your phone checking emails…

Where does your self-care fit into the list?

We become conditioned to think a Netflix-binge or tunneling into social media allows an escape, but afterward did you find that true calm and grounding you were seeking? Still waiting to catch your breath?

Living in a culture dominated by multi-tasking, material distractions and compulsive screen time, it is easy to feel disconnected and overwhelmed. Many of us have lost the ability to sit in peaceful stillness and feel centered within in our body, mind, and breath.

Consistent and excessive stressors cause anxiety, which can affect the ability to pilot daily living. Forty million adults in the United States are affected by anxiety. Anxiety and stress take a toll on an individual’s ability to navigate the tightrope associated with maintaining life-work balance. Individuals with ongoing anxiety experience symptoms manifesting as restlessness, sleep disturbance, irritability, chronic headaches, muscle tension, gastrointestinal difficulties, depression, decreased receptiveness to new experiences, disconnection from social support systems, and/or a diminished sense of fulfillment.

With nearly one-fifth of the American population experiencing anxiety and related symptoms, the challenge of maintaining self-care practices and life balance is a very real experience.

Living with chronic anxiety, one’s mind and body struggle excessively to counterbalance stressors. Unable to claim grounding, the stress-response perpetuates. Chronic anxiety creates dysfunction in the body’s stress-response system preventing the mind and body from effectively returning to a state of calm. This imbalance in the nervous system has far-reaching effects on emotional regulation, cognitive function, and social relationships, as well as with proper functioning of the cardiovascular, respiratory, gastrointestinal, and immunological systems.

Yoga therapy can help. Research shows the yogic elements of breath, meditation/visualization, and mindful movement can address the ramifications of chronic anxiety. Benefits include re-balancing the nervous system’s stress-response cycle, neuroplasticity to retrain the brain how to respond in stressful moments, neuromuscular re-education to teach the body how to be strong yet flexible, and improving a sense of connectedness to self and social networks.

With practice, one can begin to recognize and reduce the symptoms associated with anxiety. Learn how to reset the mind, breath, and body to more calmly and intentionally respond in any given moment.


Anxiety and Depression Association of America.

The International Association of Yoga Therapists (2016). Contemporary Definitions of Yoga Therapy.

Khalsa, S. B. S., Cohen, L., McCall, T., & Telles, S. (2016). The Principles and Practice of Yoga in Health Care. Edinburgh, UK: Handspring Publishing Limited.

Locke, A. B., Kirst, N. and Shultz, C. G. (2015). Diagnosis and Management of Generalized Anxiety Disorder and Panic Disorder in Adults. American Family Physician, May 1;91(9):617-624.

Schmalzl, L., Powers, C., & Henje Blom, E. (2015). Neurophysiological and neurocognitive mechanisms underlying the effects of yoga-based practices: towards a comprehensive theoretical framework. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 9.

Wisneski, L. A., and Anderson L., (2009). The Scientific Basis of Integrative Medicine. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press.


What is the difference between a Yoga Class and Yoga Therapy?

Yoga Class:

In western culture, public yoga classes are generally viewed as a system of exercise – opportunities to develop, deepen, or finesse a physical practice with like-minded individuals. More often than not, the class focus remains primarily on the physical body. While this approach can instill moments of peace and playful challenge that may offer a therapeutic effect, it does not always allow for caution or adaptations or self-advocacy to ensure your injuries or chronic conditions are taken into account.

Yoga Therapy:

Yoga therapy is an integrative mind-body therapeutic modality that adapts the yogic elements of breathing techniques, mindful movement, guided imagery, and meditation/visualization to address the disconnection and dis-ease in breath, body, and mind.

For individual work with a client, a treatment approach begins with an initial consultation to build an understanding of the client’s situation, environment, history and desired goals, and to perform musculoskeletal assessments. Additional sessions allow deeper exploration and continued refinement of how mind, body, and breath align. A client’s collaborative input is integral to creating a specialized, realistic, and sustainable plan of care that respects time allowance, interests, healthy challenge, and which progresses toward identified goals. Consistency and commitment are key.​

Plans of care are developed from scientific research and evidence-based practices proven to relieve suffering and/or illness symptoms; improve functioning across physical, energetic and mental-emotional layers; and, empower individuals through the process of self-reflection, healing, education, and personal evolution. Each approach is uniquely adapted to the needs of the individual client.

One does not need prior knowledge or experience with yoga to benefit from yoga therapy. Everything will be customized to meet you exactly as you are.