Hatha Yoga significantly reduces anxiety after only eight classes, according to research from the All India Institute of Medical Studies in New Delhi published in a 2006 issue of 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, diabetes and asthma.
Hatha Yoga Therapy Study Participants
This Hatha Yoga therapy study examined the affect of a lifestyle modification program on 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. Researchers placed 175 people in a group that completed a lifestyle modification program– which included Hatha Yoga Classes — and 50 people in a control group that did not receive treatment. The lifestyle modification group completed eight yoga classes, that included meditation and pranayama breathing exercises, in 10 days. After yoga class, they attended two hours of lectures. Lecture subjects included nutrition, stress management, and individualized advice about their illness.
Yoga for Anxiety Study Results
After only 10 days of the lifestyle modification program, the male and female participants reported equally significant anxiety reduction compare to the control group. The resulting data shows all age groups in the lifestyle modification program saw significant reductions in anxiety. The participants between the ages of 19 and 39, and between 50 and 76 had the most improvement. Participants with high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity, neck pain and psychiatric disorders saw more improvement than participants with other health conditions. In this study, because the control group did not attend the lectures, it’s not possible to discern whether knowledge, yoga or a combination of the two caused the anxiety reduction.
Hatha Yoga Class Sequence to Reduce Anxiety
Here is the entire sequence of the Hatha Yoga therapy class to reduce anxiety, including a list of asanas in Hindi and English, as well as the three types of pranayama and kind of 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 Yoga – 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