While I am neither an expert in yoga nor a devoted yoga practitioner, I do often suggest people with anxiety disorders, depression and anger management issues consider learning about the various forms of yoga. Most of us, when we hear the term yoga, immediately think of pretzel-like positions and dismiss it as something an ordinary-Joe wouldn't be able to do. However, when I suggest yoga as a relaxation tool, I am mainly interested in the breathing components. While stretching can be a great relaxation tool as well, bending into contortionist positions is not necessary to achieve the calming benefits.
Below are links to two videos of two styles of deep breathing demonstrated by Dustienne Miller, CYT, PT, MS, WCS on her blog, Your Pace Yoga. These breathing exercises can be used to reduce anxiety, decrease worry, help manage anger, and lower physiological measures of stress associated with many types of medical problems, including high blood pressure, gastro-intestinal distress, headaches and chronic pain.
Dirgha Breath - Dirgha (deer-guh) breathing is similar to the breathing exercises presented in a previous post. Dirgha is a form of lower abdominal breathing. It helps reduce the fight or flight response that contributes toward anxiety and anger. You can view the video, here.
Ujjayi Breath - Ujjayi (Ew-J-eye) breathing is also known as the ocean sounding breath or the Darth Vader breath. The slow, even exhale of the Ujjayi breath can help reduce the fight or flight response. You can view the Ujjayi breath video, here.
-Sandy Andrews, Ph.D.
CBT Cognitive Behavioral Psychologist