Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Yoga for Panic Attacks

Cultivate balanced breathing�both on and off your sticky mat. Throughout your day, focus on balancing your inhalation and exhalation. Breathe slowly and smoothly through your nose, allowing the beginning of each phase of the breath to be as even and smooth as the end of each phase. In general, the beginning of both the inhalation and exhalation moves more easily and quickly than the end. So in order to bring more balance to the breath, allow the beginning of both inhalation and exhalation to be a little slower, while making the last part of each breath stronger and more full.

During the onset of a panic attack, focus on your exhalation. Allow your exhalation to be slower and fuller than your inhalation. This helps the parasympathetic nervous system slow down the heartbeat and blood pressure, which will help calm you.

Do a regular asana practice that incorporates a good blend of up-tempo activity and resting poses. Instead of practicing just restorative poses, include challenging asanas like standing poses, backbends, arm balances, and inversions. Incorporate these challenging poses into your practice, performing them at a brisk pace in order to smoothly elevate your heart rate, and then follow with a few minutes of quiet, slow, and easy poses to calm the heart. Alternate a few minutes of more vigorous work with resting poses two or three times during a full practice. This will help to clear some deep-seated tensions and restore the natural, balanced internal rhythms of the heart and nervous system.

While performing your asanas, it is important to keep your muscles firm and engaged, hugging the muscles to the bones. This type of muscular action has several benefits including creating an insulating and calming influence on the nervous system.

Within your regular asana practice, emphasize grounding poses like standing poses and hip-openers, which will help you feel a lot more secure. In all poses, move the thigh bones toward the backs of the legs (the hamstrings). Also, while keeping the pelvic floor wide and expanded, lengthen the tailbone so that the legs and pelvis feel rooted into the earth. This will induce a sense of security and greatly reduce fear.

Cultivate regular sleep habits. Attempt to go to sleep before 10 p.m. and awake at a regular hour after at least 7 hours of sleep. Spend some quiet time reading some inspirational writings before going to sleep.

SOURCE: YogaJournal

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