Yoga & anxiety

If you are living with anxiety, you are not alone: 40 million Americans have been diagnosed with anxiety disorders. 80% of the time anxiety & depression are co-occurring disorders. Like depression, anxiety (GAD) is a medical condition characterized by a persistent, excessive and unrealistic worry about the future. Other symptoms include:

trouble sleeping * stressed out * burned out * feeling scared, worried &/or frightened * stomach knots * chest tightness * headaches * palpitations * panic disorder * shakiness


Clinical studies indicate yoga practice:

  • is a valuable adjunct to standard pharmacotherapy in patients with anxiety & treatment-resistant GAD (Katzman 2012)
  • reduces anxiety & depression
  • improves well-being
  • improves mood
  • increases vigor
  • reduces stress
  • reduces fatigue
  • increases GABA levels
  • reduces salivary cortisol
  • improves overall physical & mental health




Yoga for Emotional Balance: Simple Practices to Relieve Anxiety and Depression ~Bo Forbes, PsyD 

Yoga for Anxiety: Meditations Practices for Calming the Body & Mind ~Mary NurrieStearns
Yoga for Emotional Trauma: Meditations Practices for Healing Pain & Suffering ~Mary NurrieStearns
The Principles and Practice of Yoga and Healthcare ~ Sat Bir Singh Khalsa
Yoga as Medicine ~Timothy McCall MD
Yoga Rx ~Larry Payne PhD & Dr Richard Usatine
Yoga Skills for Therapists ~Amy Weintraub


Katzman MA et al. A multicomponent yoga-based, breath intervention program as an adjunctive treatment in patients suffering from generalized anxiety disorder with or without comorbidities. Intl J of Yoga. 2012. 5(1): 57-65
Michalsen A et al. Rapid stress reduction and anxiolysis among distressed women as a consequence of a three-month intensive yoga program. Med Sci Monit. 2005 Dec;11(12):555-561
Smith C, Hancock H, Blake-Mortimer J, et al. A randomized comparative trial of yoga & relaxation to reduce stress & anxiety. Complement Ther Med. 2007;15(2):77–83.
Streeter CC et al. Effects of Yoga Versus Walking on Mood, Anxiety, and Brain GABA Levels: A Randomized Controlled MRS Study. J Altern Complement Med. 2010 Nov; 16(11): 1145–1152
Yadav RK et al. A short-term, comprehensive, yoga-based lifestyle intervention is efficacious in reducing anxiety, improving subjective well-being and personality. 2012. Intl J of Yoga. 5(2): 134-139