A brief but intense episode of anxiety wherein a person fears the physical sensation of extreme fear for no apparent cause of the real threat is known as a panic attack. Some of the physical reactions of a panic attack include a racing heartbeat, shortness of breath, dizziness, trembling and muscle tension, among others. The problem further is panic attacks can happen at any time and often the trigger is difficult to identify. While consulting a specialised medical doctor is important, for holistic well-being, yoga is also advised.
Yoga and Spiritual Leader Himalayan Siddhaa Akshar, Founder of Akshar Yoga Kendraa, shares, "Panic attacks can be overwhelming and debilitating, affecting millions of people around the world. While there are various treatments available, one holistic approach that has gained popularity is the practice of yoga. Yoga offers a combination of physical postures, deep breathing, and meditation techniques that can help reduce the frequency and severity of panic attacks."
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Yoga Asanas To Effectively Deal With Panic Attacks
Himalayan Siddhaa Akshar shares several yoga poses and explains how they can be effective in alleviating panic attacks.
1. Balasana (Child’s Pose)
Child's Pose is a gentle, restorative posture that encourages relaxation. It allows you to focus on your breath and turn inward, calming the mind and reducing anxiety—a crucial step in managing panic attacks. To perform this pose bring your knees down and sit with your pelvis back on your heels placing the forehead down and extending your arms forward.
2. Anjaneyasana (Low Lunge Pose)
Low Lunge Pose involves stretching and opening the chest. This deep stretch helps release tension and stress stored in the upper body, making it beneficial for reducing panic attack triggers. To perform this pose bring the right leg in between your palms step back into a lunge, place the knees down and push the pelvis low towards the floor.
3. Utthita Trikonasana (Extended Triangle Pose)
Extended Triangle Pose involves deep, controlled breathing while opening the chest and stretching the entire body. This can help regulate breathing patterns and reduce hyperventilation during a panic attack. Open your legs wider than hip width distance turning your right foot to the right side. You can place your fingertips down in front of your right palm and extend the left hand up and look towards it.
4. Bhujangasana (Cobra Pose)
Cobra Pose encourages deep, diaphragmatic breathing, which can help stabilise your breath when experiencing anxiety or panic. It also strengthens the back and relieves tension. Lie down on your stomach placing palms under your shoulders and inhale lifting the head and chest up to your belly button.
5. Sukhasana (Easy Pose)
Sukhasana is a simple seated pose that promotes mindfulness and relaxation. It is an excellent starting point for meditation, which can be a powerful tool in preventing panic attacks. Keep your legs crossed and sit with your back straight; you can place your palms on your knees and close your eyes.
6. Savasana (Corpse Pose)
Savasana is the ultimate relaxation pose. It allows you to release physical and mental tension, making it a valuable tool for reducing overall anxiety and preventing panic attacks. Lie down flat on your back with your arms slightly away from the body, legs open with the ankles in a relaxed position.
7. Ujjayi Pranayama (Victorious Breath)
Ujjayi breathing involves controlled, audible breaths, which can help you regain control of your breath during a panic attack. It soothes the nervous system and reduces anxiety.
8. Anulom Vilom Pranayama (Alternate Nostril Breathing)
This breathing technique balances the two hemispheres of the brain and calms the nervous system. It's an effective tool for managing anxiety and preventing panic attacks.
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'Yoga Alone May Not Be Enough, Consult Mental Health Expert'
As mentioned earlier, even while yoga can be effective, it may not be enough by itself to deal with panic attacks. "Yoga offers a comprehensive approach to managing panic attacks by addressing both the physical and mental aspects of anxiety. The combination of calming postures, controlled breathing, and mindfulness meditation can significantly reduce the frequency and intensity of panic attacks over time," shares Himalayan Siddhaa Akshar. But the yoga leader adds, "While yoga can be a valuable addition to your anxiety management toolbox, it's essential to remember that it may not be a standalone solution for everyone. If you are experiencing panic attacks or have a diagnosed anxiety disorder, it's crucial to consult with a mental health professional for a personalized treatment plan. Yoga, when practised consistently and mindfully, can be a powerful complement to conventional treatments, helping you find balance and peace in your life."