SKY might help people with anxiety who struggle with mindfulness meditation, according to Popsugar. Because mindfulness practices focus on observing thoughts without judgment, it might escalate anxious thoughts. On the other hand, SKY directs your attention to breathing rather than your thoughts.
A 2013 article in the International Journal of Yoga explains how SKY can physiologically induce calm. The ujjayi breath stimulates the vagus nerve and increases respiratory sinus arrhythmia (RDA), which is how the heart rate increases and decreases during the inhale and exhale. People with depression and anxiety typically have low RSA. The bhastrika breath causes a brief stimulation of the sympathetic nervous system, similar to how exercise stimulates us. It's quickly followed by calm and alertness. The practice trains the sympathetic nervous system to respond appropriately to stress. The third component of SKY, chanting "Om," can improve brain function and heighten awareness. A 2022 study in the Journal of Basic and Clinical Physiology and Pharmacology found that Om chanting combined with Yoga Nidra reduced depression, anxiety, and stress.
Neuroimaging studies have found that yoga practices affect the amygdala and hippocampus in the brain, according to a 2020 review in Frontiers in Integrative Neuroscience. Yoga practices reduce the volume in the amygdala, which correlates with lower stress levels.