Yoga for Generalised Anxiety Disorder

The benefits of yoga for anxiety

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Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD), according to the NHS website, is a long-term condition that causes a person to feel anxious about a wide range of situations and issues, rather than one specific event. People with GAD feel anxious most days and often struggle to remember the last time they felt relaxed. As soon as one anxious thought is resolved, another may appear about a different issue. GAD can cause both psychological (mental) and physical symptoms. These vary from person to person, but can include:

feeling restless or worried having trouble concentrating or sleeping dizziness or heart palpitations

A new study published by Georgia State University researchers in the International Journal of Yoga Therapy indicates that yoga can be beneficial in reducing the symptoms related to GAD. Researchers found that yoga tended to reduce worry, the main symptom of GAD. One researcher explained; "two participants showed decreases in daily worry ratings after they started yoga and reported less worry on a daily basis. The third participant was steadily increasing worry before starting yoga, but the increasing trend ended and began leveling out after she started practicing yoga."

Clearly this is a very small-scale study, yet the early results are very promising. There is an increasing body of evidence pointing to yoga's efficacy for anxiety, including GAD. Here are a couple more related studies for your reading pleasure!


Heather Mason

Founder of the Minded Institute, The Minded Institute

Heather Mason is a leader in the field of mind-body therapy and the founder of Yoga Therapy for the Mind. She develops innovative methods for mental health treatment drawing on her robust educational background including an MA in Psychotherapy, an MA in Buddhist Studies, studies in Neuroscience and a current MSc in Medical Physiology.. She is also a 500 RYT, a yoga therapist and an MBCT facilitator. Heather offers various professional trainings for yoga teachers, healthcare professionals and therapists, lectures around the world, and delivers training to medical students. She also develops protocols for different client populations by translating cutting edge research from the psycho-biology and neuro-biology of stress into yoga practices, breathwork, mindfulness interventions and therapeutic holding. Further she is involved in research on the efficacy of these practices, holds the annual UK yoga therapy conference and is blazing the trail for the integration of yoga therapy into the NHS