Yoga Poses for Acute Anxiety/ Panic Attacks

If you have ever struggled with anxiety or panic attacks you understand just how powerless these experiences can make you feel. When we are having a panic attack, we feel completely out of control with our minds and bodies, and that can be so scary. It can be quite difficult to self soothe in these moments, yet this is not impossible. 

When I used to experience panic attacks, I found it so difficult to ask for help or see beyond what I was experiencing in the present moment. Only through dedicated practice and self discovery was I able to learn how to pull myself out of this dark place and back to a space of control, observation, and calm. 

Positive affirmations are initially what helped me to do this. I had a guided affirmation practice that I saved to my phone that I would listen to as soon as my panic attack began. This dramatically helped me to calm down, regain connection to my breath, and slow the response of my nervous system. 

The other thing that helped me most was yoga. I don’t mean a full yoga class, I mean simple, one-off poses that quickly soothe the nervous system, bring down mental and physical energy, and expand the lungs capacity to breathe deeper. 

Read on as I share the most beneficial (beginner) yoga poses and affirmations that you can use anytime you are experiencing a panic attack or bout of anxiety. 

-Rag Doll Fold. Begin standing and step your feet a little wider than hip width apart. Begin to slowly fold over from the hips, and bend generously into the knees so that your chest is almost resting on your thighs. Feel free to simply bring your hands to the ground, or grab your opposite elbow and begin swaying gently side to side. Remain in the fold for about a minute, and slowly roll up when you’re ready to release. Repeat 1-3 times. 

Affirmation: I am now releasing my panic 

-Child's Pose. Start in a table top position on your hands and knees. Open your knees a bit wider than hip width apart and bring your big toes to touch behind you. Push your hips back to your heels and walk your hands forward, melting your heart towards the earth. Rest here for 2-10 minutes, and embrace the feeling of safety and nourishment this pose offers. 

Affirmation: All is safe in my world right now and I can let go. I am in control.

-Butterfly Fold. Start seated and bring the soles of your feet together. Hold onto the feet or ankles and begin to slowly fold over from the hips. Allow the head to relax and feel free to use pillows or props to support the head. Rest in the fold for about five minutes. 

Affirmation: I am free from the need of panic. With each breath, I regain more calmness. 

If you struggle with anxiety and panic attacks I want to remind you that you are not alone. There is always support available to you, and you do have the power to help yourself move through these moments in grace and strength. Write these poses and affirmations down ahead of time so that when you need them, they will be available to support you. 

You are so loved. Be brave, and know that you have everything you need to overcome these challenges.