Written By: UMA Editorial Team |

Published on: April 16, 2024

Anxiety, a pervasive feeling of fear, dread, and uneasiness, is a common experience for many individuals. Whether triggered by stressful situations at work, impending decisions, or even everyday challenges, anxiety can manifest in various physical, mental, and emotional symptoms. Ayurveda, the ancient Indian system of medicine, recognizes the profound connection between the mind and the body, emphasizing the importance of mental well-being alongside physical health. Within the realm of Ayurveda, the concept of “Chittodvega” encompasses the anxious state of mind or anxiety, further underlining the significance of addressing mental health concerns.


The term “Chittodvega” is derived from two Sanskrit words: “chitta,” meaning mind, and “udvega,” which denotes anxiety or anxiousness. Within Ayurveda, Chittodvega is recognized as a condition affecting the mind, often associated with disturbances in emotional states. Charaka Samhitha, an ancient Ayurvedic text, refers to Chittodvega alongside other emotional disturbances, such as lust, anger, greed, and worry, highlighting its relevance in holistic well-being.


Anxiety disorders can affect individuals of all ages and backgrounds, with various risk factors contributing to their development. While certain personality traits, traumatic events, and family history can increase susceptibility to anxiety, the prevalence of generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) remains significant. Recognizing the multifaceted nature of anxiety is crucial in developing effective coping mechanisms and interventions.


In moments of overwhelming anxiety, the 3-3-3 rule provides a simple yet effective technique for regaining composure. By engaging with the immediate environment through identifying objects, sounds, and physical movements, individuals can ground themselves and alleviate feelings of distress. Incorporating such coping strategies alongside holistic approaches like yoga can further enhance overall well-being.


Yoga, with its emphasis on breath awareness, mindfulness, and physical postures, offers a powerful tool for managing anxiety. The following yoga asanas (poses) can help alleviate symptoms of anxiety while promoting relaxation and inner peace:


Hero Pose (Virasana)

  • Muscles worked: Erector spinae, quadriceps, knee muscles, ankle muscles
  • Instructions: Begin in a kneeling position, bringing your bottom to the floor between your feet. Sit up straight, opening your chest and lengthening your spine. Hold for up to 5 minutes.

Why is works? Hero Pose encourages deep breathing and relaxation, allowing individuals to find centering and calmness amidst anxiety-provoking situations.


Tree Pose (Vrksasana)

  • Muscles worked: Abdominals, psoas, quadriceps, tibialis anterior
  • Instructions: Stand on one foot, placing the sole of the other foot on the inner thigh, calf, or ankle (avoiding the knee). Find a focal point and hold for up to 2 minutes before switching sides.

Why is works? Tree Pose promotes balance and focus, helping individuals redirect their attention inward and away from racing thoughts and worries.


Triangle Pose (Trikonasana)

  • Muscles worked: Latissimus dorsi, internal oblique, gluteus maximus and medius, hamstrings, quadriceps
  • Instructions: Stand with feet wider than hips, extend arms out from shoulders, and reach forward with one hand while hinging at the hips. Hold for up to 1 minute on each side.

Why is works? Triangle Pose stretches and strengthens the body, releasing tension in the neck and back while promoting a sense of stability and groundedness.


Forward Fold Pose (Uttanasana)

  • Muscles worked: Hamstrings, calves, glutes and the pelvic muscles.
  • Instructions: From Downward Facing Dog, step forward to the top of your mat and fold forward, relaxing the head and neck. Hold for five breaths to elongate the spine.

Why is works? Forward Fold encourages the release of tension in the spine and hamstrings, promoting relaxation and a sense of surrender to the present moment.


Downward Facing Dog Pose (Adho Mukha Svanasana)

  • Muscles worked: Calves, hamstrings, gluteus, hip flexors, pelvic floor, psoas, core, triceps, biceps
  • Instructions: From a kneeling position, press back through the hands and feet, lifting the hips toward the sky. Hold for 10 breaths to invigorate the body and mind.

Why is works? Downward Facing Dog increases blood flow to the brain, providing a natural mood boost and helping individuals feel more energized and focused.


Corpse Pose (Savasana)

  • Muscles worked: Neutral pelvic floor and core
  • Instructions: Lie on your back with arms and legs extended, allowing the body to relax completely. Stay in this pose for 5 to 15 minutes to promote deep relaxation.

Why is works? Corpse Pose induces deep relaxation, allowing individuals to let go of physical and mental tension while fostering a sense of inner peace and tranquility.


Child’s Pose (Balasana)

  • Muscles worked: Spinal extensors, gluteus medius, and hamstrings
  • Instructions: Sit back on the heels with arms extended in front and forehead resting on the mat. Take deep breaths and hold for at least 10 breaths.

Why is works? Child’s Pose promotes deep breathing and a sense of surrender, encouraging individuals to let go of stress and anxiety as they melt into the mat.


Cat/Cow Pose (Marjaryasana/Bitilasana)

  • Muscles worked: Lower Back, middle back, core (Abs), gluteus, hips, knees,neck and pelvic.
  • Instructions: On hands and knees, alternate between arching the back upward (cow pose) and rounding it downward (cat pose) with each inhale and exhale.

Why is works? Cat/Cow Pose helps individuals connect with their breath and find movement in the spine, releasing tension and promoting a sense of ease in the body and mind.


Fish Pose (Matsyasana)

  • Muscles worked: Intercostals, hip flexors, trapezius, abdominals
  • Instructions: Lie on your back with arms underneath your buttocks, lifting the chest upward. Hold for up to one minute to alleviate tightness in the chest and back.

Why is works? Fish Pose opens the chest and heart, helping individuals release emotional blockages and cultivate feelings of compassion and self-acceptance.


Legs Up The Wall (Viparita Karani)

  • Muscles worked: Hamstrings, glutes, and pelvis, along with the muscles supporting the spine and hips.
  • Instructions: Lie on your back with legs extended up the wall, allowing the body to relax deeply. Hold for several minutes to promote circulation and relaxation.

Why is works? Legs Up The Wall Pose promotes relaxation and stress relief by encouraging blood flow to the brain and calming the nervous system.

Incorporating yoga into your daily routine can be a transformative practice for managing anxiety and promoting overall well-being. By embracing the mind-body connection and engaging in mindful movement and breathwork, individuals can cultivate inner peace and resilience in the face of life’s challenges. Whether practiced individually or as part of a holistic wellness regimen, these yoga asanas offer a pathway to healing from within, empowering individuals to find balance and tranquility amidst the chaos of modern life.