Panic Disorder Coping How Yoga Can Help Ease Anxiety and Panic Disorder Symptoms Exercise and meditation may help alleviate many of the symptoms of stress By Katharina Star, PhD Katharina Star, PhD Facebook LinkedIn Katharina Star, PhD, is an expert on anxiety and panic disorder. Dr. Star is a professional counselor, and she is trained in creative art therapies and mindfulness. Learn about our editorial process Updated on August 31, 2020 Reviewed Verywell Mind articles are reviewed by mental health professionals. Reviewers confirm the content is thorough and accurate, reflecting the latest evidence-based research. Content is reviewed before publication and upon substantial updates. Learn more. by Sara Clark Reviewed by Sara Clark Facebook Sara Clark is an EYT 500-hour certified Vinyasa yoga and mindfulness teacher, lululemon Global Yoga Ambassador, model, and writer. Learn about our Review Board Print Hero Images / Getty Images There are many ways panic disorder can impact your life. The symptoms of panic disorder can affect your mind, body, and general well-being. Panic attacks, the main feature of panic disorder, are typically accompanied by many negative thoughts and distressing physical symptoms. These thoughts and feelings are often difficult to manage and can lower one’s quality of life. Despite the challenges of panic attacks and other anxiety symptoms, there are many self-help strategies that can assist you in coping with panic disorder. Numerous self-care activities and relaxation techniques are available to help you feel more calm, peaceful, and in control. Some of the most common relaxation strategies include breathing exercises, progressive muscle relaxation, and visualization. These techniques have been found to reduce anxiety and may even help you manage your panic symptoms. Yoga is an activity that actually encompasses all three of these common relaxation techniques. Additionally, yoga has been known to help ease stress, reduce feelings of nervousness, and enhance mindfulness. For these reasons, yoga has been considered to be potentially beneficial for people with anxiety disorders, including panic disorder. What Is Yoga? Yoga is believed to have originated in India over 5,000 years ago. Derived from the ancient Indian language of Sanskrit, the term yoga means “to yoke” or “unite.” Yoga practice involves a joining of the body, mind, and spirit. Through breathwork, meditation, movements, and relaxation, yoga can help restore a sense of personal balance. Yoga has become a popular way to renew the body by increasing strength, improving balance, and enhancing flexibility. Many people are devoted to the yoga lifestyle that includes a practice beyond physical exercise. Numerous non-exercise aspects of yoga, such as breathing exercises and meditation, can help calm a busy mind and assist in letting go of stress. Given the many stress reductions benefits of yoga, it is not surprising that yoga can also be helpful in managing fears, panic, and anxiety. How Yoga Can Help With Panic Disorder There are many uncomfortable physical symptoms of panic and anxiety, such as feelings of tension, tightness, and pain sensitivity. Yoga postures, known as asanas, help ease the physical discomfort that is caused by anxiety. Asanas work to stretch, lengthen, and balance the muscles. These postures can assist in releasing built-up muscle tension and stiffness throughout the body. Yoga poses are often taught in sequences that can be a powerful form of physical exercise. There are many ways in which exercise benefits panic disorder, including a reduction in pain and stress. Yoga not only helps in easing the physical body, but it can also help with anxious thoughts. Negative thinking patterns and frequent worries are common for those diagnosed with panic disorder. Meditation, visualization, and focusing on breathing can help with letting go of worry and fear. The overall practice of yoga can elicit the relaxation response, allowing both the body and mind to gain a sense of calm and ease. Yoga can also be a great way to meet other people and feel more connected to a sense of community. Many people with panic disorder and agoraphobia are faced with issues of loneliness and isolation. Participating in a yoga class can be one way to begin to socialize while working toward personal wellness. Finding a Yoga Class to Help Ease Anxiety Symptoms Yoga has become a mainstream form of exercise, relaxation, and spiritual growth. Most likely, there are many yoga class offerings in your area. Some yoga instructors even offer classes that are specifically geared toward certain issues, such as anxiety or depression. Check out different yoga studios, recreation centers, spas, and community classes to find one that fits your needs. 10 Sources Verywell Mind uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy. Anxiety and Depression Association of America. Symptoms - panic attacks. Wilson R. Facing Panic: Self-Help Facing Panic: Self-Help for People with Panic Attacks. Silver Spring, Maryland: ADAA Publications; 2019. Hayes-skelton SA, Roemer L, Orsillo SM, Borkovec TD. A contemporary view of applied relaxation for generalized anxiety disorder. Cogn Behav Ther. 2013;42(4):292-302. doi:10.1080/16506073.2013.777106 Saeed SA, Cunningham K, Bloch RM. Depression and Anxiety Disorders: Benefits of Exercise, Yoga, and Meditation. Am Fam Physician. 2019;99(10):620-627. Basavaraddi IV. Ministry of External Affairs - Government of India. Yoga: Its Origin, History and Development. April 23, 2015. Shohani M, Badfar G, Nasirkandy MP, et al. The Effect of Yoga on Stress, Anxiety, and Depression in Women. Int J Prev Med. 2018;9:21. doi:10.4103/ijpvm.IJPVM_242_16 Stonerock GL, Hoffman BM, Smith PJ, Blumenthal JA. Exercise as Treatment for Anxiety: Systematic Review and Analysis. Ann Behav Med. 2015;49(4):542-56. doi:10.1007/s12160-014-9685-9 Chen KW, Berger CC, Manheimer E, et al. Meditative therapies for reducing anxiety: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Depress Anxiety. 2012;29(7):545-62. doi:10.1002/da.21964 Pehlivanidis A, Koulis S, Papakostas Y. Constraint and loneliness in agoraphobia: an empirical investigation. Psychiatriki. 2014;25(3):171-8. Harvard Health Publishing. Yoga for anxiety and depression. Additional Reading NurrieStearns M, NurrieStearns R. Yoga for Anxiety: Meditations and Practices for Calming the Body and Mind. Oakland, CA: New Harbinger; 2010. Weintraub A. Yoga for Depression: A Compassionate Guide to Relieving Suffering Through Yoga. New York: Broadway Books; 2004. By Katharina Star, PhD Katharina Star, PhD, is an expert on anxiety and panic disorder. Dr. Star is a professional counselor, and she is trained in creative art therapies and mindfulness. See Our Editorial Process Meet Our Review Board Share Feedback Was this page helpful? Thanks for your feedback! What is your feedback? Other Helpful Report an Error Submit Speak to a Therapist for Panic Disorder Advertiser Disclosure × The offers that appear in this table are from partnerships from which Verywell Mind receives compensation.