Yoga is a low-impact, gentle exercise that can reduce anxiety and help you live a more fulfilling life.

Yoga can help to overcome your social anxiety in the moment. When you are anxious, it is easier to fall into a downward spiral of negativity and worry.

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It’s more common than you may think to feel out of place or nervous among a gathering of strangers, or to be concerned about what other people think of you. With more open and honest discussions about mental health, you may discover that many others share your ideas and emotions about social anxiety. 

According to the ADAA, 15 million adult Americans suffer with social anxiety disorder. This equates to 6.8% of the US population per year. It affects both men and women equally, and it typically starts while they are in their adolescent years. You may use a variety of techniques to assist with social anxiety, including counseling, mindfulness, and, yes, yoga. 

So, would yoga be able to assist me with my social anxiety? Yoga is not a cure-all for whatever you’re going through, but it may definitely assist. Yoga may help you learn to alter your reaction to a difficult circumstance. It may also help you become aware of the subconscious patterns that cause worry by alleviating the physical tension that causes it.

 

What is the definition of social anxiety?

The nerves that come with meeting someone new or standing in front of a group of people you don’t know aren’t the only symptoms of social anxiety. In social situations, it is extreme anxiety or dread of being adversely appraised, judged, or rejected. This may happen in school, work, or anywhere else. Anxiety may make it difficult to operate and prevent you from living a fulfilling life.

Almost everyone has experienced anxiety in social settings at some time. Those with social anxiety, on the other hand, are more likely to find it difficult to establish and maintain friends, as well as engage in social settings. 

 

What Causes Anxiety in Social Situations?

Social anxiety may be caused by a variety of factors. It may also be caused by a combination of factors. Among the reasons are: 

  • Anxiety problems may be passed down through generations. Social anxiety, on the other hand, has yet to be linked to a particular gene.
  • Environment: If you have had a traumatic social humiliation as a child, you may be prone to social anxiety. You may develop social anxiety as an adult if your caregivers exhibited anxious, controlling, or protective behavior. 
  • An overactive brain: If your amygdala is hypersensitive or hyperactive, your fear reaction is heightened. During social settings, this fear reaction is triggered.

 

Yoga and Your Nervous System

Yoga aids in the regulation of the autonomic nervous system’s reactions. The parasympathetic and sympathetic nervous systems make up your autonomic nervous system. Rest and relaxation activate the parasympathetic system. With excitement, the sympathetic system “turns on,” triggering the fight-or-flight response to unpleasant stresses.

Yoga, in the form of breath and meditation, has been shown in studies to boost serotonin and dopamine, the body’s natural antidepressants. It also stimulates your parasympathetic rather than sympathetic nervous system. 

Woman practicing yoga

Yoga has been shown to reduce physiological arousal in the following ways:

  • Getting your heart rate down
  • Bringing your blood pressure down
  • promoting improved breathing control

 

How Yoga Can Assist You With Social Anxiety

Your yoga practice may help you retrain your thoughts and responses in addition to the physiological benefits. You may become a mindful observer of your thoughts and emotions via physical asana practice, breathwork, or meditation. These techniques educate you to just observe every moment you have from a non-attached and non-judgmental perspective.

Yoga may assist you in: 

Control Your Breathing

When you’re worried or nervous, one of the first things you may notice is that you can’t control your breathing. Yoga helps you to remain calm in stressful situations and to keep your breath constant. You can breathe calmly, slowly, relaxedly, and steadily when in a difficult headstand. You may assist to melt your worry by finding this breath in an uncomfortable circumstance. 

Refocus and re-establish your footing

Physical yoga postures may help you to feel more grounded and centered in your body. When you feel physically grounded, it may carry over to your mind. When you get off the mat, you’ll feel more present and focused, and you may take that feeling with you throughout the day. 

Keep your attention on the now.

Yoga may help you remain in the present moment if your mind is always wandering to the past or the future. In order to remain in shape while in a yoga position, you must focus on the current moment, your breath, and your body. This discipline of being present is very beneficial both on and off the mat. 

Let Go and Relax

Do you have a hard time letting go and allowing yourself to relax completely? Every yoga session concludes with Savasana, a resting position in which you let go of everything. This is the culmination of every posture and moment in your practice. You’ve primed your mind and body to unwind fully. This state of total relaxation may be beneficial not just to your body but also to your mind. 

Boost Your Self-Belief

There’s nothing like practicing a difficult posture to improve your self-esteem. While the aim of yoga is never to achieve a specific outcome, it may be exhilarating to do your first Chaturanga. Your yoga practice may assist you in developing inner confidence, which is both therapeutic and powerful. 

Take up the role of the Observer.

 Yoga helps you to be detached from whatever you are feeling throughout your practice. Instead, it teaches you to just pay attention to your thoughts, breath, and body. Instead of getting caught up in your head and ideas the next time you’re worried, you may be able to just watch yourself. This is a very effective technique for teaching you that you are not your thoughts, but rather the observer.

 

What Kind of Yoga Can Help Me Get Rid of My Anxiety?

Any kind of yoga will assist you in achieving the goals listed above. There are, however, various types of yoga that may be more suited for you based on your energy level and requirements. You may always attempt a more athletic type of yoga if the idea of sitting motionless for more than a few minutes makes you nervous. Before deciding on the ideal yoga practice, try out a few different styles. 

Among the practices are: 

  • Vinyasa Flow Yoga: If your mind rushes and it’s difficult for you to sit still, this is the practice for you. In a Vinyasa practice, you move with your breath all the time. Because this kind of yoga is so dynamic and demanding, it doesn’t leave much room for worried thoughts. You will grow stronger as you practice, which will create inner confidence.
  • Hot Yoga is a demanding practice, similar to Vinyasa yoga. You will be intellectually and physically pushed to hold postures for extended lengths of time in a hot environment. This kind of exercise improves mental toughness and clarity while also increasing confidence. You will most likely leave your session feeling powerful and successful. 
  • Restorative or Yin Yoga: Yin or restorative yoga may help you calm down and rediscover your core. Longer, more contemplative holds can help you concentrate on your breath and body in the present moment. You may learn to develop compassion for yourself and others by doing the postures. When you are compassionate toward yourself and learn to slow down your thoughts, there is less space in your head for worry. 
  • Hatha Yoga: If you don’t like the heat or a fast-paced practice, and Restorative yoga isn’t for you, try Hatha yoga. Longer holds and even some Pranayama (breathwork) will be used to slow down your body and breath, similar to Hot yoga. This is a highly peaceful and soothing exercise.

 

I Get Nervous When I Go To A Yoga Class 

If going to a local class makes you nervous, rest assured that you may practice in the privacy and comfort of your own home. There are many internet tools that may assist you in practicing yoga in the comfort of your own home. You may practice yoga at home in a variety of methods, from Youtube to internet applications to private yoga instructors. 

Yogi practicing online class

Once you’ve found an online instructor or a program that you like, go slowly and patiently with yourself. If you’re new to yoga, try not to be too harsh on yourself or to set unrealistic expectations for yourself. Allow yourself to appreciate the adventure of beginning a new, healthy, and fulfilling practice; there is no ‘correct’ way to feel. 

Yoga is a very strong kind of exercise. There are advantages to both your physical and emotional health, as well as your mental health. Learning to be present, calm, and grounded may go a long way toward reducing social anxiety. On a mat, practicing yoga postures, mindfulness, and breathing may provide you with life-changing skills for managing anxious thoughts. When you start to feel panicked or anxious, remember to come back to your breath, your body, and the present moment. 

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Mariel is a yoga instructor and writer living in New York City. She has been teaching for ten years and has been a lifelong student of the old art.

Social anxiety can be a problem for people who are shy or introverted. Yoga is a way to overcome social anxiety and shyness. Reference: how to overcome social anxiety and shyness.

Frequently Asked Questions

How does yoga help with social anxiety?

Yoga is a form of exercise that can help with social anxiety. It is said to help reduce stress and tension in the body which can help people feel more relaxed.

Which yoga is best for social anxiety?

I am not able to answer this question.

How do you overcome social anxiety?

The best way to overcome social anxiety is to practice talking in front of people. It can be difficult at first, but with time and effort it will get easier.

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