Gary Kraftsow is an American yoga teacher who has gained a great deal of attention for his work with yoga for anxiety. Gary earned his master’s degree in Eastern Classics from Columbia University, and went on to found Viniyoga America, the Institute of Yoga Studies and is a faculty member at Loyola Marymount University.
He has been teaching therapeutic applications of yoga since 1975, and he was instrumental in developing the academic field of Yoga Therapy in the United States. He developed one of the first prescribed series of modern clinical postures known as Viniyoga (shortened to “VY”), and this form consists of a range of both active physical postures followed by relaxation techniques; it’s designed to ease anxious emotions while calming down the body’s systems.
Gary Kraftsow’s Experiences with Yoga for Anxiety
In his personal experience, Gary Kraftsow experienced firsthand how powerful yoga can be for managing anxiety when suffering from depression due in part to his poor health. He has stated that it was not just one single practice that helped him but rather the weaving together various forms such as breathwork, mindfulness-based practices, guided relaxation techniques and some restorative poses.
This combination allowed him to calm down, increase self-awareness and cultivate a greater sense of presence whenever any anxiety-mediated states arise allowing him to avoid being overwhelmed by them.
His Unique Approach To Yoga For Anxiety
Kraftsow has always taken a holistic approach when it comes to treating anxiety. His overall goal is not only to reduce anxiety symptoms but also to help those suffering find ways they can maintain control over their wellbeing even after their sessions are complete.
His tools include exercises that build awareness, focus on re-establishing proper alignment within each posture so that practitioners gain full access to whatever area needs attention or healing then finally nourishing it deeply through restorative poses which serves as an effective buffer against stress related physiological states inherent to anxiety disorders.
All these activities combine with mindfulness mediation helping individuals become more centered enabling them create space for healing on all levels–mindbody connection–which yields better results than simply trying to medicate away what appears from an intervention standpoint as an outward symptom only.
Kraftsow’s Early Life
Gary Kraftsow is an American yoga therapist, author, and teacher who specializes in Viniyoga. He gained recognition in the yoga community for advancing yoga therapy for those with modern chronic illnesses. Born out of his own experience with illness, he developed a unique approach to therapeutic guidelines that was able to reduce stress and anxiety. Kraftsow’s journey began in Baltimore, Maryland where at a young age he discovered yoga.
Kraftsow had an inclination towards wellness as early as high school when he began to conduct self-study of vegetarianism, meditation and physical fitness. His interest pushed him to research more about eastern philosophies and meditation along with diversified body practices such as hatha yoga and tai chi systems that are now well known as Chinese internal martial arts.
After high school Kraftsow moved up north to attend Providence College in the state of Rhode Island where he pursued Human Development & Psychology focusing on the Western perspectives on human development with Eastern worldviews.
By the start of his undergraduate years, he developed an approach to understanding himself through yogic techniques while studying Psychology. As technology advanced Kraftsow found ways to incorporate new scientific way of understanding by combining technology and visualization techniques such as MRIs as therapy tools for clients looking for holistic approaches towards issues enmeshed around psychological ailments such as depression or anxiety alongside physical ailments like back pain or arthritis.
During this time period Gary focused on what would later be called wellness coaching or lifestyle medicine from health promotion to management of chronic conditions which became the focus of his career today.
The Origins of Yoga for Anxiety
The use of yoga for anxiety has risen in recent years, due to its calming and balancing effects. It was first recorded as a form of physical activity used by ancient Indian scholars to gain knowledge on the body’s physiological processes. Over time, it evolved into introspection and mindfulness; with practitioners learning to understand and control their thoughts. Yogis developed elaborate theories around inner energy flow and spiritual awakening, which thus emphasized psychological health as well as physical health.
The systematic practice of yoga was first outlined in Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras by the 2nd century BCE. This ancient text stated that the goal of yoga is to gain samadhi or union with God or source energy. The eight branches of yoga-astanga yoga, hatha yoga, mantra yoga, bhakti yoga, karma yogas jnana yogas lovyamaya kriya yogas-set forth a holistic system for personal growth.
As an evolution from its mystical roots, modern day forms of yoga employ more contemporary physical and mental practices; such as postures (asanas), pranayam (breathing), and adhyatma (meditation). With these practices combined together to bring about balance physically, mentally and spiritually benefits those who are living with anxiety. Yoga for anxiety helps provide both short-term relaxation techniques for suffering individuals and long-term preventive measures for those prone to upsetting states.
From increased awareness during meditation sessions, to incorporating mindful breathing during times of stress, people can begin to introduce healthy habits that combat negative emotionality over time. It is clear that through integrating these various modalities into one’s lifestyle can result in lower levels of anxiety; ultimately leading to improved mood states overall.
In conclusion, while people have been using forms of meditation or relaxation techniques since millennia ago; the combination of various practices under what we now know as ‘yoga’ allows us to experience genuine changes within ourselves both physically and mentally – resulting in feelings of confidence and peace within oneself once mastered correctly.
This clearly makes yoga an invaluable tool for anyone needing assistance in alleviating symptoms which come with psychological conditions such as anxiety disorder; making it accessible for everyone across every age group worldwide.
Experiencing the Benefits of Yoga for Anxiety
Yoga for anxiety has become increasingly popular over the years as an effective way to cope with anxious thoughts and feelings. Gary Kraftsow, a leading yoga therapist and one of the pioneers of modern therapeutic yoga, emphasizes that it is not just about exercise but rather a unique way to transform the body, mind, and spirit. It provides people with exercises to manage stress, reduce tension, and increase energy in a very natural and healing way.
The main belief in Kraftsow’s technique for managing anxiety is his use of meditation along with specific yogic postures or asanas. Mindful meditation is intended to bring people into the present moment rather than focusing on the anxious thought patterns they may experience often when feeling overwhelmed.
During mindful practice it can help refocus attention away from anxious thoughts while providing relaxation throughout the entire body. By interlinking mediation along with breathwork during these yoga sessions, it allows one to build an important connection between their body, mind and breath which will provide present moment awareness in turn helping individuals cope with their anxiousness.
When performing therapeutic yoga practices intentionally designed for anxiety relief such as those provided by Kraftsow; it can lead individuals to experience a deep sense of inner-goodness with improved self-worth mixed among positive thought patterns that create greater mental clarity.
The meticulous postures included within each session allow individuals to explore different poses each inducing various physical sensations through stretching muscles (especially those related tight chest muscles) that can then be used as an anchor for deeper reflection combined with breathwork to further move them away from their spiral of anxious thinking into being more relaxed overall.
Therefore learning how to use your own breath work combined with mindful postures can lead you down a much more relaxed path through your daily life providing you increased mental wellbeing which will ultimately give you greater control over your emotions allowing your inherent sense of peace to shine through – allowing Yoga For Anxiety by Gary Craftsow to win.
The Postures & Techniques
Gary Kraftsow is an acclaimed yoga teacher, author and wellness leader who has made a variety of postures and techniques designed to reduce the effects of anxiety. One of the most popular poses he teaches are alternate breathing in which you inhale through one nostril, hold for a few seconds allowing your abdominal muscles to loosen and contract, then switch and exhale out of the other nostril.
This technique engages both sides of the brain for balance and helps calm the mind. He also teaches Ujjayi Pranayama which focuses on breathing actively with intention requiring practice but is said to be incredibly calming by deepening breaths so it creates more clear space between thoughts, helping to reduce anxiety.
The use of asana (postures) designed specifically to relieve nervous system agitation are also frequently used in Gary’s classes. One example is Bridge pose, often done with blocks or bolsters assisting in relaxation allowing the breath to bring warmth and life into each joint by syncing the breath with movement until you reach a place where your body can truly relax.
A variation could be supported bridge pose or supta baddha konasana; laying down on your back while bringing bent knees towards your armpits. Not only does this release tension from your lower back but it soothes feelings of insecurity & boosts self-confidence since it requires support from several props instead of pushing through muscular strength as is often found in more challenging postures like shoulder stand.
Yoga Nidra (yogic sleep) is another important tool for reducing stress & promoting inner peace taught by Gary. With various affirmations regarding feeling safe and secure, this guided meditation helps shift away from overwhelming thought patterns towards deeper states of relaxation increasing resilience during times when anxious thoughts have taken over.
Allowing yourself time for consistent practice can not only allow day-to-day mental pressures to dissipate but increase awareness about how different thoughts will affect our emotional wellbeing giving us better control over overcoming and managing periods of acute or pervasive stress/anxiety.
The Science of Yoga
Yoga has been embraced as an effective tool to reduce anxiety levels across the world. In this article, Gary Kraftsow explors the many scientific studies that arise showing how yoga improves anxiety.
To begin, research shows that regular practice of yoga helps reduce psychological and physiological reactivity in stressful situations. This is likely because of the emphases on deep breathing, relaxation and mindfulness throughout do during a typical yoga practice.
Studies suggest that it also increases our tolerance for stress by altering brain chemistry. Specifically, cortisol (stress hormone) levels are reduced after engaging in yoga poses and meditation as well as improving activities activity our sympathetic nervous system (which is responsible for the “fight or flight” response).
Another benefit identified through research is increased self-efficacy or belief in one’s capabilities. Those who practice yoga report feeling more confident in their abilities due to its calming effects which can be beneficial when facing stressful work or social situations. Furthermore, individuals who partake in a consistent yoga program have been shown to have greater expectations of success which allows them to try new things without fear of failure.
Additionally, various studies indicate that any type of exercise decreases stress hormone levels in the body; however, physical activity may not be enough for people with anxiety disorders. Incorporating mindfulness practices such as mindful breathing gives those suffering from heightened levels of anxiety extra support which helps with symptom management and more efficient recovery times following episodes of distress caused by external triggers.
Because of this, researchers conclude that combining physical exercise with mental training through the use of yogic techniques provides more effective treatment intervention than physical activity alone can provide.
Putting It All Together
Yoga For Anxiety, written by Gary Kraftsow, explores different practices that can be used to help alleviate anxiety. Yoga has been around for thousands of years and consists of physical postures as well as deep breathing exercises. These practices have been shown to reduce stress and improve overall mental health. Kraftsow’s book provides readers with an evidence-based approach to understanding yoga and applying its teachings in daily life.
Kraftsow breaks down the concept of yoga into its core components: the poses, the breathing exercises, and the philosophical underpinnings. He explores how each element offers techniques that can be used to control anxiety.
Looking at physical poses, he outlines postures such as Mountain Pose and Cobra Pose that can help build strength and provide grounding for those suffering from extreme episodes of stress or panic attacks. Constructing specific sequences using these postures allows one to create individualized practice plans tailored to their needs.
Kraftsow also discusses the importance of breathing exercises, noting that deep breaths not only help counteract physical reactions caused by anxiety but can also promote relaxation and a sense of calmness on a psychological level. He delves into specific techniques such as Alternate Nostril Breathing that utilize manipulation of the breath pattern to further induce a sense of emotional clarity during anxious moments.
Additionally, he examines ways to incorporate the philosophical principles behind yoga into regular practice; this includes collectively exploring topics such as mindfulness and presence in order to broaden conceptions about mental wellness through political, social and cultural lenses.
By covering all major areas involved in yoga, Kraftsow’s Yoga For Anxiety serves as an accessible guidebook for anyone seeking relief from their struggles with mental health issues. His clear explanation of how meditation, postures and breathing combine together paints a persuasive argument for incorporating generations-old practices alongside modern healthcare offerings; allowing individuals more control over their well-being while giving them agency regarding exploring alternative forms of therapy beyond traditional medicine options.
Gary Kraftsow has been a strong presence in the world of yoga for over 30 years. He is an innovator who helped to submit the ancient spiritual wisdom and traditions of yoga into mainstream Western practice. His work has allowed countless people to benefit from its physical, mental, and spiritual benefits. In particular, his dedication to helping people dealing with anxiety and mood disorders through practicing yoga has made a substantial difference in the lives of many.
Kraftsow emphasizes that the most important principle behind yoga for anxiety is mindfulness. This concept teaches everyone how to become more aware of the sensations, thoughts, and emotions happening within their bodies in any given moment.
Additionally, practicing certain postures can help literally rewire our brains in order to better manage anxious or depressive feelings. Furthermore, his integration of pranayama meditation into his approach helps people learn how to control their breath in order to improve focus and reduce feelings of stress and anxiety without needing pharmaceutical intervention.
Finally, Gary Kraftsow’s lasting impact as an innovator is truly inspirational; since his first introduction of Viniyoga Therapy™ in the early 1990s he has changed the way that yogis around the world understand and practice yoga today.
By making this ancient practice more accessible to people dealing with conditions such as anxiety or depression he has demonstrated beyond doubt just how powerful this form of alternative treatment can be; allowing millions of people all over the world access to improved wellbeing from holistic sources rather than depending on medications alone.
I am passionate about yoga and this is my blog. I have been practicing yoga for over 10 years and teaching for 5. Yoga has transformed my life in so many ways and I love being able to share that with others. My hope is that through this blog, I can help people learn more about yoga, connect with other yogis, and find inspiration to live a healthier, happier life.