Yoga for OCD has been studied and found to be effective. There are a variety of different styles of yoga, along with the breathing and meditation that go along with any given practice. The discipline of kundalini yoga and some of the specific exercises have been found to be extremely beneficial. Yoga itself has been helpful in a variety of conditions whether they’re physical, mental or spiritual. It’s been found that the symptoms of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder can be reduced through yoga.
What is OCD exactly?
It is classified as a clinical anxiety disorder as well as a psychiatric disorder. The person who suffers from this illness will experience involuntary, intrusive thoughts. As they are such strong thoughts and the person is conditioned to believe them, they will act on these thoughts. These thoughts can also be name exaggerated fears.
They have no basis on what’s really going on around the person. Their anxiety gets so intense based on their internal fears that they feel compelled to do something about it. Some of the symptoms of OCD can include compulsive actions. They may hoard their things, count excessively, clean, or check to make sure the door is locked eight times. The condition can disable a person from living a real life if there is no treatment brought on.
Getting professional help from someone who is an expert on anxiety is an important step to recovery. Someone with OCD can greatly benefit from psychiatric counseling. Often, a person will be put on medication to ease the symptoms as well. There are many side effects that go along with taking anti-anxiety and anti-psychotic medications.
There are a variety of different treatments and therapies to help one manage OCD. This is how OCD is primarily managed in the western society. In the East, it would be specific asanas and forms of yoga that would help manage someone with any kind of mood disorder.
The Yogic Approach to OCD
Yoga includes pranayama (breathing), mantra (chanting), asana (poses), meditation, and relaxation. There is the Ayurveda diet that also runs alongside with yoga. Nutrition has found to be an important element to episodes within OCD. It’s likely your yoga teacher isn’t going to know the ins and outs of an Ayurveda diet and as it’s quite a personalized diet, you’d likely want to go to a practitioner.
Yoga has been recommended by doctors for various anxiety disorders. There are no side effects when doing yoga and it naturally helps you feel good. Methods of yoga train the mind which is an important part of recovery for someone with OCD. They have to master their own mind and get that internal power. Therapeutic forms of yoga guide us on what thoughts we should pay attention to and what thoughts should be let go of immediately.
Yoga teachers are being made aware of the needs of OCD students. Yoga teacher training schools help their students understand that there will be many different people taking their classes. Yoga teachers may take extra training to help people with anxiety.
Kundalini yoga is a type of yoga practice that has been around for thousands of years. It incorporates meditation techniques that were found to relieve many symptoms of psychiatric disorders. This includes obsessive-compulsive disorder.
Within studies, it is said that one of the techniques which were found to be effective was thirty minutes of focused breathing. The belief is that because many of the obsessive thoughts and behaviors go on for more than 30 minutes per day, it’s a technique that can replace time spent with the negative pattern.
Kundalini Yoga Practice for OCD
Anecdotal reports have said that doing the full 31 minutes breathing exercise of Kundalini for three months showed remarkable results. In fact, it was said that it eliminated all the symptoms of obsessive-compulsive behavior. There isn’t any scientific data that has specified this to be true but those with OCD have said they noticed vast improvements in their quality of life.
– Sit with your legs crossed. Ensure that your spine is straight. You can sit on a chair with your feet flat on the floor too.
– Gently shut your eyes.
– With the tip of your right thumb, you want to cover your right nostril.
– The other fingers of your right hand should point upwards. Make sure that your arm and shoulder are relaxed with your elbow hanging.
– Slowly inhale into your left nostril all the way into your belly. Hold the inhale at the top for a few seconds.
– Exhale very slowly through your left nostril and hold it at the bottom for a few seconds.
– Make sure that you’re listening and paying attention to the breath the whole time. This helps you to stay totally focused on the practice.
Continue to do this for up to 31 minutes. You will inhale and exhale through the left nostril the whole time. When you continue to do this practice daily, you’ll get to the point where you can do a cycle of breath for one minute. The cycles being inhales and hold and then exhale and hold.
Doing yoga poses helps to calm the body which sends messages to the brain to remain calm also. A calm mind can help prevent the onset of anxiety. The breathing that goes with yoga helps you to focus on something else. Meditation helps you to master your mind so that when thoughts do come up that can cause an episode, you’re more able to recognize it and let the thought go. The yoga techniques that have been used for thousands of years coincide with many of the practices we use in modern therapy today for clinical mood disorders.
Meera Watts is a yoga teacher, entrepreneur, and mom. Her writing on yoga and holistic health has appeared in Elephant Journal, CureJoy, FunTimesGuide, OMtimes, and others. She’s also the founder and owner of Siddhi Yoga. You can follow her on Instagram or Facebook.