Hatha yoga, the most common form of yoga practiced in the Western world, combines body postures or asanas, breath control or pranayama, and meditation, and each of these can help reduce stress and anxiety. Depending on the particular form of yoga and the skill level and fitness of the practitioner, the body postures or asanas can provide cardiovascular benefits like any other exercise, and regular exercise certainly reduces stress. In addition, the breath control or pranayama is very beneficial because it slows respiration, which then has favorable effects on your cardiovascular system as well as increasing calmness and well-being. Focusing attention through meditation helps to quiet the mind as well as the body. In fact, because yoga's reputation for cutting stress and improving mental health has bolstered its popularity so much in recent years, several researchers have put it to the test with well-controlled randomized trials and have shown that regularly practicing yoga can indeed reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression.
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