Yoga for Anxiety: Meditations and Practices for Calming the Body and Mind


Many of us face daily demands and overwhelming difficulties that cause seemingly uncontrollable feelings of anxiety and fear. When you feel this way, it's healing to calm yourself and to reclaim your sense of innate goodness and well-being. For centuries, yoga has offered a quiet retreat away from life's pressures and has enabled us to reconnect to our inner wisdom and peace.

Regular yoga practice has been proven to calm stress, enhance concentration, and reduce the symptoms of ...

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Yoga for Anxiety: Meditations and Practices for Calming the Body and Mind

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Many of us face daily demands and overwhelming difficulties that cause seemingly uncontrollable feelings of anxiety and fear. When you feel this way, it's healing to calm yourself and to reclaim your sense of innate goodness and well-being. For centuries, yoga has offered a quiet retreat away from life's pressures and has enabled us to reconnect to our inner wisdom and peace.

Regular yoga practice has been proven to calm stress, enhance concentration, and reduce the symptoms of anxiety. This book offers meditations, mindfulness practices, self-inquiry exercises, and yoga poses that soothe anxious feelings and develop mental clarity. Before long, you'll free yourself from the anxiety and fears that hold you back and learn to live with a more open heart and resilient mind. Just as yoga helps you feel more at home in your body, the mental and physical practices in Yoga for Anxiety help you increase your sense of contentment in life.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Feeling anxious is so much a part of modern life that we almost forget how limiting it can be. But not these authors. They offer us clear information and techniques for dealing with anxiety on a daily basis. They teach us what the brain does when we are anxious, and what we can do about it, by changing the focus of our thinking and getting us on the yoga mat and meditation cushion for time-honored practices. —But mostly they give us readers the confidence that we can transcend our anxiety and lead richer and more enjoyable lives. Highly recommended for yoga teachers and others interested in the whole picture of anxiety, including the spiritual angst that usually accompanies it. I especially enjoyed the personal stories scattered throughout the book."
—Judith Hanson Lasater, Ph.D., PT, has been teaching yoga since 1971 and is author of eight books, including Yogabody

"Writing in a clear, step-by-step format, Mary and Rick NurrieStearns provide simple practices to help identify and counteract negative thoughts, induce relaxation, develop awareness, reduce stress, and heal anxiety. The authors create a connection with the reader by using images and examples from everyday life that resonate with everyone’s experiences. Yoga for Anxiety integrates modern psychology with basic yoga practices, including postures, breathing, mindfulness, and meditation. In the early chapters, basic information suitable for beginners provides the foundation for more advanced material as the book progresses. For anyone suffering from anxiety, Yoga for Anxiety is a great place to begin the journey to recovery."
—Patricia L. Gerbarg, MD, and Richard P. Brown, MD, coauthors of How to Use Herbs, Nutrients, and Yoga in Mental Health Care

"Yoga is one of the best-validated therapies in the entire field of integrative medicine. It is especially valuable because it addresses all we are: body, mind, and spirit. Yoga for Anxiety is an excellent guide for anyone seeking greater serenity, peace, and fulfillment, and who isn’t?"
—Larry Dossey, MD, author of Healing Words and The Power of Premonitions

"By combining traditional psychology with the deep teachings of yoga, Mary and Rick NurrieStearns help you move past anxiety in order to experience your true nature. Yoga for Anxiety clearly shows that when you are willing to mindfully face and release your anxiety, it actually becomes a doorway to deep inner freedom and happiness."
—Michael A. Singer, author of The Untethered Soul

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781572246515
  • Publisher: New Harbinger Publications
  • Publication date: 2/2/2010
  • Series: Unassigned Series
  • Pages: 232
  • Sales rank: 272,389
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Mary NurrieStearns, LCSW, RYT, is a psychotherapist and yoga teacher with a counseling practice in Tulsa, OK. She is author of numerous articles on psycho-spiritual growth, coeditor of the book Soulful Living, coauthor of the book Yoga for Anxiety, and has produced DVDs on yoga for anxiety and emotional trauma. She leads transformational meditation and yoga retreats and teaches seminars across the United States.

Visit the NurrieStearns online at

Rick NurrieStearns, is a meditation teacher, coauthor of the book Yoga for Anxiety, and coeditor of Soulful Living. For ten years he was the publisher of Personal Transformation, a magazine focusing on psycho-spiritual growth. He has been immersed in consciousness studies and yoga practices for nearly four decades. In 2009 he survived a near-fatal airplane crash that resulted in chronic pain. He credits the practice of meditation with helping him navigate through extreme pain and the journey of recovery.

Visit the NurrieStearns online at

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Read an Excerpt

many years ago, we hiked a beautiful trail in Utah’s Zion National Park, called Angels Landing. The trail started off with a strenuous hike up a number of switchbacks on a paved path. After topping the paved switchbacks, we entered a canyon with a gradually inclining, shaded path. Just as we thought we were nearing the end of the trail, the trail turned and revealed that we had even steeper switchbacks ahead of us. We were determined to reach the top of the trail, because descending hikers seemed thrilled to have experienced its breathtaking view and we wanted to see what everyone was talking about.

The path became increasingly intimidating and scary. Heavy chains were bolted into the rock walls to hang on to. On the edge of a cliff, the trail was only a foot wide with a sheer 1,200 foot drop to the river below. Hikers on their way back down encouraged us to go on, declaring that the view from the top was marvelous. Sustained by their support, we continued. We haltingly climbed the same way everybody does, putting one foot down in front of the other and going breath by breath by breath. Once we reached the summit, we smiled and breathed sighs of relief, yet we both knew that we had to go back down the same way we had come up. We worried our way through our lunch and then began the return trip. During our descent, there were moments when we focused more on what might go wrong and less on where the ground was solid beneath our feet. We had to stop from time to time, remind each other to breathe, remember that we were okay, and then begin again.

Sometime after our Zion trip, Rick resolved to walk through the forest near our home as a daily meditation. Having long relied on his steadfast and steely mind to get him through life, he sometimes found that it cut him off from his aliveness. Putting one foot in front of the other helped Rick slow down and connect to himself, which propelled him into a powerful healing journey because he was then better able to feel and be touched by the meditative practices he had done for many years.

Taking one step at a time has helped enable Mary to live inside of herself. Her thoughts used to race ahead of her body, worrying about what would happen next and what she needed to take care of. It was as if her mind lived in a different time zone than her body. After the Angels Landing hike, she silently recited the words, “Step here,”during her morning walks, because it focused her attention on walking as she walked. Gradually her body and mind started moving together as one, making it possible for her to integrate what her yoga practices revealed to her.

Putting one foot in front of the other is so simple that it can become mechanical, allowing our minds to go elsewhere and be out of sync with our experience. As a consequence, we forget what we’re doing, who we are, and where we are. All this forgetting causes painful anxiety. Healing ourselves from this anxiety depends on our remembering again.

We’ve been on a yoga journey together since we met, twenty years ago, and this book is our way of sharing what we’ve learned. We’ve both suffered from anxiety and found that yoga practices help us to remember who we are, to connect to ourselves, and to engage more fully in life. We don’t claim scholarly knowledge about yoga, but we’ve experienced its real and lasting benefits. Yoga has brought profound healing to us and to the people we work with in retreats, seminars, and counseling.

While yoga practices are empowering and safe, they are not substitutes for medical care. Sometimes yoga practices are most effective as supplemental self-care to counseling and medical advice. Professional treatment, including medications, can be helpful, especially if you have a history of trauma or intense anxiety. If you’re receiving treatment for anxiety, please consult with your therapist or doctor before doing the practices in this book.

We teach only what we personally practice, so know that we’re with you as you try the practices covered in this book. And along the way, remember to go step by step—breath by breath by breath.

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Table of Contents



Chapter 1 Understanding Anxiety

Chapter 2 How Thinking Makes You Anxious

Chapter 3 How Yoga Heals Anxiety

Chapter 4 A Deeper Look at Anxiety

Chapter 5 Practices for Calming Your Mind

Chapter 6 Practices for Comforting Your Body

Chapter 7 Meditation and Mindfulness for Anxiety

Chapter 8 Relieving Anxiety With Ethical Living



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Sort by: Showing all of 6 Customer Reviews
  • Posted May 6, 2010

    Yoga for Anxiety is a book that can change your life. This is definitely in your budget and it is the gift that keeps giving. Give it to someone you love and those you want to give the gift of better health and a better life.

    This book is not a how to do Yoga Book, per se. There are hunderds of books on different types of Yoga and how to do yoga. This book is a lovely source of knowledge for anyone who wishes to take care of their physical, mental and spiritual health. It is also for anyone who has experienced anxiety. It is written in a style of loving kindness and by Mary and Rick's examples it teaches you to have compassion and patience with yourself. This book teaches you valuable tools that anyone can use to put themselves in charge of anxiety forever. The idea is that you can take charge of anxiety without medication, or ingesting alcohol or other substances. If this appeals to you, then this is well worth your time and money. This book is for you.

    Rick and Mary have done extensive research into the latest findings of Neuroscience. They have explained it in easy to understand language, so you do not need to have a degree in science or biology to understand what is written in their book. A foundation key that Rick and Mary explain is that scientists have found, that the action of repeated firings of neurons changes the wiring of the brain. This simply means you can change your mental wiring by what you think, and how often you think it. This is crucial in understanding what Mary and Rick are teaching in this book. They explain that through the repetition of practice of Yoga techniques, and verbal mantra, the brain has the capacity to incorporate these into a healthy response style for responding to stress and anxiety.

    Mary and Rick explain how anxiety, phobia and trauma are related to irrational fears. They also help us look at the by product which can take control of our lives which are the needs for certainty and safety. They teach us to analyze our needs for safety. While taking steps to help us feel safer, they offers tools to build up a tolerance for uncertainty as we know life does not offer any of us absolutes.

    Mary and Rick introduce meditation, breathe work, silent retreats and yoga practices that anyone can learn and perform in their own home. Some poses can be utilized in your work environment to help you free your body of anxiety. This book is truly a gift of love to humanity.

    I am a practicing psychologist who has been doing therapy with clients since 1988. While I have taught individuals self relaxation, I see this book offering a compulation of tools that are interconnected and that are self healing. This book offers a holistic approach of incorporating tools for a life style change that will result in a new approach to anxiet, as well as dealing with ones own identity and ealy programing. I am also a certified yoga instructor and find these poses safe and ones that can be self taught.

    I would highly recomment this book to clients, students, family and friends. THis is the best medicine yet. It does not require ingesting a pill or other substances. IT requires a small amount of time and some self discipline, like brushing ones teeth. Pretty soon, you just do it, and you do not think about it. It just is!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 29, 2010

    Excellent guide for relieving anxiety

    The NurrieStearns' have created a wonderful melding of mind, body and spirit in YOGA FOR ANXIETY. The explantaion of the neurobiolgy of stress and anxiety is thorough yet succinct and easily understood. Having that knowledge is a powerful tool in self acceptance and understanding for anyone with an anxiety disorder or who needs relief from life stressors. The case vignettes and practice sections invite insight, personal growth and healing. The practical, easy to follow instructions of calming mind and body call the reader into a peaceful mind and sense of well being, even for the yoga novice. This book will be a tremendous help to anone who reads it. Jackie Neel D.O., Psychiatrist

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 23, 2010

    Speaking Words of Wisdom

    Having a degree in nursing (BSN), I'm always pleasantly surprised to pick up a book that explains in laymans terms the body's physiological response to stress.
    Mary and Rick NurrieStearns easily communicate to the reader the 5 facets of anxiety and give us manageable ways to healing that anxiety by activating the relaxation response. They share their own personal struggles and triumphs over anxiety as well as 15 other personal stories throughout the book.
    We learn to become aware of and identify our anxiety producing thoughts. It is through simple practices and techniques -- self inquiring exercises, meditation, simple yoga poses and focused abdominal breathing that we begin to treat ourselves more lovingly and heal anxiety and suffering. As I turned the pages, I found Mary to be the readers biggest cheerleader. It's as if she's holding your hand with loving-kindness and through her tender words and compassion, you can't help but see your innate goodness within, feel connected and experience life as precious!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 22, 2010

    Quieting the Noise of Anxiety. . .

    As a retired psychotherapist, I have read numerous books and articles about anxiety. This one offers a comprehensive approach to calming the body/mind. The breathing exercises and mindfulness techniques are clear and easy to follow. Ditto for the yoga poses, which are clearly demonstrated by a model.

    The authors have done an excellent job of explaining how thinking is often the root cause of anxiety, and offer several ways to counteract this negative spiral.

    In sharing their personal experiences with anxiety, Mary and Rick Nurrie Stearns demonstrate their understanding of the subject on both professional and personal levels. Their warmth and candor enhance what is already a fine book.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 19, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Yoga for Anxiety is both a resource and a gift

    Yoga for Anxiety provides a wealth of information for both clinicians and clients who wish to learn about the physiology of anxiety and natural ways to reduce or releave anxiety. As a student of yoga and a therapist in private practice, I value a resource that provides empowering ways for people to achieve a reduction in their symptoms. The book provides interventions for anxiety on several levels with clear instructions for writing exercises, mindfulness practices, and the use of various yoga poses to address specific degrees of anxiety. I have recommended it to several patients and we are pleased with the results!

    I loved the organization of the book moving from understanding that promotes compassion for one's own suffering to practice that leads to a sense of personal empowerment. How lovely to read a book that is both a resource and a source of serenity and inner peace!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 15, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

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