Yoga Techniques for Social Anxiety


Is there a particular method that has been proven to alleviate or eradicate symptoms of social anxiety?

—martin, uk


Dear Martin,

Thank you for your inquiry. Anyone who asks sincerely for help in any field of life, looking towards the yoga teachings of Self-realization, is on the right track to receive some form of divine guidance or blessing. So I applaud you for that, and I hope we can offer you something here.

Social anxiety is defined as a chronic mental health condition in which social interactions cause irrational anxiety. The usual and important disclaimer must be made that, while yoga techniques are ancient, universal and tangibly effective for many, they are not intended to diagnose, cure or prevent any disease or ailment. Additionally, like the widespread incidence of depression in modern society, social anxiety exists on a strata of individual experience. In any case, certain yoga techniques may prove useful to anyone looking for stress relief or alleviating anxiety of all kinds.

Diaphragmatic breathing is a simple and effective technique for calming the central nervous system, where anxieties and nervous tendencies are rooted. Consistent meditation practice, like the Hong-Sau technique can be extremely helpful to keep one centered and calm amidst stress. Yoga asana practice and pranayama of all kinds, particularly Yogananda’s unique and powerful Energization Exercises, can also be very effective to maintain an all-around healthful, positive and peaceful state of body and mind.

Whatever the chosen approach may be, it will be strongest if the practitioner is consistent and devoted. A loving, joyful flow of energy has a strong positive flow. The energy of heart center, one’s “feeling nature” is pivotal in any undertaking. This is why devotion to God (or Spirit, through a Guru, the Saints, or any form) is a supreme virtue. Jesus Christ said “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.”

Whatever your challenges with social anxiety may be, I pray that the yoga techniques of Self-realization may give you some degree of relief, not only to the symptoms of your condition, but to the greater health and happiness to which all aspire. Many blessings on your path.

Badri Matlock
Ananda Village