The precise cause of panic attacks is the subject of much debate in western medicine and is therefore still unknown. Historically, panic attacks have been attributed to over-activity of the nervous system (and, as a result, tranquilisers were often prescribed), but what causes over-activity of the nervous system?
More recently, clinicians have been trying to understand the role of chaotic breathing in panic attacks. Some have even suggested that chaotic breathing is the cause, and not the result, of panic attacks. With this in mind, treatments for panic attacks may now include breath training.
Those who know yoga, know pranayama, that is alternate nostril breathing (especially so, if you are a student of mine!) and will be familiar with working with the breath and the concept of living a life of balance. In this way, such yogic practices can help balance the nervous system and control breath and slow thoughts – all of which would appear to help counter anxiety issues.
Damian Cadman-Jones is an authorised teacher of Prana Vashya Yoga™.