How To Use Yoga For Panic Attacks (Meditation Techniques + Poses)

Published by Paul Harrison on

When you have a panic attack meditation techniques and yoga poses can help.  

Meditation and yoga are healthy ways to take control of your anxiety.

As a meditation teacher, lots of people ask for my advice on using meditation for panic attacks.

So here is some good news: you can use both yoga and meditation for panic attacks. Science proves it. 

Yoga and meditation help to: 

  1. stop panic attacks when they happen
  2. prevent panic attacks from happening.
  3. Help you take control of your emotions

As well as yoga and meditation there are also mudras for panic attacks, which I will share in just a moment.  

Once you learn to meditate and start practicing yoga, you will be able to stop panic attacks quickly. And you will be able to take control of your emotions.

In a moment I’ll share the best panic attack meditation techniques and yoga poses so you know what to do. But first, most people like to know about the science. So let’s take a look.  

The science of using yoga and meditation for panic attacks

The best thing about using yoga poses and meditation for panic attacks is that it stops the symptoms quickly.  

As you know, there are lots of symptoms of panic attacks: (1):

  • Heart palpitations
  • Accelerated heart rate
  • Sweating
  • Trembling or shaking
  • Shortness of breath
  • Feeling of being smothering
  • Feelings of choking for seemingly no reason
  • Chest pain / tension /
  • Nausea or abdominal pain
  • Feeling dizzy
  • Feeling light-headed
  • Feeling faint
  • Chills or heat sensations
  • Paresthesia (numbness or tingling sensations)
  • Derealization
  • Fear of losing control or “going crazy”
  • Fear of dying

By using meditation for panic attacks you will stop these symptoms early on, before they become a problem.  

Is it a panic attack or anxiety?

Many people confuse panic attacks with anxiety. I get that. There are lots of similarities between panic attacks and anxiety.

But listen:

It’s important to know the difference especially if you want to use meditation for panic attacks. 

  • Panic attacks are short and intense. They generally reach their peak within 10 minutes and with no obvious trigger.
  • Anxiety lasts longer and is generally tied to a specific trigger. Anxiety also has observable worries. Anxiety is generally less intense than panic attacks (2).

As you can see, the main difference between panic attacks and anxiety is that panic attacks are shorter and more intense. 

But you can use yoga poses and meditation techniques for panic attacks and anxiety attacks, so it’s worth learning how to meditate either way. 

Scientific research on yoga and meditation for panic attacks

There are more than 100 health benefits of meditation.

Mankind is finally entering an age where science is taking spirituality seriously.

As such, there is tons of research currently being conducted into how spiritual practices like mindfulness and yoga help with mental health problems.

Science has already proven that meditation and mindfulness offer 100+ health benefits.

And we now know, scientifically, that we an use mindfulness and yoga for panic attacks.

Yoga reduces stress and anxiety and improves quality of life. And the combination of meditation and yoga is effective at treating panic attacks.

Scientific Research on using yoga and meditation for panic attacks:

A survey of 14,985 people looked at the effects of acupuncture, yoga and meditation on panic attacks.

Two thirds of the study-group who had anxiety disorders undertook alternative therapies and had successful results.

This has been backed by other studies around the world.

Scientists believe that mind-body interventions like yoga and meditation help panic attacks significantly.

The scientists note that when used as therapy, yoga should include asana (poses0, pranayama (breathing) and yoganidra (deep relaxation) as well as meditation.  

The researchers note that yoga and meditation significantly increase emotional regulation and reduce depression, stress, and anxiety. [3]

The Best Panic Attack Meditation Techniques 

1. Mindfulness Meditation for panic attacks  

Mindfulness meditation is a style of meditation in which we are consciously aware of the present moment and of what is occurring within the mind.

This is arguably the best panic attack meditation technique. 

Scientific research shows that good things happen when you use mindfulness for panic attacks and anxiety attacks. Specifically, you gain more emotional control.  [4]

When using mindfulness meditation for panic attacks, we learn about the mind and about how our mental state is constantly changing. And we learn to accept our feelings and emotions instead of reacting to them in unhelpful ways.   

It seems crazy simple, doesn’t it? Just focusing on the present moment. That’s all it is. And yet the act of focusing on the present moment, or being mindful, can and will change your life for the better, as it has changed the lives of many millions of people around the world.

When we practice mindfulness meditation for panic attacks, we teach our mind not to dwell on thoughts. This naturally lessens the effect that stress, worry and negative thoughts have on us.

Mindfulness is about observing and accepting thoughts, rather than fighting them and pushing them away.  By accepting our thoughts and not fighting them, we recognise that they are only thoughts, that they are not reality. Once we realise this, we are able to overcome our negative ways of thinking.

Not only does mindfulness help panic attacks, it is recognised as one of the best ways to  make the mind stronger.

You’ll love many of the other  self healing meditation too.

2. Yoga for panic attacks

Scientific research shows that we can definitely use yoga for panic attacks. Yoga is one of the most reliable ways of improving emotional regulation and alleviating the symptoms of panic attacks.

Science also teaches us how to use yoga for panic attacks.

The research says we should focus on the following:

1. Asanas (yoga poses) for panic attack

Asanas are the specific body positions in yoga. For instance, the most well-known positions are “Downward Dog” and “Cat Pose”.

Science shows that different asanas have different benefits because they activate different parts of the body. [5]

The best yoga poses for panic attacks are:

  • Legs up wall pose
  • Headstand
  • Warrior III
  • Tree Pose
  • Child’s Pose
  • Bridge Pose
  • Cat Pose
  • Cow Pose

(be aware of the risks of Bikram yoga, if that is the type of yoga you choose to do)

2. Pranayama yoga for anxiety

Pranayama is the yogic term for controlling the breath.

In yoga we use the breath to help move prana (energy) around the body.

Try this beginner’s pranayama yoga exercise for panic attacks:

  1. Sit comfortably with good posture
  2. Breathe in and focus on creating a smooth and flowing breath
  3. Meditate on the feeling of your breath moving between your lips and nose.
  4. Pause slightly between inhalation and exhalation. Notice the stillness here.
  5. Breathe out smoothly, meditating on the flow of breath.

This is a simple pranayama exercise that calms the mind. It’s one of the best exercises for panic attacks.

You can also use the prana mudra for panic attacks.

3. Yoga meditation for panic attacks (Meditation technique for intermediates)

Yoga Nidra is the state of conscious that lies halfway between waking and sleeping. In this state we are completely relaxed and much more mindful of our inward state.

The science (above) shows that yoga nidra relieves the symptoms of panic attacks.

Here’s how to use this type of yoga for panic attacks:

  1. Lie down straight in Shavasana (Corpse Pose).
  2. Close your eyes and relax.
  3. Take a few mindful breaths.
  4. Bring your awareness to you right foot. Relax your foot.
  5. Move on to your right knee, ankle, thigh and then hip. Relax these parts.
  6. Be aware of your entire right leg. Relax.
  7. Repeat with your left leg.
  8. Continue in this fashion across your pelvis, stomach, navel, chest, right arm, right hand, left arm, left hand, neck, throat, and head.
  9. Breathe mindfully for 10 breaths.
  10. Be aware of your entire body. Relax.
  11. Be aware of your surroundings. Relax.
  12. Sit up slowly and gently.


These are the three best ways to use yoga for panic attacks.   


3. Nine Round Breathing meditation for panic attacks (Meditation from Buddhism)

One of the best breathing meditation techniques for panic attacks is “Nine Round Breathing”. 

If you suffer from panic attacks, meditating on the breath is an excellent strategy. 

Nine round breathing relaxes the mind quickly. 

It’s a special breathing technique that originates from Buddhism. And it is great for quickly relaxing the min when you feel a panic attack coming on.

To help you out, I’ve written a special guide to Nine Round Breathing because I really believe that it will help you to overcome panic attacks. So make sure you take a look at that link.


4. Mindfulness CBT exercises for panic attacks

MBCBT (Mindfulness-based cognitive behavioural therapy) is a system that combines psychological exercises (CBT) with mindfulness. This method combines the best of psychology and meditation for panic attack sufferers.

Research shows that when we combine mindfulness with cognitive behavioural therapy we get a highly effective treatment for panic attacks (6).

I’ve written a separate guide to help you learn mindfulness-based cognitive behavioural therapy.

5. Mindful jogging—Best physical meditation for panic attacks

One of the best meditation techniques for panic attacks is to take a mindful run.

This is personally my favorite panic attack meditation technique.  

Hundreds of scientific studies have proven that physical exercise is of immense benefit in curing anxiety. Exercise releases hormones and chemicals that help you to relax and to improve your mood.

Exercise also helps to stop anxiety by making it harder for the body to experience the physical symptoms of anxiety. Jogging is one of the best exercises for anxiety attacks. Walking is also good exercise for anxiety.

It’s been proven that meditating while running is one of the absolute best tricks for panic attacks

Here, read my guide to meditating while running. .


6.  To prevent anxiety, be mindful and plan ahead 

Another great trick for panic attacks is to plan ahead.

You need to plan so you are prepared for an anxiety attack.

Make use of your free time, when you are feeling relaxed, to come up with a plan of campaign for when you do suffer an anxiety attack.

Perhaps you can have a friend or relative in mind who you can call.

Perhaps you can carry some relaxing music with you.

Find ways to relax and make sure they are always at hand. Simply knowing that you have ways to overcome an anxiety attack will help you to feel more relaxed and less worried.

This will reduce the chance of you suffering an anxiety attack.

And that’s how to use yoga & meditation for panic attacks

Panic attacks can be absolutely devastating, I know. It can make it very difficult to relax, especially when you are out in public. But it is very important to remember that you are in control.

Yes, you are in control.

I know it often doesn’t feel like that. But listen.

You have control of your own mind.

Yes, there are challenges from time to time. And sometimes you may feel anxious. And you may continue to suffer from the occasional panic attack. Meditation will help when that happens. 

But you know what?

You have the power to take control of your panic attacks. And using spiritual techniques like yoga and meditation will help immensely.

Remember to share and leave a comment.



Share This:

Paul Harrison

Paul Harrison is a meditation teacher, author and journalist based in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. Paul has helped thousands of people to discover their true potential. Don’t miss Paul’s inspirational and enlightening book: Your Best Meditation

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *