A piece on how yoga has allowed me to manage my anxiety.
Yoga is a simple way to let everything go. To fall away from our busy, aggressive lifestyles and let us find our inner selves. It allows me to be myself. To find what our bodies are capable of without judgement. To focus on the importance of letting everyday stressors go.
It lets us observe how we feel. How our bodies and emotions feel. Yoga lets us connect on a deeper level. Leading to more holistic balance.
It lets us explore the diverse inner thoughts we don't touch often. It lets us expand our consciousness away from our external environment. Our environment affects our body and mind heavily. Environments can be stressful and out of our control most of the time. Yoga allows us to free our holistic body from irritating times.
Maybe you haven't had a chance to try out this form of activity or you think it isn't for you. Everyone is individual but I do encourage you to give it a try. Especially if you are living with a mental illness. I struggled with finding a way to deal with anxiety, OCD and stressful times. Between antidepressants, natural stress relievers and physical activity, I am finally at a place where my mind is manageable. I don't stay up until 4 AM with my mind racing anymore. I answer the phone now, I can manage this.
Yoga lets me be myself without inner judgement. We get too caught up in our selves, in our own world, in our relationships. We need a chance to let it all go. To free ourselves from it all. To connect to a deeper understanding of why we are here.
Ask yourself this. Are you doing something you love everyday? Where is your happy place? Do you go there often? Can you manage your emotions in difficult situations?
I have a lot of environments that make me happy. Anywhere with water, sun and nature. I have now made my yoga mat my happy place. I can't always get away to my favourite waterfall or mountain, but I can always find peace on my mat.
This peace comes within 30 seconds of being mindful. Your yoga practice does not need to be an hour long. It can be 5 minutes of mindfulness and meditation, 5 minutes of stretching, 5 minutes of laying down without technology.
When I'm nervous, I stretch. I breath. I notice how I'm feeling. When I'm anxious I do the same thing. This works for me and I wish I had known this a couple years ago. I was participating in yoga for more of the physical benefits than the mental. Don't get me wrong the physical benefits of yoga, including balance, strength and endurance are amazing, however, the mental benefits are what have really made a difference in my life.
I wish I knew this when I was 15. This is why I strive to always promote yoga, physical activity, healthy eating, and a balanced lifestyle. To reach out to the people who were like me and did not know what to do about their anxiety. Coping is a journey. It will take time to find out what your body needs and craves. Learn what you love, learn what you need, use it everyday.
Here is a simple breathing technique you can try to ease stress:
*Sit or lay in a comfortable position in an environment you enjoy* *Inhale deeply through the nose *Pause at the top *Exhale deeply through the nose, creating a slight constriction at the back of the throat to encourage making your breath audible. Bring your belly button towards your spine, bracing the core. (Just hearing your own breath is grounding and can aid in calming the nervous system) *Continue this breathing. Inhaling for 4 counts, pausing for 2, exhaling for 6.
This breathing technique is called "Pranayama" or "Breath of Fire". It connects you deeper to your body, your bodies movements and your conscious thoughts. Try it out and let me know what you think.
If you are ever interested in trying yoga but don't want to go to a studio, I would love to teach you individually or with a group of people. I want to share my passion for moving with everyone!
Thanks for reading an article about how yoga encourages me to flourish. I hope this can help some of you too.