Yoga for anxiety

Over the past few years, anxiety has become part of my life. What was once an emotion I actually couldn’t comprehend, become one I was all too familiar with.

I now know more about this phenomena and that it affects so many people; really it’s quite remarkable; even people who come across as extremely happy and confident can be suffering on the inside.

There are however, many ways to help cope with anxiety: herbs, habits, diet; for me, it’s yoga. One of my teachers has helped me in immeasurable amounts simply by giving me a true feeling of comfort and care, the things we generally feel starved of during anxious episodes. My wonderful teacher introduced me to this pose and since then I can honestly say my life has changed. I practice this everyday. Β I do now wonder how I can travel without my bolster!?!

This supported posture, for me, creates such ease and comfort, a place where I fell safe to let go. We are so often told to suck in our bellies, be it for an exercise class or wanting to look a certain way that’s accepted as today’s ‘beautiful’, but when the belly is sucked in all the time, your organs are under constant compression and lack the space they need to work efficiently. Furthermore, this pose allows the breath to travel all the way down into the belly. So many people, including myself, restrict there breathing to the upper chambers of the lungs, unconsciously breathing only into the chest while under perceived stress; when in this position, the belly it totally protected and can finally let go, allowing the breath to be full and expansive. From this process of deepening and therefore slowing our breath, we switch into the parasympathetic state which is when our nervous system is no longer in a state of fight or flight (which is where many people spend most of their lives these days), but is in a place to rest and digest, allowing the body to heal on all levels.

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Supported Adho Mukha Virasana:

Kneel on your mat, big toes touching and knees apart. Place a bolster in front of the pelvis lengthways and elevate the end furthest from you with a block, or perhaps two. Lean forward and allow your torso to melt into the bolster. Let go of everything and enjoy the feeling of your body moving into deep relaxation.

p.s. I can travel without my bolster – all we need to find this comfort, is some pressure against the belly. It could even be our own hands while standing.

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