The One Yoga Posture You Need To Help With Anxiety
This is my all-time favorite yoga posture, and my quick-fix remedy for just about everything from jet-lag to overwhelm, from exhaustion to anxiety and depression. It’s the best way I know how to relax quickly and deeply.
Anxiety and depression have become the major health epidemics of the 21st century. Our too-much-information era overloads our systems. It pushes our boundaries until there is no such thing as “downtime.” We compare ourselves to others based on social media updates (real or fake) and then judge ourselves accordingly. No wonder people are looking for anxiety relief. But how can yoga help with anxiety?
How Yoga Helps with Anxiety
When you practice yoga, the body and breath become the focal points of your awareness. Breath combined with movement automatically shifts the energies in the body. If you’ve ever taken a brisk walk to go “cool down” after an argument, you know what I mean. In this sense, yoga is the perfect anxiety remedy: it provides an opportunity to shift our focus from anxious thinking to embodied awareness.
From a yogic perspective, anxiety is a disturbance of the “winds,” the subtle energy channels in the body. Think of a jar filled with sediment when it is shaken: the sediment swirls around clouding the water. A calm and grounded state of mind is characterized by clarity–a jar of water with no sediment swirling around. The practice of sitting meditation is the most direct way to achieve this settled state of mind. When you ally with the spaciousness of the mind instead of the contents of the mind (thoughts) you automatically shift your perspective.
My Favorite Yoga Posture to Help with Anxiety
This is a very simple posture, and anyone can do it, but it takes a bit of agility to get into it. It goes like this: lie on the floor on your side, with your bum very near to the wall. Then swing your legs up so that you are essentially sitting against the wall. Your bum can be very close to the wall, unless you have tight hamstrings–in which case you should be several inches away from the wall and/or bend your knees. Lie in this posture, “sitting against the wall” for at least 10-15 minutes. You will start to experience a deep calm, initiated by the blood traveling to your lymph nodes. Relax completely, and bring your awareness to your breath.
Breath Is the Big Clue
Your breath is with you always, no matter where you find yourself. Make a habit of checking in with it. Notice your breath when you are on the computer, in the middle of a misunderstanding, or in the midst of traffic. Get to know what it is that stresses you out, and then bring mindfulness-and conscious breathing- to that activity.
Panic and anxiety are not purely mental events. They are physiological events, so they can’t be treated with the thinking mind only. You need to learn to move your body, BREATHE deeply, train yourself to come back to the breath on a regular basis. Mind and breath are intimately connected. If you can calm your breath, your mind will follow. I do this posture on a daily basis to keep me calm and peaceful, and so can you!
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