After dealing with anxiety for as long as I can remember, I have always looked for other ways to keep myself calmer. I really struggle to keep myself in the here and now at times, always worrying about things that haven’t happened yet. It’s been crippling at times as it’s not as easy to just “stop it”.
Yoga has really helped me to center on the here and now. So I thought I’d jot down the 7 ways that yoga has helped me as hopefully it will help someone else too.
1. Just breathe!
Whenever at any previous workout or fitness session when I was told to take deep breaths I used to do them quick and not really think about what my body was doing. I wasn’t feeling my chest expand and feeling the air leave my nose, I was too interested in getting it over with. Now I can take a break at my desk by taking a couple of deep breaths and I am totally distracted into what I’m doing and not feeling anxious over anything. It’s so simple!
2. I can do anything!
As well as being an anxious soul I also am pretty negative about my own capabilities. For instance, I straight away had said that there was no way I could ever do a headstand. Wrong! Sure it took time but eventually I could. Also, the support of everyone else in the class made me feel that I could. We all encourage, clap and cheer when we reach a moment of achievement. It’s really helped me to believe in myself more outside of the yoga class.
3. A time to be quiet
I am a chatty person and you can’t chatter away through a yoga class like you can at other classes. It’s quiet, serene and for those couple of sessions a week I really enjoy having some quiet time. I feel I focus more on what I am doing with the yoga poses but also it’s helping my mind to stay focused on the here and now.
4. I only need ‘me’
Ok maybe me and a yoga mat but you get the idea. Yoga can be performed anywhere, that’s the beauty of it. You can do it first thing in the morning in your bedroom, out on the beach, a paddle board and the list goes on. I feel so much freedom in the fact that I can be anywhere and get some peace. Recently I have not even taken my yoga mat when I’m not in classes, there’s something quite lovely about doing it on the grass or on the sand.
5. Live in the here and now
Where will I live in ten years? Do I really want to stay in my job? These are all thoughts that used to rush through my head at any opportunity. They still do at times but not like they used to. There are still poses that I haven’t quite got right yet but I know with more practice that I will get there. The same goes for worrying about the future, I don’t need to worry about it and just focus on what I can do right now.
The strength in me now is incredibly higher than it was before but also my physical strength is better too. You probably don’t really think about the strength your body can gain from yoga exercises. My core is much more stable now and I couldn’t even attempt to try and plank before, now I can.
7. Life is a journey
Through the start of my yoga experience to where I am now, it has been mixed with ups and downs but I can look back on it all with fondness knowing that it all got me to where I am now. The same is said for us and our own lives being a journey with ups and downs.
Remembering that every little detail forms us into the person that we are right now. My yoga journey is far from over and that’s what is most exciting, finding out what is next in store and also the same can be said for my life journey. I don’t feel anxious about the future, I can go on and embrace it more with collective ease. That means a lot to me going forward.
I hope these tips might relate to your own experience of bringing yoga into your lives. If you are thinking about taking a yoga class then yes, please do! I have found the experience to be uplifting, calming and positive. I am sure you will too!
by Valerie S.