#06. How does yoga help dealing with anxiety?

It’s very important for us to first understand what exactly anxiety is. Anxiety is an uneasy feeling of fear or worry, that can be severe or mild. It’s okay to be worried or anxious when you’re giving an interview, or writing an exam, or having a medical test; The feeling disappears completely when the task is completed. The real problem starts when this feeling causes trouble in your daily life and doesn’t go away for months. Today we will learn how yoga helps to deal with such anxiety disorders.

Meditation: Let us be very clear about the term meditation. It does not mean that you ALWAYS have to sit in one position for long minutes or several hours. Meditation simply means an action that makes you forget about everything and gives you a feeling of joy. For you, meditation could be, coloring books, cooking meals, swimming, running, dancing, etc. It could be anything. Literally anything that distracts your mind completely.

Breathing techniques: Don’t worry, there’s no complicated science required to learn breathing techniques. You’re alive because you’re doing it right. All you need to do is focus and bring your mind to concentrate on your breathing and if possible take a few deep breaths till it calms you and your mind completely. That’s it. And Tada! You’re the master of breathing techniques.

Relaxation: it’s true that for some people lack of sleep is part of their anxiety issues, so how do we relax? Simple! Meditate for some time, focus on your breathing techniques then slowly lie down while continuing your focus on breathing and try to pass through any kind of thought that comes to your mind. For example, If a negative thought kicks in, don’t fight it, let it through, try to push it away by thinking of something that brings joy to you, or just keep maintaining your focus on your breath.

Asanas: Performing asanas are highly recommended because it helps you at physical, mental, and even at an emotional level.  An hour of daily practice can reduce the number of times you feel those sudden anxiety attacks. So, in other words, we can say that asanas are also a kind of meditation. Don’t just limit yourself to asanas, any form of exercise would do. Kickboxing, functional training, badminton, gymming, etc. EXPLORE.

It’s not an easy journey but it’s a road that only you can walk. You can have your friends around to support you. If you trust them enough, share it with them. Sometimes, our friends and family know us better than we do. They can guide you through it. If it helps, don’t be ashamed and think less of yourself if you have this disorder. After all, being ashamed is like worrying about what people might think. In other words, It’s like giving a happy meal to anxiety. The only person who can defeat your anxiety is YOU, so find your way to defeat it. You can do it.

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#05. What is yoga? myths vs truth

Are you among those people who went for their first yoga session and were utterly shocked to know that it’s different from what you’ve have heard all this time? I’m sure you must’ve heard one of these myths, firstly, they say that yoga is nothing but stretching. I don’t know what kind of a yoga session they’ve been to, but I’m definite that it’s more than stretching.

Secondly, yoga is for females only. The truth is that yoga is for everybody, from children to senior citizens. It has a holistic approach altogether. I mean, if you’re are doing an asana and you’re present at the moment, and your mind is not wandering elsewhere. They give you benefits at a physical, mental, and emotional level. Allow me to explain some of them.

Warrior Pose (Any variation): As the name suggests, Warrior Pose is a powerful pose that requires a lot of strength just like a real warrior. This pose enhances your balance and strengthens your core. It requires very less or no flexibility because even if your thighs are not as flexible, need not worry, proper alignment will give you the same benefits as a flexible yogi.

Mental and emotional benefits: This particular asana, when performed, gives you a feeling of strength. It makes you happy as you see yourself as a powerful being at that moment. The gained strength then sends your brain signals to not worry about any problem, and this helps you to take a break from feelings like stress, anxiety, weakness, and so on.

Tree pose: Again, the only thing this pose requires is for you to focus at one point. If you’re good at focusing, then it will be like a walk in a park for you. It also requires a little bit of strength; after all, if you don’t have enough power to hold your body on one foot, it’s meaningless. If not, don’t worry. Neither Rome was built in a day, nor we learned how to walk right after we were born. Work on your strength, increase focus and find your balance, and everything will work out well for you.

Mental and emotional benefits: the feeling of being able to balance on one foot gives you confidence and also boosts your self-esteem.

Pranayamas: Pranayama means controlling and balancing your breath. We can survive for days without food and water, but we cannot sustain a few minutes without breath. Practicing pranayamas every day improves your quality of breathing, benefits your respiratory tract, and avoids any future respiratory disorder.

Mental and emotional benefits: Yes, even such simple breathing techniques can help you at all levels. If practiced daily, it makes you feel fresh all the time, relaxes your nervous system, and all that leads to a good mood and an open mind to making important decisions in life.

The truth is, if you’re mindful of any work in hand, you are practicing yoga. For instance, If you’re good with art and you sit to draw or paint, you’re practicing yoga. If you play instruments in your free time, that’s yoga. Yoga is not limited to a studio where you stretch your body for an hour. It’s a lot more than you can even imagine. 

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