309: 8 Ways to Manage Anxiety Through Yoga, Breath & Movement
Hosted by Rima Danielle Jomaa
Rima, a licensed psychotherapist, discusses why movement is so important for mental health and how yoga helps to manage anxiety. Most adults don’t breathe properly and many people also aren’t moving enough. People who are depressed or anxious tend to spend too much indoors and hunched over a computer screen. All of these factors can cause our body to tighten and cause us to hold on the tension and stress that we don’t need. Movement helps to circulate and then release the stagnant, anxious energy that can reside in our body.
What You’ll Hear…
1. Why Yoga Is So Important to Mental Health (Minute 2 - 7)
Most adults don’t breathe properly. We breathe into our chest instead of into our belly or our diaphragm. So what happens is that we don’t filter out all the old breath/carbon dioxide.
Many people also aren’t moving enough. People who are depressed or anxious tend to spend too much indoors and hunched over a computer screen. When we over-consume technology, we risk spending the day rolling the shoulders forward which closes the heart off.
Movement helps to circulate and then release the stagnant, anxious energy that can reside in our body. If I skip my morning workout, I always notice that it impacts my mood. Of course some people over-exercise and are still anxious so this may not apply to you. If you’re not already moving regularly, trying to get movement into your daily life will most likely help you to feel better.
2. Good Healthy Habits Lead to More Healthy Habits (Minute 7 - 8:30)
When you’re able to get yourself moving and exercising, getting rid of stress and tension in the body, you feel better and you want to do other healthy things. Perhaps you eat healthier or choose to cut down on drinking. There’s a potential for a snowball effect of healthy habits once you get started.
3. You in a Yoga Class is a Microcosm of You in the World (Minute 8:30 - 12:30)
How do you show up and react in certain situations? Is that serving you? How you show up on your mat in different poses or “situations” will give you information on how you react. Do you react yourself to others? Do you take modifications you’re not ready for? Do you get angry, frustrated? Do you want to escape? Your practice will provide deep insights for you as you get to explore your ego and the ways it may be limiting you or ways we can humble ourselves and not compare ourselves to others.
4. Most of Anxiety Stems from Living in the Past or Trying to Predict the Future (Minute 12:30 - 14:30)
Yoga helps you to focus on the present. We might be trying to predict which pose is coming next in the class and instead we can shift the focus to our breath and each movement as it links to the breath, so we aren’t trying to judge, compare, worry, fear or be in some other place. That skill can be taken off the mat so when you’re in a meeting worried about a presentation, for example, you can breathe and stay present versus having your mind reside in the past where you may have been anxious before or messed up… whatever the story may be… and instead you can stay calm and clear-headed to be more successful for your presentation. If you practice yoga regularly, you get 2-3 hours a week of self-examination to see what’s working, what isn’t and to adjust accordingly.
5. Yoga Cultivates Intuition and Self-Care (Minute 14:30 - 15:30)
Yoga is not about achievement but about feeling good and doing in your practice, what serves you. Listening to your body and intuition in each practice is a way to cultivate your intuition in life. We often get caught up in habit about what we were should or shouldn’t be doing and instead we can cultivate an awareness and link what we’re thinking, how we’re feeling and what we need and then provide that for ourselves.
6. Yoga is a Tool that can Help you in Life - It’s Not A “Thing to Accomplish” (Minute 15:30 - 17)
Everyone wants to do a handstand but yoga isn’t about showing off, achieving something or getting somewhere. It’s not about external validation making you happy but instead, it’s about turning inward and giving yourself space to be, to build confidence and to believe that you are okay exactly as you are now. You can have gratitude in your body at any point in your yoga practice. If use a prop or modification, for example, it doesn’t mean that you’re a bad yoga or a beginner. On the contrary, it means you’re honoring yourself, where you are now, and what you need. That’s the sign of an advanced practitioner.
7. Gratitude is an Antidote to Anxiety (Minute 17 - 19)
Fear of the unknown or of lack can lead to anxiety. Often we look at what others have or how they’re doing to judge ourselves versus looking at ALL that we have and being grateful for it. Practicing the most hardcore gratitude brings in magical things into your life, and yoga gives us the space and awareness to do that.
Yoga helps us cultivate an awareness that even though we may not be able to “achieve” a certain pose and the way the teacher looks doing it, that we can still be grateful for our bodies. Having a healthy body is an incredible gift and when we can appreciate that, the rest of our yoga practice becomes bonus.
8. Yoga Helps Us Learn to Be Alone (Minute 19 - 20)
Similar to meditation, it’s a practice that’s for yourself where you show up for yourself. You block the time and use it to empower yourself. Through this process, you learn to be there for yourself and to nurture your own needs.
Bottom Line: Be Open Minded (Minute 20 - end)
Find a studio and teachers that work for you and aren’t just fitness focused. Various studios offer breathwork, sound healing, ecstatic dance, and more. Just because you try one class or teacher and don’t like, it doesn’t mean you won’t like yoga. Maybe you just didn’t like something about that teacher or experience. Shop around until you find something that resonates with you!
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Music on podcast by David Parry. Song is Open to the One. Please consider supporting David by clicking the link. On his music player, you can buy his tracks.
#Podcast: 8 Ways to Manage #Anxiety Through #Yoga, #Breath & #Movement - Most adults don’t breathe properly/don't move enough. Movement helps to circulate and then release the stagnant, anxious energy that can reside in our body https://t.co/xVwzU5CjZF #mentalhealth #therapy— Rima Danielle Jomaa (@rima_danielle) February 14, 2019