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November 10, 2014

A Yogic way to Alleviate Anxiety.

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*Editor’s Note: This website is not designed to, and should not be construed to, provide medical advice, professional diagnosis, opinion or treatment to you or any other individual, and is not intended as a substitute for medical or  professional care and treatment.

There are many physical and psychological factors that contribute to anxiety, but the good news is that we can also examine it from a more basic energetic perspective.

When we start to see and work with the anatomy of anxiety on an energetic level, we can turn the concept of “treatment” on its head and come into a new way of empowering ourselves.

Anxiety can be a struggle, especially when it comes hand in hand with prolonged illness. Sometimes it is hard to tell which comes first, the anxiety or the physical symptom. It can be difficult to stop the snowball effect because often it has already begun rolling long before we become aware of it.

Sometimes I see clients in my private yoga practice who are fit and healthy, but have struggled with anxiety or panic attacks for a long time. My first impression of them is that they are highly sensitive people. Sensitive person = sensitive nervous system.

Intuitively, I see how very connected to Source or Spirit they are, but that their blockages and restrictions in some of their lower chakras and energy pathways keep them from realizing and trusting in their higher power and their innate ability to be “okay” and “safe.”

Each individual has their own unique pattern of anxiety or illness and should be guided according those needs by a skilled yoga therapist or healer. Below are some focus points for anybody who wants to alleviate anxiety through the practice of yoga. They might just help you to reduce the symptoms you are anxious about, too!

Choose one focus point or create a practice out of all four—do what works. Remember, consistent practice promotes longer lasting changes.

1. Ground.

Without a strong foundation and a sense of connection to the earth, any rebalancing of your body’s energy will be fruitless. Grounding is about your relationship to the earth, your physical body, and being in this reality here and now. The more you become present by truly grounding yourself, the less space is available for your future fears and worries.

Example: Mountain Pose, extra intention and focus on feeling your physical weight and your connection with the earth in poses like downward dog, warrior stances, and balancing postures. Visualize roots growing from the soles of your feet or the base of your spine into the center of the earth. Note: choose a few grounding exercises and practice them twice a day, preferably at the same time. When working with the earth element it is important to create daily rhythm and patience, as it is dense and slower moving that the elements of ether or air.

2. Strengthen the Central Nervous System.

A balance between sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems will lessen the release and frequency of stress hormones in your body. It will also strengthen your mind to not react impulsively to situations and keep a cool head.

Example: relaxed forward bends with long deep breathing, bowing postures, pranayama (yogic breathing exercises) to balance both hemispheres of the brain, and engaging the Bandhas especially Mulbandh (lifting and contracting the muscles of the anal sphincter and perineum, while gently pulling your belly button in towards your spine).

3. Focus on the Solar Plexus.

Strengthen the third chakra, navel, upper abdomen, kidney area. Breathe from your navel. This will stimulate your sense of Self in the world, and the positive aspect of your ego.

Example: Boat Pose, Locust Pose, Kundalini Wheel pose, Breath of Fire, any Kundalini Yoga Kriyas for the 3rd chakra, positive affirmations said with conviction from your navel center.

4. Get Rid of the Garbage. Meditate.

Slowly and consistently begin to clean out your mind garbage and release habits, experiences and thought patterns which don’t do you any good.

Example: Practice Kirtan Kriya, a healing meditation for the psyche. Instructions here.

Remember to incorporate proper breathing, relaxation and intention to your anti anxiety practice. You have all the tools you need to take one step closer, towards yourself.

Sat Nam and Love,

Anja

 

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Author: Anja Sofia

Assistant Editor: Kathryn Muyskens / Editor: Catherine Monkman

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

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