How to Transform your Relationship with Anxiety Using Yoga

Friday, April 21, 2017

Anxiety seems to be a common theme in today’s world. There’s plenty to be anxious about from the large scale, to the small, to the everyday mundane responsibilities and balance in life. Anxiety gets a bad rep. It is categorized as the negative emotion, and often denied by hiding it within, pretending that it’s “all good.” By hiding this emotion or running away from it, we actually miss out on valuable teachings. Anxiety is a teacher, a messenger, and an inner calling to pay attention.

On a biological level, anxiety is a survival mechanism. Our brain and nervous system pick up everything that is going on around us within our environmental field that we may not consciously be aware of. On the logical, science based fact- this is our primal resource.

Where we get into trouble with anxiety is when we add the mind and analytical thinking. This is where yoga comes in. Yoga teaches us to remain present and work with arising emotions. A common trigger for anxiety is the fear of walking one’s path or to fully step into the threshold of transition. Anxiety keeps us right on the edge of the threshold rather than courageously saying yes and walking through. This type of anxiety is debilitating.

Yoga teaches us not to deny or get rid of the feeling, but rather, work with it as a tool for deeper self awareness and awakening. Anxiety is the body’s way of saying slow down and pay attention! Which is contradictory to what we want to do when our stomach is in knots and our mind is going a million miles an hour with an imaginative story line of the situation.

When you feel anxiety arise stop and pause. Notice that your inner wisdom is calling to you to pay attention because it has something to tell you. Ask yourself, “What do I feel?” Strictly notice body sensations without applied meaning.

Now ask, “What does this tell me?” Surrender and breath, notice what comes up and ask the same question. This time go even deeper. Pick up on the message and go deeper again.

Notice your bodily sensations. Is there anything coming through to you? From there, contemplate, “How do I heal this?” “How do I work with this as a tool for growth?”

Notice the patterns in your life and when the anxiety surfaces. Is it reflected in similar situations? How can you transform the experience?

Yoga teaches us to welcome the sensation in and allow it to move through by being in the stillness and the breath.

Keep practicing. Keep noticing. Keep asking the questions. You have all the tools you need for yourself within.

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Where you stumble, there lies your treasure. The very cave you are afraid to enter turns out to be the source of what you are looking for.

-Joseph Campbell

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