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Yoga for Anxiety

Updated: Apr 18, 2021

How I went from hating yoga to teaching it.

When I first started practicing yoga, I hated it.

It was so boring to me, that an hour felt like 2. I hate to admit, there were several classes in which I didn't even make it through to the end, I would leave half way through.

Don't even get me started on the flowery language which instead of making me reflect and ponder on, would make me want to roll my eyes and then zone out to something else my mind wanted to think about.

It's interesting now that I reflect on those moments, I would have never thought I'd eventually become a yoga instructor. But here we are.

I then started to tag along to a yoga class at the park with friends. This instructor wasn't flowery with her language, she was sweet and inviting. She would bring blankets for us to wrap ourselves in during savasana (the final resting pose in a yoga class).

I still resisted it, I still had moments where I wanted to leave half way through, but I now found myself experiencing a newfound sense of "zen" after class that I hadn't really felt before.

I've suffered from anxiety since my teens, so feeling calm and centered isn't really something I had much experience in, but I loved it. I started to be captivated by some of the teachings in yoga class and began reading up on yoga philosophy.

It was through this exploration that I had this realization: How I show up on my yoga mat is exactly how I show up in life.

For example, when something (example chakras) was new and foreign to me, my instinct was to reject and/or critique it.

I kept my life very busy so I didn't have to sit still and reflect on how I was feeling, I resisted it, I felt uncomfortable with stillness in my life, just like I did on that yoga mat.

Through yoga, I learned that the thoughts I have when I'm trying to hold a plank pose are similar to the thoughts I have when I am struggling with something that challenges me. I complain, I tell myself I can't do it, I compare myself to others, or I check out mentally. Yoga helped me tune into my thoughts and get to know my anxiety instead of just letting it run the show.

Learning this about myself was a game changer. Once you can see what's happening, you're capable of changing it. I now had the choice on how I can respond to those thoughts and how much energy I give them.

So if you're on the fence about yoga, I invite you to give it another try. Sometimes yoga will make you feel great, sometimes it will challenge the heck out of you. See if you can tune in to your thought process and use the practice of yoga to get to know how your mind works. No matter what happens during that yoga class, be kind to yourself. Respect your body's limits and remind yourself that to be human is to be perfectly imperfect.

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