By Amruta Kulkarni, CYT 500
One fact is certain, anyone who is human has felt anxiety at some point in his or her life. A significant number of people come to our yoga classes, just to get a break from anxiety. Yet, anxiety will barely be covered in a typical 200-hour yoga teacher training. There are workshops and specialist courses for instructors, but new graduates of yoga certification programs are likely to learn on the go.
Anxiety and panic attacks can be debilitating occurrences for many people. People with angst often worry about certain situations and events, which causes their hearts to beat rapidly, their thoughts to spin out of control and other physical responses within the body. Yoga can help in a number of ways. It can help people recognize and control angst on or before its onset, and yoga with meditation can help discover the cause. Once the cause of the anxiety is uncovered, it can often be eliminated.
When the body has pent-up energy, anxiety, stress or fear it can cause a string of negative health effects. One way to release the negativity is through physical exercise. Asanas let the body release the negative emotions in a healthy way. People who practice often feel strong and confident after a routine of asanas.
While performing the postures, the mind also has a chance to relax. During a typical class there is little talking, quiet music and time for inner reflection. Although angst results in physical effects throughout the body, it begins in the mind. People let negative thoughts and worries take over the rational part of their brains, resulting in anxiety or panic attacks. Yogic techniques help reduce this as it becomes more natural for people to let their mind acknowledge a thought and then release it. Yoga teaches you to accept all thoughts, but not to dwell on any one particular thought or feeling.
Most yoga classes also incorporate breathing into the postures as well as during meditation. Breathing techniques can help people when they feel anxiety coming on, or during and after an anxiety attack. When the heart begins to palpitate, slow deep breaths can help to regulate breathing and bring the heart rate back down to a normal level. There are many different techniques anxiety sufferers can use to help regulate breathing. Techniques include alternate nostril breathing, deep belly breathing or the bumble bee breath.
Meditation also helps anxiety sufferers. It gives people quiet time for reflection, which can help to pinpoint the source of the anxiety. Once you know where the angst is coming from, you can train your brain to dismiss the irrational thoughts and work through the other emotions. This will limit the amount of dwelling upon negative fears and thoughts, which cause the physical effects of anxiety. Meditation teaches people to be patient and trusting in their selves and to not allow the anxiety to take over.
Notes for Yoga Instructors
There are many yogic solutions for purging angst from the body and mind. If you can’t find enough solutions, it is well worth your while to take a specialized yoga teacher training course or visit a teacher workshop, which elaborates on the subject.
© Copyright 2012 – Aura Wellness Center – Publications Division
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