The Purpose of Yoga: Yogic Walking for Anxiety

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The Purpose of Yoga: Yogic Walking for Anxiety

yoga teacherBy Paul Jerard, E-RYT 500

Let’s look at more solutions, which Yoga training can give you, for anxiety and stress management. All of these solutions will take a bit of practice, and in some cases, you may need the guidance of a competent Yoga teacher mentor.  After Pranayama (Yogic breathing techniques), there are still a large number of techniques to choose from. The next one that comes to mind is Asana (Yoga Posture). In a typical Hatha Yoga class, you will learn Asana on a mat, but you can learn to practice good posture all day long.

You can practice good posture in a chair, when eating a meal, standing, and walking. You can even use pillows to sleep in good posture. Most people prefer to multi-task these days, so Yogic walking is a wonderful way for those of us, who just have to do many things at once. This is not to be confused with walking meditation, which is an entirely different technique.  Put on good walking shoes, comfortable clothes, and begin to walk your course. Always watch the road, but keep your spine straight, and your gaze should be at eye level, while you visually take in the world around you. Close your mouth and breathe only through the nose. Breathe naturally, and do not force your inhales or exhales.

As you continue to walk, maintain your personal pace, and be mindful of your posture. The recommended time for Yogic walking is, at least, 20 minutes. Once breathing is natural, and not strained, some practitioners of this method practice walking meditation or silent Japa (Prayers).  This is a complete mental, physical, and spiritual practice, but you must pick a safe course and be ready to react to traffic, animals, and other pedestrians. Just because you meditate, or practice Japa, is not a reason to ignore people who wave or say hello.

Some people carry snacks for dogs and squirrels – while others may stop and chat to friends in the park. To accept life, people, animals, and the changes around us, without judging everything, is a treasure of life. If you can avoid judging everything, while you go for your walks, your health will change for the best in a multitude of ways.  Yogic walking is good aerobic exercise and prevents many diseases, anxiety, and depression. Your heart, vital organs, bones, joints, connective tissue, and muscles will benefit from Yogic walking. You may control, or lose weight, by mentally and physically practicing Yoga while walking.  Maybe you were only looking to reduce your anxiety levels, but you are now convinced that walking is the way to go. Talk to your physician and get advice, which is specific to your body. Choose your course wisely and have fun.

Side Notes for Yoga Teachers

Most likely you did not learn much about this technique in your Yoga instructor training.  However, this will make an interesting workshop for your Yoga students during the spring and fall seasons.  Yoga training outside the studio on a weekend can make a refreshing change for the entire group.

© Copyright 2007 – Paul Jerard / Aura Publications

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