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Yoga Me Well Blog Archive

How to Manage Anxiety

By the time Anxiety has us in its grip, we’ve overlooked the signposts that, when heeded, might mitigate its debilitating effects. 

Yoga for Anxiety gives us practical tools for self-management.

Calming Troubled Waters

Yoga’s approach is to familiarise ourselves with old patterns and new habits that ward off Anxiety. We learn how to be Present on a moment to moment basis. Strong feelings and thought patterns are recognised before they overtake us.Yoga tools calm the nervous system

We find relief from tension through embodied movement.

Special breathing practices hone our focus and instantly calm the nervous system.  

Sound therapy vibrates away the trepidation and cavernous dread.

We practice and practice until our body embeds these calmer rhythms. It learns to adopt them skilfully on request.

Once attuned to the body, we turn toward the mind. All Yogic practice is ultimately about mind management.  

We adopt simple, effective tools like self-awareness, self-questioning and mantra japa (centring thought) to reveal mental patternings. Slowly, we alter them.

The Ancient Secret

We do, do, do until we are, are, are the new pattern.

A step forward, two backwards and one forward again. Then, we note how remarkably different our response is to some situation we once handled poorly. This single incident of self-mastery ignites a fire to continue observations and counteractions.

Backslides are Blessings

Even backslides become “golden opportunities”, as the Dalai Lama says, “to practice patience and tolerance”. Yoga calls this “ahimsa” or non-harm to self. We choose to support ourselves, not to criticise.

Yoga for Anxiety Workship 

The Yoga for Anxiety Prevention 5-week workshop begins on Sunday 28 July.  It’s not rocket science, it’s ancient science. These self-management tools are effective when we are ready to welcome change. And you’ll enjoy the support of a motivated group over 5 weeks. Come along. You have nothing to lose except your angst.

Let’s chat to see if it’s right for you. Liv 0409 473 162 or email: livmitchell@ozemail.com.au

Yoga for Anxiety Prevention Workshop details

Liv Mitchell

Liv Mitchell is a hatha yoga teacher, relaxation instructor and freelance writer/editor who specialises in holistic wellbeing.

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Yoga for Anxiety Prevention

In the Grip 

It was a Winter’s night 20 years ago. I remember running. I was amazed at how well I could run. It had been years and yet I was so light, bounding on air. The exhilaration, the speed! Yet I was unaware I was in the steely grip of anxiety. 

Anxiety takes over

I was running from a nasty argument with my partner. Our relationship was over. We had known this for weeks. My nervous system was literally in full flight response. And I was barely eating or sleeping. Without the tools to navigate the end of this relationship and my other life circumstances, I bounced from feeling helpless to rage and despair. The alone-ness was inevitable (I was yet developed my stabilising centre). The looming of it filled me with dread. I was grieving over having no children in my waning child-bearing years. My father had recently died. My mother, my usual support, was lost in her own grief. My work life was a sunken mess. The present felt overwhelming and the future appeared bleak.

Immersed in the maelstrom, I lost my ability to function. My mind scattered in a thousand directions. Spells of tears consumed me with no notice. Mental paralysis gripped, depression dumps hit at a moment’s notice, followed by frenzied activity.

Anxiety is exhausting. Some of you know the experience intimately.

Yoga – it’s common sense

Yoga’s tools to address it are simple and effective. But they are not a quick fix. Yoga asks us to increase our sensitivity to become acutely aware of our mental and emotional patternings. When we are aware of our responses to life, we can choose differently. The Yogic approach is pure pragmatism and common sense.

These techniques have the capacity to reshape a life, but only if we commit to them. That is, if we commit to ourselves. We decide to say “Yes! I am worth the effort. I want to lead a stronger more resilient life.”

These tools carry us to groundedness again and again. At times they cradle us.

Truths long obscured, are revealed, allowing mind and body to recline into relaxed perspective. After periods of prolonged difficulty and applying the practices, overviews of life arrive. Ease, unparalleled, is resting in that expansive, accepting space. Grace is present.

How to change

If you yearn for Ease and dynamic, balancing perspective in your life, commit to 5-weeks of yogic practices. No prior yoga experience is necessary, but an interest in yoga is desirable. 

The Yoga for Anxiety Prevention workshop series begins Sunday 28 July. 

Are you done with anguish? Are ready for change? Then lead yourself gently forward. Perhaps it is time.

Call or email me if you have any queries. I’d love to hear from you. Liv 0409 473 162 livmitchell@ozemail.com.au

More information

 

Liv Mitchell

Liv Mitchell is a hatha yoga teacher, relaxation instructor and freelance writer/editor who specialises in holistic wellbeing.

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Manage the Inner Storms

Every year-end, a few lovely people, dangling from the end of a tether, get in touch with an urgent need for support.

THE STORM BREAKS

They share challenging stories, ones that I tackle in my own practice: career or family issues, exhaustion, loss of direction. These are compassionate, intelligent, frustrated people who feel themselves unravelled, floundering in discomfort, straining to see the way forward.  

It takes courage to acknowledge when we are not coping.

I love this quote, borrowed from yoga teacher Donna Farhi’s newsletter:

“​​It may be that when we no longer know what to do
we have come to our real work,
and that when we no longer know which way to go
we have come to our real journey.” 

~ ​​Wendell Berry

 

ADRIFT AND AFRAID 

When we find ourselves stuck on the pin, wriggling in discomfort, we yearn for release.

Our coping mechanisms may be over-eating, drinking, exercising, or drug-taking.  Venting on those closest to us is popular, adding to our discomfort and theirs. Or, we turn the frustration inward, gnawing dangerously at our resilience. A well of angst eventually propels upward to gush out.

Then we shake our fist at the moon, pound a pillow, slam a door or drive around screaming in the vacuum of our car, roughly handle a child, a pet.  

Like the leaves on drought-stricken trees, parched and withered from the lack of healing rain, we sometimes fall to the gutter, spent.

FIND A WITNESS

Perhaps it’s the Darwinian gene prodding us to survive, amped by the cultural dictum “to strive” that pushes us to the precipice before we act.

Too often, only then we ask for support. If we are lucky, we have a Witness, a trusted person to turn to. Or we employ one.

The Witness is a gift. Unflinching, they listen without offering a fix and acknowledge that we are in the fire. They reflect back that our pain has foundation and that we are not going mad.

That pure support can be enough to lift us back into the life raft and uncover our reserves.

BECOME THE WITNESS

Yoga teaches us to witness when we are not coping.  Yoga philosophy calls this “ahimsa”, or the practice of non-harm to self and others. It is one of the “yama” principles, part of the 8-Limbs of yoga, or guidelines for yogic living.

Acknowledgement begins the process of dealing with the angst. We commit to treating ourselves gently, and reassure ourselves that this period is temporary.

“Yes, I have lost my ground, I feel overwhelmed and vulnerable, and it’s going to be okay. Maybe not today, but with self-care and patience. No matter how long it takes, I will be okay.”

We being to observe ourselves intimately. In daily life, we catch ourselves– in thought and action – and recognise the warning signs of self-defeating patterns of behaviour that contribute to poor, often cyclical, outcomes.

In the evenness and peace we find after a mat practice, for example, or gardening, long walks, time in nature, we build on a foundation of ‘knowing’ that quietness exists palpably within.

When crisis flares, we are less afraid to acknowledge it.

 “Okaaay, my thinking and behaviour suggest I’m having a crisis!” And invites us to do something about it. So we go wild for a bit. That’s pretty standard. And tiring and it increases the spiral.

When it’s time to move on, we distract ourselves productively in self-soothing activities (time with friends, comic movies, walks, spring cleaning, travel). As we experience the pay-off of yogic practices, the mind becomes more agile at diminishing thoughts that promote spiralling.

Once the freneticism of crisis settles, we reflect on how we have contributed to that difficult time, and sit tenderly with that confronting knowledge. Humbled, but wiser for the experience, we renew our commitment to stand up, dust-off and attempt things differently.

Paying attention to our Self on every level, we discover the practice of sitting with and moving through inner storms. Genuine climate change takes commitment and patience and agreement from all parts of our Self.

Join Liv’s friendly small yoga groups for practice on Tuesdays, Wednesdays or Thursdays in St Kilda and East St Kilda.

Inquiries: 0409 473 162 or livmitchell@ozemail.com.au

 

Liv Mitchell

Liv Mitchell is a hatha yoga teacher, relaxation instructor and freelance writer/editor who specialises in holistic wellbeing.

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