My Anxiety Will Never Define Me

Updated: Feb 10

How yoga helps to manage anxiety


My name is Leah B, and I suffer from anxiety. There, I said it. This is why it's crucial for me to have a daily yoga practice to keep me balanced. It's also lovely to have the second nature to know what to do when an anxiety attack comes on. That second nature comes from the daily yoga practice. 😉


Anxiety is something I've dealt with for a lot of my life. Sometimes it can even be crippling. An anxiety attack is no joke! It sucks!


"At it's worst, anxiety can feel like death. At it's best, anxiety feels like a cramping stomach."

- Ari Eastman


My heart races and pounds, the palms of my hands and soles of my feet get clammy, I feel like there's a weight on my chest, I hyperventilate and I feel like passing out. Now, this is the most extreme version of an attack and it's not always this intense, but if I don't get the anxiety under control, it can get this bad.

Sometimes when it's time for me to teach yoga, I feel a mild version of anxiety. I get sweaty, my heart rate increases, and I feel a slight weight on my chest.


I feel quite anxious in a group of strangers. I'm a social person, but I struggle getting out of my comfort zone with new people. I do a great job of hiding this fact so no one would ever know it. I have a hard time making new friends because of this. I'm working on being more brave and learning to just relax and be myself.

I'm still on my journey of learning and understanding why this happens to me. I know that I worry way to much about things I can't control so that definitely contributes to it.


The more I learn about my anxiety, the more I'm equipped to manage it. I'm getting pretty good at it! Yoga has helped me immensely with this. Here's why:


🕉 Meditation and being in tune with myself has helped me to see what triggers my anxiety.


🕉 Pranayama breathing or focusing on my breath helps me regain my calm when I feel an attack coming on.


🕉 The physical yoga practice helps me release a lot of tension.


🕉 Connecting with my students and other yogis on this journey with me helps me feel grounded and connected to something positive and light. This is what yoga is all about!


Even when I do get anxiety before teaching a class, it quickly fades as we begin. HOORAY FOR YOGA!


Do some BADASS YOGA with me this week and learn to combine the aspect of meditation with the practice of YIN YOGA.


This week's class sequence is listed at the end of this blog post!


SLEEPING SWAN is one of my favourite Yin Yoga poses for getting into your hips and adds a nice element of relaxation and a deeper hip stretch. SWAN is a great way to add a bit of healthy compression in your lumbar spine.


Get yourself familiarized with SWAN & SLEEPING SWAN and then practice with me to the BADASS YIN: NATURE FLOW either Live this Thursday or on demand in the FREE VIDEO LIBRARY after the class airs live.


BADASS YOGA is live every Thursday at 8pm ET on Zoom for 15 minutes!

CLICK HERE TO REGISTER

 

ASANA LAB: SWAN & SLEEPING SWAN

Benefits:

  • A vigorous way to open the hips, allowing gravity to do the work

  • Strong external rotation of front hip

  • Provides the quadriceps and hip flexors a nice stretch for the side that has the leg back

  • A moderate to strong backbend, compressing the lower back

  • Can control sexual desires due to lots of blood flowing through the pubic region

Contraindications:

  • If you have bad knees (especially any problems with the inner meniscus), watch the pressure

  • If hips are too tight, that is where the pressure will go. If this happens, bring the front foot back, more toward or under that hip

Getting Into the Pose:

  • You can come into this pose either from Down Dog (which is more advanced) or from Cat pose (on hands and knees)

  • Slide your right knee between your hands, lean a bit to the right, and check in with how your right knee is going to feel. If the knee is fine, flex the right foot and move it forward; if the knee feels stressed, bring the foot closer in toward the right hip

  • Now, center yourself so your weight is even. Try tucking the back toes under and sliding the back knee away. Do this a few times until your right buttock is on the floor or as low as it is going to get

Alternatives & Options (Swan):

  • To protect the front knee, keep the foot flexed before coming forward

  • Keep the weight back into the hips as you lower yourself

  • Stay on the hands with the arms straight, or come on to the elbows

  • You could lie on a bolster placed lengthwise under the chest

  • If you’re really flexible, try to bring the front foot forward, pull the bent knee more to the side, and lay your chest on top of the shin

  • Other alternatives include Eye-of-the-Needle (can be done lying down, while sitting, or with one leg against the wall), Shoelace, or Square Pose

Alternatives & Options (Sleeping Swan):

  • To protect the front knee, keep the foot flexed before coming forward

  • Keep the weight back into the hips as you lower yourself

  • Stay on the hands with the arms straight, or come on to the elbows

  • You could lie on a bolster placed lengthwise under the chest

  • If you’re really flexible, try to bring the front foot forward, pull the bent knee more to the side, and lay your chest on top of the shin

  • Other alternatives include Eye-of-the-Needle (can be done lying down, while sitting, or with one leg against the wall), Shoelace, or Square Pose

Coming Out of the Pose:

  • Use your hands to push the floor away and slowly come up. Tuck the back toes under, plant your front paws in Down Dog position, and with a nice groan, step back to the Downward Facing Puppy. If you never liked Down Dog before, you will love it now!

Counter Poses:

  • Windshield Wipers (sitting or lying down) are a nice way to internally rotate your hips

  • Child’s Pose (nice if you did full Swan)

  • A Quick Down Dog before Child’s Pose

Meridians & Organs Affected:

  • Liver and Kidney lines because these lines come through the inner groin; the Stomach and Spleen meridians (from the line on the top of the back leg); the Gall Bladder line on outer leg and the Urinary Bladder line through lumbar arch

Joints Affected:

  • Hips and lower back. Make sure the knees are NOT complaining!

Recommended Hold Times:

  • This is a moderately yang posture when the chest is raised: hold one to three minutes. After a couple of minutes, switch to Sleeping Swan for another one to three minutes

Similar Yang Asanas:

  • Proud Pigeon (Rajakapotasana)

Other Notes:

  • Come into full Swan from Sleeping Swan by walking the hands back toward the hips

  • Full Swan is a deeper hip opener than Sleeping Swan because more weight is placed right above the front hip

  • Full Swan can be a gentle backbend, but it can be deepened if you’re really flexible by raising the arms overhead or clasping the hands behind the lower back and pulling them toward the floor

  • Screaming Pigeon is really a yang pose, but it can be tried at the end because those muscles won’t interfere with the joints being targeted. Bend the back leg, reach the hand on the same side to that heel, and pull the heel to the buttocks

  • If you are feeling it, you are doing it! If you have lost the feeling, wiggle around until you find it again. Sometimes a subtle adjustment of the legs can increase the sensation in the front hip but reduce the stretch in the quadriceps of the back leg. You can decide where your priority is today

 

BADASS YIN: NATURE FLOW


Practice this sequence with me LIVE on Thursday February 10th at 8pm ET

CLICK HERE TO REGISTER


  1. Swan right side - 1 min

  2. Sleeping Swan right side - 2 min

  3. Swan left side - 1 min

  4. Sleeping Swan left side - 2min

  5. Sphinx Pose - 3min

  6. Tiger Pose - 3min

 

Check out my FREE VIDEO LIBRARY for more BADASS YOGA classes!


BADASS YOGA is live every Thursday at 8pm ET on Zoom and uploaded to my website video library afterward!

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