Yoga for Anxiety and Stress

Let’s face it. Anxiety and Stress can be hard.

Whether we want to talk about it or not,

we all suffer from some form or another.

We may feel Anxiety and Stress from many different sources including our work place, our family, our friends, our love life, our finances, our studies, social media and unfortunately for some, the list goes on and on.

It’s okay. After all, we are all human.

It’s okay not to be okay 100% of the time.

If you’ve never tried to cope with anxiety or stress with Yoga, I encourage you to keep reading. If you have tried yoga to cope with it , I encourage you to leave a comment from your experience for someone who might need it. We are a community. We are family.

“Where there is love, there is life” ~ Mahatma Gandhi

So how can Yoga help?

Well, first lets identify where stress and anxiety come from.

Now, we may think that our work place, our family, our friends, our love life, our finances, our studies and social media are a good place to start. And valid, they may all be good reasons, but lets dig just a little bit deeper.

To make a long story shorter, let’s talk about our Thoughts.

All anxiety and stress begins with one negative thought. And then another thought, and another, until unfortunately we feel trapped or we feel “anxious” or “stressed”.

We may think that we feel stuck at work, that we aren’t capable of getting ahead, or maybe that we’ll never amount to anything but working a dead end job our entire lives.

We may think that our relationship with a family member may never get better, that we will never be a good enough mom, dad, brother, sister, son, or daughter or that we will never be able to provide for them as good as the neighbor down the street provides for their family.

We may think that we are never a good enough friend.

We may think that we don’t deserve love or that we will never find another person to love us again after a breakup.

We may think that we will be poor and broke forever.

We may think, we may think, we may think.

Ok. So how do we stop these negative thought patterns?

We have to break the habit.

And yes it is easier said than done, but we can do it.

Thought patterns are habitual. We may have heard it from the likes of Joe Dispenza or others that “neurons that fire together wire together.” This means the more you run a neural-circuit in your brain, the stronger that circuit becomes.

In other words, the more you think certain thoughts about negativity or inadequacy (which are causing anxiety and stress), the stronger and more frequent those thoughts become.

So, how do we turn those negative thought patterns into positive ones and start creating a habit of thinking more positive?

First, lets accept that we are thinking poor thoughts and that it’s okay because it can happen to anyone. Next, acknowledge that we no longer want them in our lives and the anxiety and stress that comes with them.

Acceptance is a huge first step.

From here, focus on making an effort, no matter how small, to slow your current thoughts down.

Perhaps the best method of doing this is your breathing.

This is where Yoga comes in!

Focus on your breath.

I would say that it is just that simple, but I know first hand that it can be difficult at times to just “focus on your breath.” As Jim Rohn once said “the things that are easy to do are also easy not to do.”

One of my favorite ways to focus on my breath, especially when it comes to yoga, is to hold my my inhalation at the top for a count of 3-10 seconds and hold my exhale at the bottom for a count of 3-10 seconds. If you are already an experienced yogi, practicing ujjayi breath while doing this breathing pattern is extremely beneficial to slowing and calming everything down. For those of you that don’t know, I like to think of ujjayi breathing as pretending you are fogging up a window but you keep your mouth closed. Focus on the back of your throat. When you are making a sound that sounds like gentle ocean waves crashing on the beach, thats when you know you’ve found it.

I also recommend you try alternate nostril breathing which is inhaling and exhaling through one nostril at a time, using your pointer finger and thumb to assist you. And again holding your breath at the top for anywhere from 3 to as many seconds as you like. This practice helps calm the nervous system while enhancing your focus and self awareness

If you find your thoughts are wandering while doing these breathing exercises, that is a blessing in disguise because that means you are AWARE of your thoughts. You are not your thoughts. You are just the observer. When you become aware that you thoughts are wandering, you can then consciously choose to come back to your breath. For some this may take longer than others to really sync up with your breath. But I promise, the reward for doing so is blissfully ineffable.

Focus on just one breath at a time.

If it helps, you can count how many conscious breaths you’ve been aware of. When you find yourself thinking a thought again, come back at start at 1 again. Maybe make a goal of being aware for 5 or 10 breaths.

When you’ve reached a point where you are no longer thinking about anything and the only thing you notice is the rhythm of your breath moving in and out, you most definitely are on the right track to a more joyful, loving, peaceful state of being.

Just like anything else in life, you might suck at it the first couple times you try it, but if you stick with it, you’ll eventually get better and become good at it.

To take this to another level, you can begin to incorporate yoga asanas or poses.

Moving in and out of yoga asanas while rhythmically being synced up with your breath is something that I hope everyone experiences in their life. I can best describe it as being fully present in a flow like state. You don’t have any thoughts about anything and you are just engulfed in a natural high. There are no worries or anticipation. You feel free

If you’ve made it this far, repeat after me:

I am Loved, I am Safe, I am Grounded.

Namaste <3,

Mike

How I got into yoga and why I never looked back

I’m sure we all had unique introductions to yoga and I bet it’s safe to say we’ll never forget them. If you’ve never done yoga and are looking for your own introduction, please do your mind, body and soul a favor and let this be it. You won’t regret it! 🙂

I was 19 years old when I first embarked on this amazing journey. At the time, I was living a more average than not teenage lifestyle. It was summer time and my brother had just gotten home after a year of studying and playing college hockey. We were hanging out in the living room after going for a run, or shooting hoops, or working out (I forgot which one it was) when he told me he was going to do yoga. It seems crazy today but I was a bit surprised when he told me and I almost made fun of him. He then asked me if I had ever tried it, which I most definitely had not. In my mind, I always thought yoga was for girls and never bothered to try it or even do any research on it.

With my brother having a role model influence on me, I was instantly very intrigued to try it. I let him do his sequence peaking my head in periodically to see what was going on. After he finished, he told me that he had taken yoga as one of his electives in college and that he loved it. That’s when I decided to try it myself. I opened my laptop, went on YouTube and typed in “yoga” and that’s when I was first introduced to Yoga With Adriene. She is Amazing and is now one of my biggest role models! I decided to do the same 30-minute video that my brother did. I completely let go and let myself be taken away.

One thing that clearly stands out in my memory was at the end of the video and lying there in shavasana. NAMASTE! It was the biggest natural high that I had ever felt. I felt more calm, peaceful, euphoric and uplifted than I ever have. I was hooked. Fast-forward four years and many yoga camps, I still am!

In my life, being fully committed to personal and spiritual growth, includes being an avid reader in the books surrounding the topic. The more I read about successful and enlightened people and living a more happy, stress free and passionate life, the more I seem to come to the conclusion that SURRENDER is a key component in these peoples live’s. How do we surrender? Well, yoga in its true essence is a great place to start. According to Yogapedia.com, the definition of surrender can be described as the practice within yoga of letting go of struggle and control. It is linked to the concept of trust. Surrender, as a practice, is referred to by Patanjali in the Yoga Sutras as the niyama of ishvara pranidhana, which means “to surrender to God [or higher consciousness].” It is said that this is a crucial step on the path to samadhi, which is the ultimate goal of yoga.

One of the key aspects of the very popular Law of Attraction could be summarized by the art getting out of our own way, in other words, surrendering and trusting. When we get out of our own way, we start to ALLOW. We start to allow people and situations into our life that align with our true goals and visions. We start to allow in more love, peace, joy and a positive energy that radiates our true being. You could also refer surrender to being completely open, detached and non resisting. Ask yourself, “do I want my goals bad enough to not only be FULLY COMMITTED(which according to the ATHA Sutra, is absolutely necessary) but also bad enough to surrender and to take the necessary steps to get out of my own way?”

I like to think that a good YOGA practice along with meditation, helps us develop a good SURRENDER practice, and surrendering helps attract to us what we want but at the same being completely detached of what does come and trusting everything to be in divine and perfect order.

Today, I have developed a very happy and rewarding discipline for yoga and it is the main staple in my daily routine, which I will share with you in another blog post. If I need a little pick me up in the morning or a relaxing wind down before bed, yoga is my GO TO!

All my life I’ve been involved in sports and lived an active lifestyle. Today I consider yoga to be the centerpiece of everything I do. I am happy to call myself a yogi and it is one of my main inspirations to starting CBD YOGA & FITNESS in the first place.

Peace & Love,

Mike