Using Yoga to Help with Physical and Emotional Stress By Gabrielle Anderson, lmft
I fell in love with yoga 15 years ago. It was love at first sight. I am antsy by nature and sometimes make my family crazy with my constant fidgety motion. Finding the yoga practice that worked for me has been an amazing journey.
Yoga's Role in Helping The Body Heal
Back in the late 90s, I found my first yoga experience via a VCR tape. From the very moment I tried it, I was hooked. I quickly learned that I like a practice that balances sweat and hard work with a spiritual calming. When I became ill with Lyme Disease, I was often too weak to practice in a studio or gym, small stretches like “child’s pose” or “rag doll” helped get the kinks out of my back, legs and shoulders. I was able to control some abdominal discomfort with twists and when my strength improved, I spent many months working out residual joint and bone pain on my mat.
Is it Anxiety or Energy? Using Yoga to Wring our Stress
I am healthy and strong again and love incorporating yoga into my routine a couple of days a week. When I miss too many days of my practice, I feel a tightness in my chest accompanied by a buzzing feeling first thing in the morning. To many this would feel like anxiety. I now know that this is energy begging to be moved through my body. The stretching, deep breathing and detoxing properties of yoga can really make a difference in how I manage daily stress. What are the chances that your anxiety could be helped with yoga? Interesting question, whichs begs to be answered!
Advanced Yoga Classes are for the Most Part Silent
Because I have been a student of yoga for so many years, I find myself gravitating to the more advanced classes with more challenging poses. What has become curious to me is that advanced classes are less about flexibility, skill and strength and more about the discipline of the mind. An advanced class may or may not be about flexibility and skill, but it absolutely speaks to the ability to quiet the mind. What a wonderful tool to learn and practice, especially for those of us who are always running somewhere or doing something. Yoga is great for teaching us to quiet our minds and be mindfully present.
How Can Yoga Help You?
If you have never attended a yoga class, see what is in your community. Many yoga studios off a discount for “new students”. Getting a reduced fee monthly punch card can help you test drive a new studio without committing fully. If your health conditions do not warrant a class, but you are still interested in trying out the healthful benefits of a yoga practice, try taking sessions from a yoga therapist. A yoga therapist will guide you through a routine tailored just for you and your health goals. During a session, you will be given 1:1 attention and will have a home routine to take with you and try out on your own. Whether you take a class with others or hire your own yoga specialist, becoming curious about yoga may just help improve your mental and physical health.
Gabrielle is the owner and a therapist at the Family Therapy Center of Northern Virginia, llc. as well as the owner of Intentional Oils. She is a married mother of two and avid yogi.
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Unless specified, Gabrielle Anderson, lmft is the author of these posts. Gabrielle is a Therapist and the Director at FTC. She is a married mother of 2 and has experienced chronic infection in the practice, herself and in her family.
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