Your chest feels tight, you are experiencing breathing problems and/or eating disorders. You cannot stop the flow of toughts in your head and wish you could take a holiday from yourself. You are surely experiencing stress and anxiety.
Yoga is a great tool to reduce stress and anxiety levels. Unlike drugs, it is a solution you own at any moment throughout the day and during your lifetime. The techniques are many but by getting to know even several of them, you can really act on your stress levels.
So why not empower yourself with the gift of simple yoga techniques.
Deep Breaths to Reduce Anxiety
Start with some simple breathing (you can do that anywhere and at anytime). There are hundreds of breathing techniques. Breathing is an essentail part of yoga and dates back to millenia. It sanskrit name is Pranayama. You will be able to find many breathing techniques on my blog. Let´s focus here on the most simple and effective one.
Whenever I feel overwhelmed in life: not enough time, right before a medical exam, about to give a presentation in front of a crowd etc, I concentrate on breathing deeply. Simply place your attention on your lungs and breathe in to the count of four and then exhale to the count of four (after a few breathing, you can extend the exhalation time - even though 4 is just fine).
Your heart rate will slowly get back to normal regular peaceful beats, your head and body get a lot more oxygen in, you start seeing things cleared, your throat untangles and your diaphragm relaxes. Pure magic!
Meditate to Reduce Stress
Meditation is an excercice that removes you from your senses, looks for concentration and takes you to a higher level (calming all emotions by being in the now). But meditation requires training so let´s look for easy, short meditations that can make a difference:
How to Meditate for beginners
- Sit down and close your eyes (you can use an scented eye pillow to help relax your eyes) or go for a walk by the sea or in the woods if you cannot be still.
- You can start by a body scan, starting from your toes all the way up to the top of your head. How does each part of the body feel? Can you relax it by simply sending it warmth and love?
- Breathe: you can repeat the excercise outlined above or look into box breathing.
- Why not chant easy mantras? A powerful one to chant to remove negativity and obstacles is the
- Create a serein atmosphere by lighting up candles, burning incense, wearing light colours, playing relaxing music.
Restorative Yoga for Anxiety
Go to a restaurative yoga class or follow one at home. Many yoga poses provide deep relaxation and can change your state of your mind. Use bolsters, blankets, cushions in order to feel deeply restored.
Other Easy Ways to Reduce Anxiety are:
- Reduce your coffee intake (swap for matcha, decaf, chai, roasted cereal drinks).
- Practice sports: makes your body and mind feel good.
- Go for a walk in nature: my all time favourite, read my article on mindful nature walks here.
- Sleep more, go to bed early: there is nothing better than a good night sleep to see things in a more positive way.
- Disconnect from screens as early as possible and at least from 8pm. This sends a signal to your brain that night is here and you slowly get into going to bed mode.
- Diffuse relaxing essential oils (lavender, ylang-ylang, orange blossom etc), light up candles.
- Take a relaxing bath with epsom salts (magnesium salts).
- Meet up with positive, true friends.
- Stop watching the news.
- Make little changes to your life: stop seeing energy suckers, speak to yourself in a gentle caring way, do not do things just to please people.
- Practice positive affirmations (I love the ones from Louise Hay).
Remember that you are not a victim of your anxiety, this is all something created by your thoughts. You can reverse it by training your mind and slowly changing little habits that are negative to your wellbeing. You can do it! Allow time and be gentle to yourself. You are a wonderful being.