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Anxiety and me

I’ve been procrastinating about writing this blog post for weeks, admittedly my schedule has been very busy of late but even so… I normally find it easy to write and somehow the words just flow but not this time, so deep breath and here I go!

I feel very lucky that I’ve never experienced the crippling anxiety I have seen consume friends, family and more recently some of my students. To see all these amazing talented individuals no longer able to live in their light, being forced to play small, and withdrawing from friends, activities and their communities is heart-breaking.

I thought I didn’t suffer from anxiety at all as I’ve never been in that position of being crippled by anxiety that I haven’t been able to function or enjoy my life. However, when I started sitting on my meditation cushion, I noticed something very interesting. I had a real sense of an underlying low-level anxiety I’d not noticed or acknowledged before.

I have explored in meditation why I feel this low-level anxiety, realising incidents from my childhood have left me without a sense of security and losing my parents at such a young age has not helped my fear of illness both physical and mental.

On reflection (which is a place meditation can take you) I think as I’ve got older this sense of anxiety has crept up on me. Things I have previously enjoyed like travelling have suddenly turned into stress and anxiety. Tomorrow, I am going to India and I have had packing and other anxieties for weeks about what to take, will I be fit enough to do the trek, what if I get sick up the mountain, what if I can’t sleep, what if I fall off the mountain! What nonsense is in my head…. but it’s there and it takes away from the excitement which is a real shame.

Whenever I feel anxious, stresses or ungrounded I turn to my yoga mat, focusing on root chakra work – grounding poses, breathing practices (pranayama) and meditation. It usually helps.

Since becoming a yoga teacher, I have become increasingly interested in not only eastern yogic philosophy but western psychology. In a desire to both increase my knowledge in this area for myself and my students I have recently signed up to do a course – Foundations of Yoga for Mental Health with a teacher who blends eastern yogic philosophy with western psychology. I can’t wait to learn more about Ayurveda, the physiology of stress, the hero/heroine’s journey in yoga, antarakarma and the architect of the psyche. It’s all so fascinating and I hope it will help me on my journey to be the best teacher (and human being) that I can be.

In my next blog post I’ll report back on my spiritual retreat to India as long as I don’t fall off the mountain of course!

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