Stress and anxiety are like two points of a vicious circle. Stress gives birth to anxiety, and further anxiety leads to fight or fight syndrome, thereby leading to more stress.
These partners in crime are the reason for most of the contemporary mental, emotional, and even physical trouble we experience. Why physical, you ask? As per Ayurveda, all diseases are borne in the body due to an imbalance between body, mind, and soul. Our emotions are the primary reason and the seed of the shooting plant of any disease and ailment.
When we experience overwhelming and uncontrollable negative thoughts, they manifest into the physical reality, i.e. into bodily ailments, decreasing imbalance in the flow of the breath, blood pressure shooting up, and so on.
It sounds frightening, but with conscious effort on the part of the person affected, there are ways to overcome and break free from this circle of threat.
We read about this basic technique in our daily lives and are similarly told of its importance in the yoga classes we go to. We, however, usually still manage to overlook this practice. Yet the fact remains, all we need to do is to become consciously aware of our breath.
That’s it…initially. When we elongate our breathing, it relaxes our nervous system, reduces the heart rate, and is an answer to the fight or flight syndrome.
Easy practice: Even if we do not have sufficient time at hand for meditation, we can reap some of its benefits in just one minute. Simply become aware of the breath and its impacts on chest, heart, back, top of the head, and neck. Practice it anytime during the day.
The power of acceptance is undeniable. Instead of fighting, if we accept the feeling of anxiety just as any other emotion, the negative impact will decrease considerably.
Remember, when we are scared of something, it looks more damaging. Remember in that Harry Potter movie, where Professor Lupin taught his students to use the Patronus charm to fight their fears by imagining it to be something funny? We could do the same to help us face and overcome anxiety.
Tip: Sit in relaxation either alone or in the company of a reliable friend. Mentally accept the feeling of anxiety and gradually try to scan the cause of it. Most likely, you will easily find the cause, because acceptance opens other restricted mental and emotional gateways which we usually overlook.
From 8,400,000 asanas, there are plenty that relax the mind. Inversions like Headstand, Shoulder Stand, and Handstand can offer the benefits we are trying to seek here, but if they are too advanced for you, try the simple Viparita Karani asana.
Legs-Up-the-Wall pose (aka Inverted Lake pose) is a mild inversion but offers a wide range of benefits. Some of these benefits include increase in blood flow, improved digestion, less back pain, stress alleviation, and relief from menstrual cramps. It also keeps one young by releasing anxiety.
These are just some very basic tips that you and your mind, body, and heart can follow to reduce anxiety and stress. Take moments to be still and to listen—all answers lie within. Namaste.
by Manmohan Singh – Manmohan is a passionate yogi and traveler in India who leads and organizes yoga, meditation, and Ayurveda tours and retreats in India and Nepal. Connect with him here: www.200hrsyogattc.com.
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