If you have feelings of sudden panic, your heart rate increases for no apparent reason or you feel like a knot appears in your stomach, you could be suffering from anxiety. These days, especially in big cities like London, we have got used to the feelings of being stressed and under pressure. Demanding jobs, long commutes, house sharing and managing relationships, all play a part.
It isn’t normal to feel anxious and stressed though. If you notice you are getting these feelings more regularly, it is essential to take action to combat it, as it can be a slippery slope to wider health issues.
Medication is normally the answer when visiting a GP. Whilst this may go towards masking the symptoms and providing a temporary fix, it doesn’t tackle the underlying reason.
Learning to live in the present moment
One way to tackle the route of the issue with anxiety is to practice yoga and meditation.
Both yoga and meditation not only release tension in the muscles and make you feel generally more energised. They also teach you how to focus on your breathing, move with awareness though a series of postures, and how to listen to your inner voice. This instils a sense of calm, and brings your attention wholly to the present moment.
Even if at first, you can only escape the feelings of anxiety momentarily during a yoga practice or a meditation, this alone will be a step in the right direction and give your body and mind a chance to rest.
The tools to tackle everyday anxiety
However, yoga and meditation also teach the tools to be able to bring the same mentality into your everyday life. So if a situation arises which causes you to feel anxious, then you will have learnt the skills to take a step back and bring yourself back into the present moment.
In turn this can bring your heartbeat back to normal, slow your breath and help you to see things clearly again.
This means that you can take control of situations, and not allow your emotions to completely take over, which can help all of us before meetings, social engagements or any event we don’t feel confident about.
Which types of yoga for anxiety and stress work best?
Really, any type of yoga will enable you to work on being present. Even Bikram yoga, and more dynamic types of yoga, have the potential to help.
More meditative types of yoga, and those that focus on deep, structured breathing techniques can be most effective. Although, it largely depends on your personality.
At times, meditation can be frustrating as it takes time to master the art of shutting down the chitter chatter voice in your head. Therefore, sometimes it is good to start with a more active type of yoga, where there is typically a moment of stillness at the end of the practice. It is then possible to build up to a full meditation.
Speaking to a qualified yoga teacher can certainly help to determine which type of yoga would be the best for you.
Practicing yoga can not only improve anxiety, but also help you with making positive changes in your life in general. Joining a local studio can help you to meet new people and get a routine that gives a sense of purpose and drive.