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Yoga For Anxious Times

By Janice Krakowsky

MON FEB 01, 2021

As we may have started out the new year with high hopes that things would be different, whatever that means to us. We may have set goals or resolutions that we are still working on or that have fell by the wayside.

This time being particularly challenging, you may find yourself with some anxiety about the state of the world or your own portion of it.

First know that it is ok to have these feelings and at times to not feel ok, but if it persists and lingers for a period of time, reach out for some help. Lean on family, a friend, a counselor.

If it comes in ebbs and flows and you are working on it, lean into your yoga practice. I hope to provide you with a few tools that help you when you are feeling anxious, whether it's something big or something small.

First would be connecting with your breath. It may sound really simple, and it is, but it's oh so powerful.

You can be standing or sitting or even laying down, close your eyes and feel into your breath, not changing it, but bringing awareness to it, feel the breath move in and out. Notice where it's free to move and where you might be restricted or holding tension in the body and breath. Take 5-10 breaths or maybe spend a few minutes just noticing your breath. Here is a short practice you may find helpful Relaxation.

Using Alternate nostril breathing may help to balance your nervous system

Here are some poses that may help you to ground and relax while connecting with your breath. All of these poses can be helpful on their own or put together in a short sequence spending some time in each.

1. Crocodile- Come to lie down on your belly with your legs extended back behind you. Wiggle a little here to get comfortable allowing your legs to widen toes turn in or out. You may even like a folded blanket under your pelvis as you lie here. Stack your forearms and rest your forehead. Bring awareness to the breath as you feel your body settle into the floor

2. Child's pose- From hands and knees sit your hips back toward your heels. You may widen your knees for more comfort. A blanket between your thighs and calves may allow for a more restful position. Allow your forehead to touch the floor either on folded arms, a block or blanket. Rest here aware of your breath

3. Forward folds- You can do a standing forward fold or a seated forward fold. Bringing the body into itself and release tension. Allow yourself to let go.

4. Downward Facing Dog-If you want this to be a little more energizing. If the full version feels like too much try taking a down dog variation head to a block or at the wall

5. Legs up the wall- This pose can help achieve complete relaxation. Start by sitting next to a wall and then start to lie down as you swing your legs up the wall, a folded blanket or pillow under the head may feel nice

Here is a gentle movement practice that you can do when you want to relax, but move some of that energy Grounding from the floor

Remember to be kind to yourself and a practice non attachment. Allow the feelings to arise and then let them go. Continuing to bring your awareness to the breath and the body.