Monday, June 12, 2017

The Very Anxious Yogi

Have you guys heard of yoga? You really should look into it! Because it's great. And I've been doing a LOT of it lately. 

I actually started doing it more consistently a couple of years ago when I was revamping my lifestyle (aka becoming less lazy) and making better choices (aka not drinking and eating burgers every night.) I lost some weight and that was nice, but what I enjoyed the most about it was the peace of mind. I think yoga can get a negative stereotype for being sort of “crunchy” and it has lost a bit of its sexiness factor with the introduction of more heart-pumping workout classes like barre and cycling. But, I don’t know, I just love it.

When I started adapting that healthier lifestyle, I was going through a weird phase in my life. Mostly because I was starting to fully realize that the person responsible for the trajectory of my career path was ME and ME ALONE. Sometimes I wish I was a woman of faith so I could just leave it all up to God, but nope - I’m not. It’s just me. And I’m probably the person who is LEAST equipped to make such tough decisions.

But, regardless of qualifications, I’m left to handle it all on my own. Because of this, my anxiety started getting worse and worse. I began seeing a psychiatrist and he prescribed me a few different anxiety medications - one to take daily and one to take when I have panic attacks. I also saw a psychologist to talk through my shit.

In addition to ALL THAT, I started doing yoga every single day. I eased into it by giving myself permission to only do 15 minutes if I wanted to, the goal was to get on the mat and do SOME yoga every single day. The hardest part was actually getting on the mat, but once I was there and the 15-minute mark came, I found that I’d stay longer and longer.

After 30 days, I’d lost all the weight I had gained from my anxiety medications (which was a SUPER FUN side effect.) I was finally feeling really great, so I stopped taking my daily pill. Most professionals wouldn’t recommend doing that, but it felt right for me. I found that the pill wasn’t doing much for me at all, and I could have discussed trying a new pill - but I found that being healthier in general, challenging myself and overcoming some of the mental roadblocks I was putting up for myself, was a huge relief to my anxiety.

In general, I use the lessons I learn from yoga in so many different aspects of my day.

Setting an intention. When beginning a session, I am told to “set an intention” and believe it to already be true. Sometimes it’s as simple as, “Be in a good mood” or a more lofty intention like, “Put myself first.” But, I find that when I do this in the morning - I hold myself to it all day. If I’m doing yoga at night, I fall asleep in a better mood and dread the following day a little bit less. A little bit.

Breathe into it. If something shitty happens, or I start to get stressed out, overwhelmed or upset - I breathe into it. Just like I’m told to breathe into the more painful, challenging parts of yoga - I breathe into the pains of my day. You can get through anything with some deep breathing! Especially climbing stairs. Or traffic. Or shitty tourists walking through the streets. Or being sexually harassed/assaulted by a restaurant manager in your neighborhood!

I'm STRONG AF! So, that's cool. It helps me carry air conditioners and heavy groceries up stairs.

I’m still responsible for what to do with my life, which sucks. I just wish that I could look ahead and clearly envision what I want and how to get there. But, I will say, I’m certainly feeling a little more at ease with the GIANT RESPONSIBILITY that is my future. If yoga has taught me anything, it’s that I should be present in the moment and accept my reality.

My reality is this: I have a job that pays well and pays my bills. In addition, I have options and opportunities and talent. I have the freedom to pursue WHATEVER I want to pursue. That’s a luxury I don’t appreciate nearly as often as I should.

So, basically, I don’t know -  do yoga. It’s awesome.  

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