Anxiety can be debilitating and while the title of this post implies that yoga can help with anxiety, this, I realise, is not always the case; anxiety and/or depression can seemingly zap all energy. As I’m someone who has been doing yoga for a few years and in that time come to realise I could be considered quite an anxious person, I have also learned that yoga doesn’t always work for me and anxiety/depression.
Perhaps it depends on the type of anxiety. At this point I found myself relating my life’s experiences to the opening paragraphs of the Wikipedia page on anxiety and realised I was going beyond the scope of what I had intended for this topic. I decided to start this topic in response to a couple of blog posts by others. The first one was about having or lacking Body Confidence and anxiety, which I could relate to, and the other consisted of some funny illustrations of yoga poses which I deemed to be “The reality of yoga“.
It has been a while since I’ve done any yoga; the warm weather seems to mostly obliterate my desire, due to it being warm and all too easy to build up an undesirable sweat, and my body doesn’t feel so stiff as it does during the winter months. However, Youtube still throws some recommendations my way, and today (on a not too warm day) I found myself taking part in a David O Yoga workout designed for ‘weight loss’, it’s a six week thing for which I’ll include the first one below.
I was likely spurred on after laughing at those earlier illustrations. I was having another day stuck in doors waiting for a parcel delivery, and I didn’t want to blow another one sat in front of my computer. Sometimes there are reasons like this for me to not get out and about for a run or on my bike, but other days the reasons seem more accurately described as excuses. Often I will intended during a prior evening to go out for a run the next morning, only to get as far as donning my running shoes, or even stepping outside, only to turn round and go back inside again. It could be anxiety, it could be depression and these can stem from a feeling of anxiety and concerns about body image and shape. Either way I know that if I can just get myself moving I will feel better. This is where yoga can work. There are many many sequences and flows and workouts you can follow along with, and by a multitude of different people; so if one doesn’t work for you, another just might, and following an instructor can be like having a personal life coach guiding you out of a rut when you need it most.
I found this video to be just what I needed. David begins with encouraging words about body image, saying “don’t let anyone ever tell you how you’re supposed to look.” More accurately I think it’s about building confidence in yourself so that should anyone pass any kind of remark about you that you deem to be negative, or not helpful, or not supportive, you can rise above it; let them say what they want (because we would do better to control ourselves than try and control others) and move on. Don’t concern yourself with how others might be perceiving you. Yoga helps with this, not always instantly, but over time. It teaches self control through the physical movements, and calms the mind enabling you to overcome distractions that are all too prevalent with anxiety.
If you’re looking for yoga to help with cycling, check out this post: