Certain Yoga Asanas (Poses) are beneficial in the management of Anxiety which manifests itself as an imbalance in mental and physical states of health.
“Too much in the head”, thinking too much, ruminating on worrying thoughts, regrets, memories or just restlessness, boredom, and lack of stimulation triggers a physical stress response and feeds back into the mental anxiety loop.
It is important to “get out of the head” and get into the body, ground to the earth, and to move the stuck mental energy.
The Chakra System is an energy system which is a great visualizing tool during Yoga and Meditation. Studying the Chakra’s colour, mantra, and traits can intensify our Yoga practice and train our mind to divert from our troubling thoughts.
A Mantra is used as a sound vibration and a concentration tool when the mind wanders. The Mantra has a meaning which when repeated allows the brain to reset itself and stop the mental cycling of the anxiety loop.
A daily Yoga and Meditationroutine is a useful Anxiety Interruptor and well-being enhancer and is recommended in most therapeutic programs by professional well-being practitioners worldwide and in some cultures has been practiced for at least 5000 years (recorded).
We already know all that so lets get on with practicing this art and science for ourselves.
It can’t hurt us, can it?
Well actually one can hurt oneself in Yoga by pushing, resisting and exerting too much ego power into the mix.
Yoga is about exploring your own body, mind and spirit.
Yoga is present moment consciousness and that’s why it helps.
Yoga condenses the moment to Here and Now. Yep the Cliché.
Cliché is just that, a truth that is generalised.
So here it is, Yoga works.
Root chakra—Mūlādhāra is the chakra of stability, security, and our basic needs. The root chakra is comprised of whatever grounds you to stability in your life. This includes your basic needs such as food, water, shelter, safety, as well as your emotional needs of interconnection, and being fearless. When these needs are met, you feel grounded and safe. It is the most important Chakra as this is the Fundamental (or Mool) Chakra.
I AM GROUNDED
I AM SAFE
Benefits: Warrior I strengthens the legs, opens the hips and chest and stretches the arms and legs. Warrior I develops concentration, balance and groundedness. This pose improves circulation and respiration and energizes the entire body.
Contraindications: Recent or chronic injury to the hips, knees, back or shoulders.
Improves posture by increasing energy, awareness, and opening the chest area.
Alleviate tension, tiredness, and anxiety.
Relives stiffness of the neck and shoulders.
Relieves backache, sciatica, rheumatism, and general stiffness in the shoulders and neck.
Alleviates cramps in the legs and makes the leg muscles supple.
Precautions and Contraindications:
Serious neck or shoulder problems.
Opens the rib cage and chest
Enhances digestion and elimination
Stimulates the liver and kidneys
Energizes the spine
Stretches the shoulders, hips, back, and neck
Back pain and/or injury
There are squillions of apps, online classes, courses, websites available to the masses now that Yoga is in its shiniest hour but let us always beware of the shadow that co-exists.
We all need to be discerning and note where our ego, our expectations and our intentions are when practising Yoga for self and when choosing a particular course or teacher.
Lets take advantage of this giant wave of magic and practise this mystical wonder that is Yoga..
It’s 2019 and there are still no recent studies showing anything conclusive with regards to the efficacy of St John’s wort on treating severe depression.
(If you wish to retrace my steps in the research please do so by all means and follow the links below.)
Many studies however have shown efficacy for assisting with mild to moderate depression which is a more common experience in the main population and to whom this article is directed.
“We all suffer the blues now and then” like the song says and here’s a plant that could help and has helped thousands throughout the ages from neolithic times to now.
Be it winter blues, hormonal blues, illness blues, christmas blues, whatever blues your song is about, this root extract may offer some comfort.
I say why not!
Tinctures and capsules are sold on the market now. Best to go to your local natural health store and get advice there.
Why not consult with a natural herb specialist, naturopath, phytotherapist, etc and have the accompaniment, the support, the knowledge that they can offer you.
Self-care means caring enough for oneself to get assistance from other humans whose job it is to assist. They do it all day, they’ve studied, it’s their bread and butter and I say use them. Just don’t lump all the responsibility on the professional you choose, do your own research, create your own path of well-being.
How and when to use St John’s Wort
Use it as an intensive ‘cure’ or regimen for a few weeks along with other self-care strategies such as a diet change, some exercise, some meditation or mindfulness, a good friend to chat with, a visit to your counsellor, massage therapist, manicurist, whoever brings you joy but especially go out to NATURE.
Visit a forest today!
Cautionary note: if you are severely depressed and on medication, please abstain from listening to any wisdom given here apart from talk to a professional now.
When dealing with hot flashes and hormonal shifts, try a yoga-for-menopause pose to relieve symptoms.
Practice this Asana/pose for a 7 day self challenge and practice mindfully or intentionally for 5 to 10 minutes daily. Your body will start craving it and it will become habitual.
On days when Menopausal symptoms are intense your body will remind you to practice Yoga to assist in alleviating them.
The poses will become an integral part of your self-care routine.
Healing Meditation for Menopause:
# During the Asana practice Close eyes and Meditate focusing your intent, your relaxation, your breathing your healing energy to the pelvic region.
# Imagine a bright white light filling your pelvic region and then filling your entire body.
# Use positive compassionate thoughts about your pelvis and your entire body for example:
“My pelvic region, my whole body and my hormones are in perfect harmony”
“My body, my mind and my soul are in perfect harmony”
“My body is strong and flexible during change”
“I accept change. My body accepts change. My mind accepts change”
Add your own mantras, thoughts, prayers during your practice.
Bridge Pose can be whatever you need—energizing, rejuvenating, or luxuriously restorative.
(SET-too BAHN-dah) setu = dam, dike, or bridge bandha = lock
Stretches the chest, neck, and spine
Calms the brain and helps alleviate stress and mild depression
Stimulates abdominal organs, lungs, and thyroid
Rejuvenates tired legs
Helps relieve the symptoms of menopause
Relieves menstrual discomfort when done supported
Reduces anxiety, fatigue, backache, headache, and insomnia
Therapeutic for asthma, high blood pressure, osteoporosis, and sinusitis
Bridge Pose: Step-by-Step Instructions
Lie supine on the floor, and if necessary, place a thickly folded blanket under your shoulders to protect your neck. Bend your knees and set your feet on the floor, heels as close to the sitting bones as possible.
Exhale and, pressing your inner feet and arms actively into the floor, push your tailbone upward toward the pubis, firming (but not hardening) the buttocks, and lift the buttocks off the floor. Keep your thighs and inner feet parallel. Clasp the hands below your pelvis and extend through the arms to help you stay on the tops of your shoulders.
Lift your buttocks until the thighs are about parallel to the floor. Keep your knees directly over the heels, but push them forward, away from the hips, and lengthen the tailbone toward the backs of the knees. Lift the pubis toward the navel.
Lift your chin slightly away from the sternum and, firming the shoulder blades against your back, press the top of the sternum toward the chin. Firm the outer arms, broaden the shoulder blades, and try to lift the space between them at the base of the neck (where it’s resting on the blanket) up into the torso.
You can go up and down slowly using the breath in the beginning to warm up the spine and legs.
Breathe in UP
Breathe out DOWN
After a few raises or when you are ready then Stay in the pose anywhere from 30 seconds to 1 minute.
Release with an exhalation, rolling the spine slowly down onto the floor.
Setu Bandha Sarvangasana
Contraindications and Cautions
Neck injury: avoid this pose unless you are practicing under the supervision of an experienced teacher.
Modifications and Props
If you have difficulty supporting the lift of the pelvis in this pose after taking it away from the floor, slide a block or bolster under your sacrum and rest the pelvis on this support.
Deepen the Pose
Once in the pose, lift your heels off the floor and push your tailbone up, a little closer to the pubis. Then from the lift of the tail, stretch the heels back to the floor again.