Yoga Is Not Hipster Hogwash. I Am Living Proof!
Today is International Yoga Day, and it got me thinking about how it all began for me. I started practising yoga because I wanted a pair of free yoga pants! No jokes. So I participated in yoga challenges hosted by people I am inspired by on Instagram, and got really excited when I saw I could win clothing or something! But I never did win it. However, as I dived deeper into yoga, the idea of free pants left me, and the philosophy of yoga stuck by.
The physical aspect of yoga helped me become stronger, mentally. I started reading much more about yoga, and understood that this is actually good for me. I started believing in myself again. It gave me hope. My mental, emotional and spiritual side started healing.
Tell me this, when you come back from a heavy day of work or school or college, or even just running after your kids, what is the first thing you do when you sit down? Sigh.
No! You actually sigh. You exhale all the clogged up tension. Everyone does this when they are tired, irritated, angry (insert any negative emotion) because after you exhale, it’s like anxiety is released from your body, and you feel a little better. Now imagine if we took conscious breaths everyday. We would be more in the present, and not hold on to the stresses of life.
My name is Natasha Noel, and I practise and teach yoga. I promise this is not going to be the new age hipster hogwash. I suffer from anxiety and depression, and while it is so much better now, my bad days were really very bad. Thankfully, as I work on myself, and grow as a person, my anxiety diminishes. If you are prone to anxiety attacks, it’s important for you to know your trigger point. This will help care for your anxiety better. When the anxiety kicks in, my heart beats at supersonic speed, my head is spinning with every insignificant thought, accompanied by shallow breaths, and I’m crying my eyes out because the pain is too intense.
I’ve trained myself to lie down on the cold floor. Cold because my body is burning up. My hands and feet are cold, palms, feet and armpits are sweaty. There is a lot of heat exiting my system , so lying down on the cold floor and taking deep breaths helps. The shallow breath keeps anxiety alive in the body. If the body can’t relax, neither can the mind. So, I take deep, full breaths all the way down into my belly. This deep breathing signals the body to relax and helps calm your mind, and spirit.
On my Apple Watch, I use the Breathe app, which guides you through a series of deep breaths, and reminds you to take time to breathe every day for a minute, two, three, four or five. With each minute, you have to breathe 7 breaths, which is good because it focuses on deep inhalation and exhalation. We often get stuck, and so caught up in our daily chaos that we forget to “consciously breathe.” So from today, take just a minute to start consciously breathing. And then, build your way up.
Putting in time and effort for your mental health is always a good thing. I urge you to make time, even if you’re pressed for it.
The author, Natasha Noel, is a trained yoga teacher and a social media influencer. She is also a motivational speaker who has spoken up about issues like sexual abuse, depression, anxiety and more.