Monday, 24 October 2016

Yoga for anxiety - yin yoga sequence to create an awareness of thoughts and emotions

Please click on the video below to watch, 'Yoga for anxiety - yin yoga sequence to create an awareness of thoughts and emotions ' on my YouTube Channel.

Please read the disclaimer on the blog before following these videos -

Please note-Please consult your doctor if you are having severe panic attacks or chronic anxiety - there is much a doctor can offer you that would complement your yoga practice such as Cognitive behaviour therapy or counselling which you could do alongside yoga. 

Yin yoga is complementary to the Hatha yoga you usually practice on this blog which is yang. Yin and yang come from Taoist thought of yin which is stable, unmoving and yang which is changing and moving.  Yang yoga focuses on the muscles whereas yin yoga involves longer holds (3-5 minutes) in order to move deeper into the connective tissue- ligaments, tendons and fascia. Yin yoga stretches and strengthens these tissues which may become shortened and weakened over time.  In order for this to happen the overlying muscles need to be relaxed and for this reason some yoga poses which do require muscle engagement are not suitable for yin yoga  - these include standing posses, arm balances and inversions. Yin yoga poses focus on the pelvis, hips and lower spine, areas where negative emotions are stored. To distinguish them from their yang equivalents they are given different names.  

In our fast paced, 24/7 society we may find yin yoga difficult because we are conditioned to be always doing, indeed it is often thought of as boring.  But it is also important to 'just be' noticing any sensations, any thoughts or emotions that arise.  When thoughts and emotions arise yin yoga give us an opportunity to 'take a step back' to observe them. If we practice doing this on the mat, eventually we will be able to do the same off the mat when anxious thoughts arise or fear which often triggers anxious thoughts.  This is also what we practice in meditation. Do not think that if you cannot empty your mind, you cannot meditate.  Minds are meant to think and thoughts will arise - just don't get caught up in them and they will pass by. In this week's yoga video we do several 'mini meditations' as we observe our thoughts and emotions while we hold the poses.

In yin yoga and in meditation eventually you will experience release from the thoughts and emotions that weigh you down. If you have chronic anxiety it is a good idea therefore to include them in your weekly yoga practice. 

Please be aware that these yoga practices may take you to an emotional edge that can be very painful if you suffer from severe anxiety. Just as with a physical edge, you should back off if the emotions get too intense.  I would strongly advise you to check with your medical practitioner before undertaking these yoga practices.


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