I am an anxious person. The question “what’s the worst that could happen?” is not a rhetorical one for me. It is a challenge. What’s the worst that could happen, you ask? Let me tell you, because my insane brain has already formulated about forty different scenarios that could go down.
Also, you just jinxed us.
Anxiety has been my near-constant companion and worst enemy for most of my life. Without getting long-winded about it – this is a health and fitness blog, not my personal diary, I get it – I have tried it all: therapy, medication, wringing my hands, rocking in a corner. And while all of these things worked, some much better than others (don’t really recommend the last two), there’s one thing that always nips my anxiety in the bud.
It’s a little thing called yoga, my friends. Yes, while I’m harnessing my chi I’m also wrangling my anxiety. I can’t hear you over all of my deep breathing and namaste-ing, scary thoughts!
There’s a long list of studies that back up my anecdotal evidence, too. Just Google “anxiety and exercise” and pages upon pages of articles will pop up citing the short- and long-term benefits of exercise in those of us that are prone to it.
While running calms me (woo, endorphins!), there’s something special about yoga that gets to the root of my anxiety, those little tendrils of worry that burrow into every-day life, and digs them out.
Maybe it’s the purpose with which you have to practice the poses, how everything is slowed down. Maybe it’s that yoga gently forces you to go inward instead of looking out at the world, which can be admittedly pretty scary and weird, especially in San Francisco. Maybe it’s all of those gorgeous words that describe the different poses, the mantras like the previously mentioned namaste, like shanti and om, a chant that is said to be the sound of the universe.
Cool, right? How could I not be completely chill after an hour and a half of all that?
Yoga was the one fitness routine I did religiously while I was pregnant. Not only was it the one form of exercise that didn’t send my heart rate skyrocketing into the atmosphere, it also made me feel more positively connected to my body and mind, which in turn made me feel more connected to the little person growing inside of me. As hokey as it sounds, it made me realize what a freaking rock star my body was, to be doing all of that work.
For all the anxiety I put myself through during my pregnancy and for those moments now when fear rears its ugly head, a calming reality check is just a short walk away to my neighborhood yoga studio.
So hey, while I’m sitting here thinking of the worst that could happen, I might as well do it in the lotus pose.
Do you practice yoga? Or is there another exercise that helps you get mellow? Tell me in the comments!
I totally agree with the connectedness that comes with prenatal yoga. While most of my time was spent freaking out about how I was going to handle almost 2 yr old twins AND a new baby, and a new job; yoga cut right to the heart of the matter and allowed me to enjoy the little bean. It also made me feel like Wonder Woman, that I was raising 2 yr old twins, defining my rock star status at a new job and all the while incubating a little life. It’s also the only thing that gets my mind to stop making lists.
Kate! You are my hero. I can barely juggle one baby on his own. The fact that you took on a new job and a new baby in addition to raising twins is incredible. I bow down to you!
I make lists in my head, too. Maybe it’s a mom thing? 😉 Yoga definitely quiets everything, which is a relief! Thanks for sharing your story!
love, Love, LOVE me some yoga! It is calming. It helps stretch me out. It makes me strong. It makes me FEEL strong. It pushes my limits. No matter what, your practice is never perfected…and, I like that. I find it to be the perfect balance to my running routine. So happy to have found yoga. Shanti, shanti, shanti….and, namaste.
Thank you, Megan! It brought me so much relief from my anxiety and I so agree – I love that the practice is never perfected. Namaste, my friend. 🙂
See, I never consider yoga. I’m not good at quieting my inner monologue (and sometimes dialogue). But as you know, I too am an anxious person. So maybe it’s time I checked out this Ommm thing…
You should try it, Bec! I think you’d love it. Mainly because I love it and we’re quite alike!
I practice yoga but my mind goes into war mode as if it just doesn’t want to relax lol so I just use it to stretch but I think that running does it for me. I can’t seem to focus on anything other than running and I even tune out the music on my headphones (but can’t run without music, weird) lol
Well, hey, it’s great you get the stretching benefits out of it. Yoga does different things for different people and none of it’s wrong!
I have not practiced yoga, but my best friend does and shares the same sentiments as you. It has done wonders for her anxiety and her figure!!
My drug of choice is running. It clears my head and relaxes me.
It’s awesome you have that relationship with running. I think whatever we can do to kind of zen out, whether it’s running or yoga or rock climbing (eek), is so beneficial. We all have busy lives, so it’s necessary!
When I was in college, I took like four semesters of yoga, just so I could focus and decompress for a couple hours a day. I don’t think I’d have graduated without it. If I don’t get my weekly deep stretch, I feel tight and frazzled and I use the meditation techniques every single day to get to sleep. Yoga isn’t just exercise, it’s therapy. It’s treatment. And for me, it’s a lifesaver!
Cam, I did the same in college! Major lifesaver. And funnily enough, I obsessively listened to Coldplay’s Parachutes that semester, so as soon as I bring it up on my iPod it instantly relaxes me. It’s forever tied to the beginning of my relationship with yoga!
I’ve tried yoga and just cannot get into it…. I do love HOT yoga though but don’t do it enough. My goal is to start adding it to my routine once a week. STARTING THIS WEEK 😀
Meri does hot yoga, but I’m scared to! I just know I’d pass out on my face. Good luck getting back into it, girl!
Hot yoga is one of my favorites but my studio is a bit of a hike so I don’t get there as often as I’d like. Too much on my dance card at the moment. Boo!
I believe we discussed that one time I did yoga. I was perhaps a bit overconfident. Now, when I think “yoga” I also think “OW. OW. OW! Owwie McOwerson!!”
I’m really good at savasana, though. Like, super good.
Savasana is totally my favorite pose. You should try yoga again, DB!