Category Archives: anxiety

HEALING ANXIETY OR BROKEN HEART- Jenine Durland

rest-yoga-savasana

We are lying in savasana—corpse pose—legs splayed wide, arms flopped down, palms facing the sky, and I close my eyes.

My friend is beside me; my yoga teacher has come to crouch at my head.

“Do something for me,” Pete says, pausing with his hands on my shoulders, “do this for yourself,” and I nod, eyes still closed.

“Bring one hand to your heart and one to your belly,“ and I do, slipping my left hand onto my chest and resting the thumb of my right hand in the hollow of my belly button.

I take a deep breath and feel my stomach rise, willing my body to relax.

The thing about anxiety attacks, I’ve come to learn in the last couple days, is that you can’t reason through them. And they can leave you, out of nowhere, fainting out of mountain pose or crawling across your floor.

You tell yourself it’s all in your head, but then you put your head down on the pillow alone in your apartment, and feel this tingling sensation spread out across your skin and every siren in your body goes off, telling you that there is a problem, an actual physical problem requiring god-knows-what emergency-care.

And then you laugh and cry all at once, seeing the absurdity, scared shitless of trusting your body, even your breath.

And so, it took a lot to get me to come back to class. Even as I rolled out my mat, I feared passing out, had vivid images of blackouts in my head, but my friend, who is also a nurse, promised to practice beside me, and when I told my teacher what was going on before class, Pete gave me a rolled up yoga mat to place under my belly.

I spent most of the class in the corner lying on my stomach while everyone rose up and down in warrior poses around me, feeling the rolled up mat push into my body every time I exhaled a breath, comforted to be held in community.

Now in this final pose, the one where we practice for our ultimate surrender, Pete is holding my head.

“Whether healing anxiety or a broken heart,” he says quietly, running his thumb and forefinger from my third eye down to my temple, “the tools are the same.”

I open my eyes just long enough to catch his eyes, full of compassion, and there is that moment of feeling really, truly seen: All of me acknowledged, accepted, okay.

“We hold our anxiety between our stomach and our chest,” Pete says, “and I’ve often found that we have some shame wrapped up there, a sense of not being enough. Breathe into that.”

And then the tears come, warm and sort of glorious, like sweat running down my cheeks while Pete rubs the back of my neck, and laughs. It’s the kind of laugh that comes out when you’re holding a baby and they curl their tiny fingers around your pinky. It’s the moment I knew, because I had gotten myself here to this mat and this teacher and this community, that I would be alright.

It’s also the moment I truly understood the power of a healer. There is yoga, yes; there is meditation, yes; but there is something profound and deeply human in seeking wise counsel in the overlap there between, in matters of the heart and soul.

After almost a year of practicing with Pete, of accepting his invitations to shine light into our dark places, of feeling awe at his capacity for love that seems to grow exponentially with each hug he gives his students, I have come to recognize how important it is to find teachers we connect with—those special people genuinely invested in helping others heal, the ones who can hold that kind of sacred space.

As the great Sufi poet Hafiz once wrote, “That is what greatness does: kindly leaves a shelter for us to gather under, where more nourishment can be offered to all things.”

And so, in just over a month, I’ve accepted yet another invitation from my teacher, and will be heading out on a new journey, one that takes this place of love and light and suffering—the heart center—as a starting point, and charts the course of movement, breath, and awareness into a realm of unknowing.

Most people call this “Teacher Training,” but Pete calls it “Lighting the Path,” and I can think of no better words…except perhaps those, again, of Hafiz, who writes,

“Strange the way my shadow began to fall. I
was standing in a field helping the dawn

appear, and when its body, the sun, was fully
lifted into the sky

I was amazed to see my shadow in front of
me as I faced that luminous candle we all know.”

Hafiz poems

CRAVINGS!!!

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Melika

ANXIETY AND AYURVEDA

IS.33-2006 Painting Vishnu as Vishvarupa (cosmic or universal man); Vishnu as Cosmic man, watercolour on paper, early 19th century, Jaipur. Jaipur Ca. 1800-1820 Watercolour on paper

Since I began doing consultations as an Ayurvedic practitioner,

I’ve noticed one common element in which 4 of out 5 patients seem to all have in common. They all seem to be suffering from anxiety, anxiety disorders and panic attacks. Common symptoms in Ayurveda are: tremors, uncontrollable thoughts, spasms, difficulty breathing, heart palpitations, a feeling of emptiness, every sound seems more intense and people feel very sensitive to energy. It’s as tho they have become a sponge for all the energy in the world.

We already have enough to deal with our own lives and our own health, it becomes even more difficult to feel everything, sound, sight, touch, energy, like a waterfall of bricks falling over you.

It becomes harder to go to work, to go do groceries and to even see friends for some of us. We slowly start allowing our fear to manage our life by avoiding mundane habits and social settings that we usually thrived in and enjoyed. Everything is taken more personally, we feel as tho everyone is looking at us and judging us. It can even become difficult to eat in front of other’s or to simply say hello to our best friends. Depending on the type of anxiety level you have or the type of anxiety you developed.

In Ayurveda this is called a Vata unbalance. It can be triggered by many things. A post traumatic stress that was not dealt with or noticed, a heartbreak, a burn out. To many ignored emotion’s kept inside which created a blockage of your energy from circulating properly, everything becomes stuck.

Sometime’s the thoughts are so uncontrollable and negative that we would love to cut our heads off to calm the noise and to simply stop feeling and living in a constant state of fear. The hardest thing is to have the knowledge and the logic to know that we have no reason to be fearful but the fear is still present.

It feels like some fear mongering monster has taken over your brain and your body, reacting with different manifestation’s of fear and not even knowing why? For me this was the hardest thing.

In ayurveda Vata is considered the dosha air and space. Air and space are beautiful, they connect with creativity, communication, fluidity, being open to change, feeling like a social butterfly, joy, clarity and so many other wonderful gifts. Vata is also responsible for physical movement, movement of thoughts, feelings and nerve impulses, movement of the organs for ingestion to assimilate and absorption of nutrients. Vata governs the mind, sensory perception, motor functions; including speech and muscular coordination.

When there is to much Vata, we are drying out our nervous system which is one of the primary sites of Vata. The colon is a primary site of Vata as well and when there is derangement we tend to become constipated, the mucus membrane diminishes. We have difficulty focusing or have difficulty sleeping and feel a sense of breathlessness when we feel anxious. My personal experience was feeling my heart and my chest cramped up with difficulty breathing from morning until night. This was constant anxiety and don’t get me started on my panic attacks :).

As someone who has suffered from anxiety, it was a relief to know that I was not the only one. That this seems like an epidemic, to my 50 year old male clients, to my 22 year old female clients. There is a consistency going on with the way people are responding to stress and their environment in our society.  Everyone is different and has a different body type. I will give you general information to bring you back into balance. Things that I practice everyday or almost everyday :).

Pranayama was a great help to me, the practice of Aloma Veloma, alternate nostril breathing and Kapalabhati, shinning skull. Do not practice these exercises with breath retention since the goal is to push the air out of the body not hold more in. These exercises are going to re-build your gray matter in the brain and your white coating of myelin sheath; white coating around your brain.

To put it in a simple way, are nervous system in our brain is like a room full of electrical wires all plugged into each other. Vata dry’s out the matter, the protection surrounding the electrical cord. When this is gone, you lose control of your nervous system and it’s natural functions.

Fight or flight a natural instinct for survival becomes very sensitive and the brain gets confused and feels the urge to flight.

Be mindful of not watching to many action or horror movies. Try taking in healthy impressions, being receptive to positive things and going for silent walks in nature to breath and ground yourself. The brain is primarily a Vata organ and there are factors that damage the brain and strips it from it’s cerebrospinal fluid. Excessive sensory stimulation, too much thought, too much worry, stimulants like coffee, sugar and drugs. A derangement in the brain will manifest as; insomnia, poor motor function and sensory function, spasms, tremors.

Yoga: Very soft and slow yoga, grounding poses and heart opening poses. Try to practice with your eyes closed and soft music alone. Be very soft and gently with yourself. When you do heart opening exercises try to exhale deeply. If you feel like letting out an animalistic noise, go for it. This is expelling the extra air and the negative emotions that need to move out of your body and your mind! Developed a harmonious routine, practice letting go and end the day with a beautiful gift to yourself of an Abyanga! Self-Massage!! Almond oil in my teachings and apricot oil is fine for all body types. The smell of jasmine, rose and sandalwood is soft and bring up emotion’s of love, softness and relaxation 1 or 2 drops is enough, essential oils are very concentrated and you do not want to put to much. Sometime’s less is more. Apply the base all over your body and simply send yourself love and be present. You can apply oil in your nose, your ears, under you feet and deeply massage your head with circular motions to help the nervous system replenish itself.

Slowly slowly sleep will become better, cultivating relaxation is an art. We are in a world where everyone is over stimulated. Try to turn your cell phone off before bed and take your time before you open it in the morning. Sing and allow your energy to flow, cultivate presence and mindfulness. Enjoy your LIFE! Not everyone else’s threw a screen. Moderation in anything in life is the key.

Allow yourself to listen to soft music and simply chill 1 hour before bed. Without constant television and stimulation, just be in your body and be in your thoughts. If you are not connected to yourself, no one can do it for you. These are the tools and if you practice for 1 week, you will already feel a difference.

Do not push to hard and listen to yourself. If you need to stay home because of a long stressful day at work. Stay home, there will be many more occasions to go out but your health is priority. When you have your health the rest will come.

Last but not least 2 magical herbs for every body-type,ashwaganda andtriphala.

LOVE LOVE LOVE!!

Author: Melika Emira Baccouche