The Purpose of Yoga: Releasing Anxiety

///The Purpose of Yoga: Releasing Anxiety

The Purpose of Yoga: Releasing Anxiety

yoga instructor trainingBy Dr. Paul Jerard, E-RYT 500

Yoga is a great relief from feelings of anxiety, but anxiety is part of life; and some of us have more anxiety than others. No matter how many years you practice Yoga, you are still human. You are bound to have feelings of frustration, angst, irritation, and anxiety.

Most people think that Yoga practice will make these negative feelings disappear, but that is not entirely true. Some people think that Yoga training will aid you in throwing negative feelings into separate compartments, but that is not really true either.

So, how do long-term Yoga practitioners release their anxiety? They seem so calm and collected all the time. What is the big secret? Firstly, let’s cover some options you should not practice, and then look at Yogic solutions for releasing anxiety.

Myth 1: Yogis can make anxiety disappear.

Never believe that anxiety will magically disappear. Yoga, and medical prescriptions, cannot make anxiety go away permanently. For anxiety to disappear, something has to change within you. List the causes of your anxiety, and how you respond to them.

Then find solutions for purging them in a healthy way. Yoga training does help, but Yogic methodology has its limitations, too.  Accept and identify anxiety for what it is. In life, you also have to come to grips with hate, jealousy, greed, and anger. We should not embrace negative thoughts or feelings, but we should quickly be able to identify them and their private agendas.

Life is a lot easier when we are honest with ourselves. After we find the true nature of a problem, we can then find realistic solutions to deal with our negative feelings. If you wake up feeling a little down, do not waste your time on denial, but do find a solution to rid negativity from within.

Myth 2: Yogis can bottle up their emotions.

Holding emotions inside will still cause damage to the individual. You cannot stop an earthquake with a land fill. At the same time, this is not a permit to go around making rude gestures, telling everyone off, or an endorsement of road rage; but there are healthy ways to let off steam.  Pranayama and asana are healthy methods for channeling angry emotions into positive energy.

The secret of controlling emotion is: Deflection or channeling of anger, but it will take much time and conditioning, before you are able to do this. Yogic methodology is, in fact, an archive of solutions for anxiety; but you must have the will to maintain a regular practice for complete mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual health.

One point about deflection: Some Yoga teachers need to master this art, as well as our students.  To master the art of deflection is to realize that you are not required to return a serve.  In a tennis or ping pong match, this is a different story.  However, if insults are hurled in your direction, there are times when a deflection is your best option.  Deflection allows you to continue on with your day, without becoming sidetracked by negative emotions, anger, and wasting time.  For Yoga instructors, this may appear that we are uncaring, but our alternative is to get on the ground and sling some mud back at the person who hurled the initial insult.  As a Yoga instructor, or if you are a caring person, you will avoid jumping into a conflict over an insult. 

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