By Dr. Paul Jerard, E-RYT 500, YACEP
What is an anxiety attack and can Yoga help reduce the symptoms at all. Let’s take a close look at both of these subjects and the practical application of Yogic methodology for improving the quality of one’s life. For someone suffering from an anxiety attack right now, he or she wants instant relief and a cure. As teachers, we offer a healthy lifestyle with coping solutions, but we do not offer “instant cures.” From my point of view, I have seen pranayama work to relieve stress, anxiety, and attacks of all kinds, but try explaining this to someone who doesn’t believe you, won’t try, and is lost in the middle of sudden and overwhelming fear. Even better, try to explain how and why Yoga can help the millions of people worldwide who suffer from a variety of anxiety disorders, without scientific or medical studies, research, or trials. Anecdotal evidence is all the ancient sages had to make a case of how and why Yoga worked, but proof can now be summoned with an Internet connection.
Anxiety is nothing new. When people live in communities, the evidence of stress, anxiety, and depression are clear. An anxiety attack is a sudden and overwhelming episode (event) of fear. These episodes take place without warning or obvious cause, but there are times when they can also be linked to a direct cause or trigger. A person feels intense anxiety, fear, or physical symptoms, which are rooted in a perceived threat. There may be no external danger at all, except for what is going on inside one’s mind and body.
How Can Yoga Help?
The Yogic lifestyle occupies the mind and body with positive energy. This is not magic, but meditation, asana (Yoga postures), and pranayama (Yogic breathing) and many more methods within this health maintenance system, are like uploading good data into a computer. Will negative ideas stop coming? No, just like a computer needs an anti-virus, the mind and body need a dose of Yoga. Feelings of anxiety are normal and we are not made of stone. A trained mind and body are developed through practice. So, there is no big secret other than practice and incorporate Yoga into one’s lifestyle.
These days, we can use an electronic device to absorb a lesson, technique, practice along with a video, or just kick back and relax. The important part is to make a habit of being healthy. In the process, we stimulate the mind through self-education and by cultivating feelings of gratitude. In fact, it is common for Yoga teachers and students to wake up with positive feelings to start the day. The main objective is to keep moving forward with practice and realize that learning is a rewarding part of our journey through life.
But I Want an Instant Cure Now
If you are suffering from an anxiety attack this second, please get professional help right now. An emergency situation requires an emergency response. This is why we have counselors, first responders, hospitals, and facilities. The first step is to get help where you are at this moment. Overwhelming fear and anxiety is not easy to live with and is life threatening. Sometimes, taking medical prescriptions are the right solution at the time. This may be a bridge before moving onto adjunct therapies, such as Yoga. Sometimes, prescription medicine is needed throughout life.
Self-criticism is something we have to release from our lives. As humans we have negative feelings, such as: Hate, jealousy, greed, and anger.It never hurts to practice releasing the baggage that ties us down with pessimistic thoughts. Some people choose to avoid taking action or asking for help, but there are serious consequences. Sometimes, whole families are ruined by one or more family members who suffer from overwhelming stress and all the dark thoughts that plague them.
What If I Just Hold It Inside?
Holding emotions inside will still cause damage to your health. You cannot stop an earthquake with a land fill. People develop a variety of health problems when they hold anxiety in. At the same time, this is not a permit to go around making rude gestures, telling everyone off, or an endorsement for fits of rage; but there are healthy ways to let off steam. Pranayama, meditation, and asana are healthy methods for channeling negative emotions into positive energy. Some people walk, hit a heavy bag, or go to an aerobics class as methods to release stress and burn calories in the process.
Another method for coping with emotional flow is deflection or the channeling of anger. For most of us this will require training and conditioning, Is it possible to deflect an anxiety attack? Some people would do well to master the art of deflecting anything that can trigger an episode. For example: What is our ability to ignore an antagonist? Some people just can’t do it, but there are people who learn the art of focusing by training the mind, while others just naturally shut listening off. By observing a person who naturally tunes people out, we can learn much about focusing within. What would make you focus on something else when in the presence of a pessimist? Silent prayer or mantra would work for me, but it has to be a powerful thought and it helps to keep thoughts pleasant. The point being: Deflection is possible with practice and some of us naturally have it mastered.
The methods contained within a daily Yoga practice help those who suffer from anxiety attacks. The regularity of practice and living a healthy lifestyle make a positive impact on the practitioner. Physicians and medical professionals around the world have recommended Yoga training, because the research and studies reveal that the quality of life is improved through regular practice. With all that said, medical help and counseling are a patient’s front line defense. When anyone is facing an emergency situation, he or she must contact an emergency service without delay.
© Copyright – Aura Wellness Center – Publications Division
To see our selection of Yoga teacher training courses, please visit the following link.
Yoga as Medicine: The Yogic Prescription for Health and Healing
Yoga for Anxiety: Meditations and Practices for Calming the Body and Mind
Practicing Mindfulness: 75 Essential Meditations to Reduce Stress, Improve Mental Health, and Find Peace in the Everyday
Dare: The New Way to End Anxiety and Stop Panic Attacks
52 Essential Principles of Yoga Philosophy to Deepen your Practice
by Rina Jakubowicz.
A Relaxing Way to De-stress, Re-energize, and Find Balance
by: Gail Boorstein Grossman.
YOGA: THE PATH TO HOLISTIC HEALTH
by B.K.S. Iyengar
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