How Yoga Helped My Anxiety

Five years ago I began getting panic attacks while writing exams. I would look up at the clock, 30 minutes remaining, then I looked down at my test, 6 pages left! There was no way I could finish 6 pages in 30 minutes, and that's when the panic would set in. The tightness in my chest, the racing heart beat, the short, shallow breaths, the spinning in my head, and the shaking in my body.

I can't breathe, what's happening, now how can I finish the test, I'm going to fail, I'm not going to get into university. 

All these thoughts simultaneously spinning in my head, becoming a viscous cycle that I couldn't stop. This is what led to the testing and diagnosis of my Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD). I had been living with anxiety since I was a young kid, and it was evident in several areas of my life, but this was the moment that led to an answer, it allowed me to identify what was happening and figure out how I could help myself. 

Fast forward to me finding yoga. As I began to practice yoga I learned how to breathe (yes we all breathe, but do you really breathe?). I learned how to lengthen my breathe, how take deep inhales and long exhales, filling my whole belly with air. How to bring my awareness to my breath, and that became the key. Your breath is the only thing that exists solely in this moment. Anxiety is worrying about the past or future, so if you are in this moment, you are unable to be anxious. Of course it is easier said then done, but with more practice it became automatic. Now when I feel anxiety arising in me, I automatically begin to breathe deeper and my mind focuses on my breath. 

Yoga has become an outlet for me, my mat is a safe space for me to find peace. I find a whole new world when I put headphones in and just start to flow with whatever feels good, moving to the music.

Movement and music. What a beautiful treatment to help you heal. 

Everyone has their own thing that helps them, but if you're still searching for yours, if you're still seeking a solution, give yoga a try. It continues to help heal me. 

Xo, Christina

Christina DeFranco