(2/3) "There were classes towards the beginning where I’d find myself crying and not know exactly why. I know this isn’t an uncommon experience. Somehow the class was creating a space that felt safe for me to re-sensitise to things, to my body, to my feelings. It felt like a pressure valve was being released inside me. I somehow felt more authentic, more alive than I had in a long time. When you taste moments like that, it has a way of shedding light on how you’re feeling the rest of the time. Somewhere along the line here it became less about ‘fixing’ my anxiety or other things in my life and more about thawing out from a kind of numbness that had become a part of my life without me even realising it.
In yoga classes I was reminded of the importance of deep breathing that goes right into your belly, that I needed to relax my stomach muscles to let that happen. I stretched out muscles that I’d been holding in unconscious ways for years, I felt into and found strength in my body I never knew I had. And without any kind of forcing the issue, it’s like space started to open up around emotions I’d been at best desperately trying to ‘manage’ and understand and at worst, repressing. This helped me get perspective around them and helped them lose some of their negative charge. I had no idea that doing something physical like yoga could have that kind of impact.
In retrospect I think a lot of it was about learning self-compassion and letting go of resistance to my reality. Both things which, incidentally, can help a lot with anxiety.
I think yoga (real yoga, not the kind where it’s all sexy abs and nailing fancy balances) is different to other forms of exercise because you’re encouraged to bring your whole self to class. To show up with whatever you have to bring that day – a sore knee, tight shoulders, anger, hurt, sadness. And to accept and work with that. And somehow the focus on breath becomes a kind of glue that helps you integrate your body and emotions better so you feel less compartmentalised, more whole. It’s clever like that." - Fiona, Sydney
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