For as long as I can remember I have been what you may call a “worry wort”.
Although I remember worrying as a child, my habitual worrying didn’t seem to become constant until until High School. The pressures of growing up caused me to worry about friendships, having the right clothes, getting good grades, speaking in public and of course boys. I am sure there were many other things that I worried about but these were the ones that seemed to top my list. It was during this time of my life that I started experiencing anxiety, although at the time I had no idea there was a name for what I was I going through.
I remember whenever I had to do a presentation or speak in class how my heart would beat a mile a minute, my hands would shake and become clammy, my face would go bright red, and sometimes I felt so light headed that I think I may have left my body for a minute or two.
As I moved from High School to College my anxiety progressed to having panic attacks and I just accepted that this would be something that I would have to deal with for the rest of my life.
As the years have gone by my worry habits have changed. As an adult I worry about my family, my children, my health, the health of my family and friends, money, being a good friend, wife, daughter and of course being a good mother.
When my journey lead me to yoga a few years ago for physical reasons, the last thing on my mind was how yoga may help with my anxiety and panic attacks.
Within the first few months of my yoga practice my family and friends began to notice how much more calm and relaxed I had become.
I was a little harder on myself and although I began to notice certain changes, I seemed to be waiting for the worry wort to strike again!
I am happy to say that since my yoga journey began, I hardly worry anymore. It hasn’t disappeared completely but yoga has taught me to become aware of the “worry wort” in me and I now realize that I have the ability to choose what needs my attention to worry about.
That is the amazing part about yoga, it makes you aware! In yoga we become aware of our body, our poses, our breath, and our thoughts.
1. Lie on your back and support your body in anyway that allows you to feel comfortable. Maybe a pillow under your knees, a blanket or towel under your head and an eye pillow or facecloth over your eyes to allow yourself to connect inwards.
2. With your eyes closed, place your right hand on your heart and then place your left hand over top of your right, so that both hands are resting at the heart centre, the Heart Chakra.
3. Begin to breathe through your nose and allow the breath to soften, lengthen out and become deep.
4. Let your attention rest on your heart centre and imagine a green colour. As you continue to breathe imagine that the colour is getting brighter and creating warmth in heart. Allow your hands to feel that heat coming right out of your chest and warming up your hands.
5. Think of something that makes you happy and allow that feeling to rest in your body. Maybe even find something loving to say to yourself. Tell yourself how much you love yourself, your smile, your generous nature or anything that resonates with you.
6. Allow yourself to feel joy and love and acceptance for who you are.
7. Stay here for as long as you like.
So the next time you find yourself worrying try this meditation and allow yourself a few minutes of “worry free” time! As Bobby McFerrin said in his 1988 hit “Don’t Worry, Be Happy”.
Susan Di Ilio is a 500 RYT Yoga Alliance Certified Yoga Instructor. She has worked as a Correctional Officer and brings her love of working with people to her therapeutic yoga teachings. Susan teaches Gentle Yoga, Yoga for Fertility, Restorative Yoga and Deep Tension Therapeutic Yoga.