I have to admit that anxiety has been creeping in over the last few weeks for me. Anxiety is a strange animal, right? It has a way of sneaking in when you least expect it to, and its little growl starts small and can build to a rather unpleasant roar if we don’t take steps to tame the beast. When I started to feel that jittery sensation in my body and I realized it was time to tame my anxiety by stepping up my meditation (to twice a day), and paying a visit to The Yoga Healer.
But before I set off, I reminded myself to practice what I preach: Simple, rhythmic, controlled breathing is an instant anxiety-tamer. I’ve used this technique for years to get me through even the ickiest of situations. Here’s how you do it:
- Sit comfortably and relax your facial muscles.
- Begin to deepen and lengthen each inhale an exhale.
- Create a rhythm of inhaling for 3 beats and exhaling for 3 beats (you might chose a lower or higher number of beat – whatever feels easy and comfortable for you).
- Direct your breath into your heart center.
- Make sure the tone, sound and feel of the breath is smooth and even.
Tip: You can do this little breathing exercise anywhere, and at anytime: in traffic, in a doctor’s waiting room, at the office when your boss just just yelled at you etc). Remember that controlled breathing tricks your physiology into a relaxed state. This means your brain can fire up (your frontal lobes), and thus make wiser decisions.
You might have heard me mention my friend Christine Burke (aka The Yoga Healer) before. Christine owns a beautiful yoga studio just two miles from where I live. She teaches teachers, and had become a very dear friend. Christine’s style of teaching is prescriptive: she helps men and women with all kinds of emotional and physical issues, giving them particular poses and sequences for specific conditions. So, I trotted along to Liberation Yoga and asked Christine if she could prescribe a little sequence for anxiety.
I also have to add that my daughter, Lola, is now a junior in High School, which is arguably the most stressful year in in grade school. Her anxiety has been off-the-charts, and it it breaks my heart to see how anxiety can actually rob her not only of her peace of mind, but also her skills and talents. When we are anxious, our frontal lobes shut down, and we are thus unable to make wise decisions about anything (much less a practice SAT test!).
So, with my fluttering anxiety (have taken on waaaaay too much lately), and Lola’s chronic anxiety in mind, I sat in Christine’s gorgeous garden studio, and she taught me a short practice. This practice is sooooo easy, and so very effective. I felt a bit silly because I’ve been teaching yoga and meditation for 18 years, and should know better. But sometimes the healer forgets to self-heal, right? So, if like me, you’re in need of a bit of yoga healing, I highly recommend you get to know the inimitable Christine Burke. Watch the video we made here to learn the anxiety-taming practice, and if you want to practice with Christine in person, come to the Gorgeous For Good Wellness Event in LA June 9th- 10th. Not only will you learn the tools to tame your fear, anxiety, self-doubt etc. But you’ll also learn the wellness tools you need for beauty and disease prevention. I hope you can come.