Yoga Therapy For Anxiety: Jane’s Story
Jane (not her real name) can’t make a decision. When she tries to park her car, it’s a blessing when there is only one spot to choose from. Jane is intelligent, has friends, and a family who love and support her. She has been to 2 psychotherapists for several years each. She is self-aware. And she describes her daily life as difficult because her anxiety wells up over every little choice she is confronted with.
After initially meeting with Jane, I thought yoga therapy could be useful in mitigating her anxiety. I decided to work with her on every level of the 5 koshas. Koshas are the five aspects of the Self. When in balance they are an ally. When unbalanced, they shield us from our true nature and cause suffering.
We developed practices for each of these five koshas and her needs. Specific asana (movement) for the body with the power of breath. This helped calm her down. For her, a decrease of anxiety by 25% is what she felt. This was getting somewhere—so far so good. With the benefits of breathing, we added a breathing practice for her nervous system and pranic body. She liked this and actually reported an easier time making a decision next time we met. Chanting and meditation practice followed. This took some time to establish and find the right chant for her conscious mind. One that reduced negative thinking took a few tries. Once we found that the meditation techniques for anxiety came easier, she began to really change. Her anxiety over decisions decreased dramatically. She said she was realizing that making the “wrong decision” wasn’t the “end of the world”. Jane had surrendered to the fact that she wasn’t in control of most things. This is the last of the 5 koshas: the peace that comes with surrender.
Does Jane walk around in a constant state of bliss? No, of course not. But her dramatic shift in the quality of life is inspirational. I wanted to share this story as an inspiration to all that suffer from anxiety. The elegant system of Yoga Therapy offers many of the tools needed to heal ourselves. If you suffer from anxiety and would like a referral to a Yoga Therapist, email us here.
May we all be free from suffering,