Out of all the kinds of yoga that I’ve practiced, Yin is my favorite. It’s a deep restorative practice in which the connective tissues of the body are stretched in poses held for about 5-15 minutes. Holding the poses can be hard to maintain- while they shouldn’t hurt they should be ache-y and uncomfortable, so the challenge is finding a level of comfort and relaxation despite the physical discomfort you are feeling.
A tip my instructor gave the class one day was to breath into the area that was experiencing discomfort, where the stretch was deepest. So for example, if you’re feeling it intensely in your lower back, breathe and focus your attention on that spot. Eventually (I experienced) by focusing on the area of discomfort, it seemed to become less intense, and a deeper state of relaxation and calm was then reached.
I began applying this logic to uncomfortable situations that I was presented with in my day to day life. As somebody with a history of anxiety and panic disorders, I’m always looking for new methods of stress prevention.
This one works beautifully.
It’s very simple; if there are certain things going on in your mind that are making you uncomfortable, or you are currently in an uncomfortable situation (in the presence of a fight, in traffic) clear your mind of everything but the thing causing you the most discomfort. Then, take however many deep, focused breaths in and out as you need to, while visualizing just that one thing, until you feel it’s effects decrease into something manageable.
When using this technique for asanas in Yin yoga, you become more comfortable not because you changed your pose to make it more manageable, but because you’ve cultivated a sense of calm directed in that area, the very spot that was causing you anxiety just moments before. Try it outside of class, and I promise it will help you find comfort and calm in moments of panic and worry.