My yoga journey started because of one simple reason: I wanted to calm my anxious mind. It turns out that is the entire reason yoga was created.
The Yoga Sutras by Patanjali are the preeminent scriptures on yoga. Patanjali wrote about the very reason yoga was created and why it is practice. The Sutras were composed in Sanskrit so each translation is different from the next. The first Sutra states something to the effect of “Now begins the practice of Yoga” and the second Sutra reads “The restraint of the modifications of the mind-stuff is Yoga”.
Right from jump, Patanjali makes two bold statements. The first is that every moment is an opportunity to begin yoga. NOW begins the practice of yoga. Why now? Because now is the only moment that actually exists. The past is history and the future is a mystery. Right now is the most important moment in your life.
The second statement made by Patanjali is what drew me to yoga in the first place, namely that the point of practicing yoga is to restrain the chatter of the mind. I learned from a wonderful Vipassana Meditation teacher, Steve Haddad, that the chatter of the mind is biological and evolutionary. The mind is constantly on red alert to keep our species safe from predators. But in our advanced society, it is not necessary to keep the mind’s pedal to the metal at all times.
In fact, living under that much stress stimulates the sympathetic nervous system. The sympathetic nervous system is the part of the autonomic nervous system that regulates the Fight or Flight response. When we live under chronic stress, we also perpetually stimulate the Fight or Flight response, which triggers anxiety and panic attacks.
Most people would not know it by looking at me today, but I was once crippled by both anxiety and panic attacks. Yoga calmed my “mind-stuff”, or the endless chatter. Now I can successfully claim that my name is Amber Warren, and I am a recovering Chatter Addict.
There are dozens upon dozens of reasons to start a yoga practice. My friends, if for no other reason, I encourage you to consider yoga to help reduce the anxiety that I am quite certain plagues you as well. Remember, anxiety is natural, but choosing to live with it is optional. Like the Buddha said “Pain is inevitable; Suffering is optional”.
Please feel free to ask me anything and everything about how a yoga practice can help you. And remember that yoga is not just about the physical practice. Yoga is a spirituality and a way of life that will help you help yourself. I am here to help!