For a long time, it felt like anxiety was there to stay. Full-blown panic attacks happened about 3-4 times that first year and I was anxious most of the time. I was in constant fear of the next attack.
The only thing I knew to do was PRAY. At the time, I didn’t know anybody else that had experienced these bizarre attacks so I couldn’t get advice from friends. But prayer got me through one anxious moment at a time and eventually landed me at a store in front of one of those big bins piled full of clearance books that nobody else wanted. I tossed a couple books around and there she was… literally a whole book dedicated to using grounding and breathing techniques to control anxiety and prevent panic attacks! I knew it was a God thing and I was hopeful..… read it quickly cover to cover, took notes, and started practicing.
Then gradually over several months, I was able to start using the techniques effectively in real time... eventually, very slowly taking back control of my mind and my life. The book didn't once mention mediation or yoga (that I remember). It was strictly about very specific breathing techniques and grounding strategies to take control of your mind to stop the irrational thoughts and reactions that lead to panic attacks. It took years and lots of prayer and self-awareness & self-regulation work but I dug in and did the work and won.
Mental/emotional health and well-being is nothing to be taken for granted!
It can be snapped away from you in an instant.
So fast forward to 2013...
It was 14 years after reading that God-sent self-help book before I took my first power yoga class (at our local YMCA). I was immediately hooked on the challenging physical practice. But like most people new to yoga, it took some time to realize the bigger picture and how much of an impact yoga was having on my life beyond the flexibility and strength. Some of the same skills from the book that changed me in my 20's were resurfacing in my 30's through yoga. It was fascinating to make the realization that I had actually recovered from anxiety a decade earlier using many of the same techniques I was learning through yoga (but without the asana/pose components).
There I was in South Alabama, happily married to my obvious match and living a life even more fun and fulfilling that I imagined! I began practicing hot power yoga weekly and for several years I attended every workshop I could find, which led to becoming a yoga instructor and eventually a yoga business owner. I'm right where I'm supposed to be and it was worth every bit of the messy!!!!!!
The struggle and pain, the messy stuff makes you who you are, gives you character, and prepares you to live out your purpose.
Today, my anxiety issues are long gone and when they even start to resurface I'm armed with tools. If you struggle with anxiety you MUST dig in to yoga. Please reach out for support!! -Jamie