Are We All Suffering from Anxiety?

We were born with an anxiety gene. Anxiety is evolution’s gift to and it’s curse on our species. Anxiety protected our long ago ancestors from wild beasts and marauding tribes. Our species has been ever on the lookout, hyper-vigilant, wary of attack. Those who were careless or a little too laid back in the face of a grizzly or an invader didn’t survive.

Anxiety is nothing new. What’s new is that we are more alone with it. Gone is the village square where are grandparent’s gathered. Even the dining room table where our families gathered to tell the stories of their days at the office, or on the farm or in school is fading from view. When I grew up, my family gathered around the television, as though it were a hearth, to watch the Beatles on the “Ed Sullivan Show,” or Walter Cronkite deliver the news of the day, or re-runs of “I Love Lucy.” Now we each have our own device to watch the programs of our choice. Our families are spread out, dislocated, divorced. The village no longer raises the child. We are hooked in, wired, with hundreds of Facebook friends, but with no one to call when we’re feeling lousy.

So yes, we all experience anxiety. But we don’t all suffer with it. What are the signs that you may need to take action to address your angst?

There are over 100 symptoms of anxiety, and they show up differently for each of us. Some of us will experience physiological symptoms such as back pain, skin rash, headache, shortness of breath. Some of us will feel it emotionally as fear. Our fears may be rational or irrational. What matters is that they constrict us and keep us from feeling our best. You can read about the many symptoms of anxiety in greater depth at the Anxiety Center, a website with a lot of good resources.

So whether you are feeling anxiety in ways that make you suffer or you just feel wound-up, yoga practice can calm your aroused state. Whether you practice at home with a DVD or CD, attend a weekly yoga class or a weekend workshop, yoga can connect you to that quiet mind, “the still point in the turning world,” as T.S. Eliot described it, beneath the chaos of your daily life. Going to a class can connect you to like-hearted others, reducing feelings of isolation, depression and anxiety. In Sanskrit, we call it sangha or kula, and it means community. If you’re looking for a workshop to reconnect with your own true Self beneath your anxious thoughts and to connect authentically with others visit our Events Calendar.

If you would like to find a LifeForce Yoga Practitioner in your area who offers workshops and classes on yoga for mood cd-yoga-nidra-covermanagement or a psychotherapist who integrates LifeForce Yoga-based practices into talk therapy, you can find one here.

Studies have shown that Yoga Nidra, a lying down yoga meditation, significantly reduces anxiety. To listen to a sample of the LifeForce Yoga Nidra for Managing Mood CD (downloadable) pleaseclick here.

About the Author

Amy Weintraub

Amy Weintraub E-RYT 500, MFA, YACEP, C-IAYT, founded the LifeForce Yoga® Healing Institute, which trains yoga and health professionals internationally, and is the author of Yoga for Depression and Yoga Skills for Therapists. The LifeForce Yoga protocol is used by health care providers worldwide. She is involved in ongoing research on the effects of yoga on mood.

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What People Say

“I have gained an incredible opening and clearing of old obstructions. I hope to return to my life and fill this opening with things I love to do and that give me joy!” — Lisa Shine, administrative assistant, Ballston Lake, NY
“Giving my clients a strategy and permission to quiet their minds and rebalance the sympathetic nervous system has been very beneficial to them and in our work together.” — Sue Dilsworth, PhD, RYT 200, LFYP, Allendale, MI
“This workshop helped me rededicate my energies and begin to work through some of the blocks I’ve felt creatively.” — Steve Mark, college professor, New Haven, CT
“Words do not do justice to all that I learned. This workshop changed my life!” — Jen Nolan, Teacher, Cortland, NY
“This workshop has changed so much — my self-image and my life. My own heart’s desire is 100% clear. I gained tools to help myself and others to live life fully.” — Marcia Siegel, Yoga teacher, therapist, Carlsbad, CA.
I absolutely love this stuff! I have been using it with my clients and I am just finding it to be so incredibly helpful. There seriously something for everything. Although I am not as skilled as I hope to be someday, even at my level of training I’m finding that I am beginning to figure out what to do. It just blows my mind! - Christine Brudnicki, MS, LPC
“My patients can now have the same effects as many medications without having to actually take medication!” — Deborah Lubetkin, PSY.D, LFYP, West Caldwell, NJ
“I have found the LFYP training to be incredibly useful in giving people specific tools to use in maintaining physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual balance, and further opening their intuitive abilities.” — Nancy Windheart, RYT-200, LFYP, Reiki Master, Animal communication teacher, Prescott, AZ
“I have been reminded that I am not on this path alone, that others are sharing the journey that sometimes seems so difficult. I have also been reminded of the importance of daily practice and I will do that. The whole program has been an incredible experience for me. Thank you!” — Lorraine Plauth, retired teacher, Voorheesville, NY
“I feel profoundly transformed, both physically and emotionally. The connection between mind, body and spirit was clearly evident to me, but revealed to me through this workshop as an integrally vital link to overall health.” — Nadine Richardson, program manager at rehab agency, Monroe, CT
“I began a fantasy during the meditation exercise... almost as if I’d been there. It’s now an on-going work of fiction.” — Serian Strauss, Tanzania
“Yoga Skills for Therapists is the ideal resource for those who want to bring yoga practices into psychotherapy or healthcare. Weintraub, a leader in the field of yoga therapy, offers evidence-based, easy-to-introduce strategies for managing anxiety, improving mood, and relieving suffering. Helpful clinical insights and case examples emphasize safety, trust, and skillful adaptation to the individual, making it easy to apply the wisdom of yoga effectively in the therapeutic context.” — Kelly McGonigal, PhD, author, Yoga for Pain Relief, Editor-in-Chief, International Journal of Yoga Therapy
“I utilize the LFY techniques in both a class room setting and one-on-one environment. The skills have infused my teachings with compassion, mindfulness, and awareness.” — Kat Larsen, CYT, LFYP
“I have found the pranayama (breathing practices) especially easy to introduce in a clinical setting. Some people have benefited quickly in unexpected and transformative ways.” — Liz Brenner, LICSW, LFYP, Watertown, MA
“My personal practice will change, as well as my yoga classes. I have a better understanding of yoga!” — Andrea Gattuso, RYT, Yoga Teacher, Hackettstown, N.J.
“I learned lots of ways to reduce the anxiety and depression of my patients and myself.” – Aviva Sinvany-Nubel, PhD, APN, CNSC, RN, psychotherapist, Bridgewater, N.J.
“My life is already changed! I will use the tools I learned in my own practice and in my work. I feel safe and seen.” — Susan Andrea Weiner, MA, teacher/expressive arts facilitator, El Cerrito, CA.
“I have gained a softer heart, more receptive mind, and tools to enrich both personal and professional aspects of my life.” – Regina Trailweaver, LICSW, clinical social worker, Hancock, VT.
“I gained tools for working with my own depression and with my clients’ depressions.” — Robert Sgona, LCSW, RYT, psychotherapist, Yoga teacher, Camden, ME.
“I integrate strategies like mantra tones and pranayama, but above all I invite myself and those I teach to cultivate svadhyaya, to practice self-observation without judgment.” — Barbara Sherman, RYT 200, LFYP, Tucson, AZ
“A client who returned said, "When I came before, you helped me understand and get where I wanted to go. Now you show me yoga practices I use to help myself understand and get where I want to go.” — Sherry Rubin, LCSW, BCD, LFYP, Downingtown, PA
“This program changed my life in a significant way. It helped me connect with the spirit which is something you can’t get from psychotherapy and medication.” – G. W., artist, Pittsburgh, PA
“I gained perspective of who I am in the world and this will change my life significantly.” — Mary Ford, artist, Southport, CT
“I came hoping to learn to move past some of the obstacles blocking my creativity. Over the course of this weekend, I feel I’ve gained a certain measure of faith in myself and in my ability to change. I also had some realizations that I believe will be very helpful to me. I feel encouraged. Both the content and presentation of this program were so well-thought out that I can’t think of any way to improve it.” — Andrea Gollin, writer & editor, Miami, FL
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