Shining A Light On Anxiety

Shining A Light On Anxiety

Nothing ruins a day quite like anxiety. The feeling of certain danger, the sympathetic response: fight or flight or freeze. We all know it — and when we feel it, we want nothing more than to escape it! There is countless advice on how to cope with anxiety, some more effective than others. Many of them are yogic techniques. Pranayam, or conscious breathing, can be the difference between hyperventilating to faint or calming down and relaxing. Certain postures, mantras or movements may also be very helpful in a crisis. But the most powerful vanquisher of anxiety might not be a technique for coping at all.

Ayurveda and Sat Nam Rasayan teach us that there is a particular balance and flow to the universe around us. What we perceive as discomfort manifests when there is an imbalance or resistance to that flow. Resisting the natural flow of energy in the universe is precisely what we are doing when we try to escape the feeling of anxiety. The intense fear that drives us to just find a way through it and pray we survive. Of course we want to get rid of it! So here’s a suggestion for you to try the next time you are feeling anxious.

First of all, let’s review that this adrenaline-based fight or flight response serves a real purpose. Sometimes there really is a tiger. So if you’re feeling anxious, take a second to check in with yourself and ask “Am I in immediate danger?” If you are, use that adrenaline to get to safety! If not, then try sitting with your anxiety for a minute. What will actually happen to you if you stop resisting the horrible feeling you are feeling? Anxiety is irrational by nature. You may have some answers to that question which are, in retrospect, kind of silly. That’s okay, though. Just sit with it a little longer.. You’ve already established that you are not in immediate danger so let yourself be uncomfortable for a little while and see what actually happens.

By allowing the universe, your energy and the anxiety to flow naturally, you are no longer resisting it. That’s when healing occurs. That is exciting! Excitement and anxiety are two sides of the same coin. At this point, you may start to look forward to your next anxiety attack as a great opportunity to practice conscious living and to learn about yourself. Unfortunately for you, this exact enthusiasm is what will prevent you from having one!

Sunder Singh

Sunder Singh is KRI certified Kundalini Yoga teacher and has taught in New York City as well as Salt Lake City.  He was trained as EMT and has worked in technology with 3HO and affiliated companies.  He also contributes to 3 Nadis practical tips for the real world yogi.