How Yoga Taught Me To Exhale The Bad and Inhale the Good in Life

If you’re expecting to tell a perpetually anxious person to throw something into their daily habits, you likely will be confronted with a very uncomfortable situation. I’m saying that based on my experience. As someone who suffers from anxiety, my days are planned from sunrise to sunset, weeks in advance, with little flexibility and perhaps overlooking self-care. 

Let’s be honest with ourselves, though: the last few years have been far from easy for many. To have the feeling of impending doom is more natural than not to have it. In order to cope with these feelings, getting my blood flowing was one of the best feelings at the peak of the pandemic. However, you can only take so many walks around your childhood town without feeling like you’re living a life that feels Truman Show-esq. 

I downloaded a meditation app out of sheer curiosity. I needed something to dull my thoughts, but also to center myself since I knew this was all a temporary feeling. I’ll be honest: at first, it didn’t cut it for me. 

“Breath in. Breath out.” With no ambient noise in the back, this was hard for someone like me. I very much get trapped in my thoughts, and to have moments of silence would cause more panic. However, I didn’t give up, because to grow, you need to get comfortable; you need to get used to being uncomfortable. 

I started utilizing my local Y as they had group yoga classes in a remote format. All I had to do was bring the yoga mat out of my bedroom and brush my hair to put it in a messy bun. I knew there were other participants like me, anxious and eager to get started on their journey. Alas, the group setting made all the difference. Knowing the purpose of why we were all in that virtual class together was something we discussed at the end. No matter how your mental health makes you feel, that is accurate. When you’re focused on the patterns of your breath and your body in such an intimate matter, it makes it that much harder to get distracted during your session. When your limbs are being stretched to their limits, you never believed you could.

Once you’re in your own moment, your focus is locked. No intrusive thoughts; no thinking that someone is silently judging you during your group session. All you end up focusing on is the awareness of the future and how you feel in the moment of such powerful energy. After a while, your body will adapt to this beautiful journey. No journey is ever linear, especially when it’s the journey of your mental well-being.

The next time you’re feeling like you’re missing a piece of your life, take my advice. Being mindful is one of the most essential parts of living, and without the practice of mindfulness in your life, you may end up like me and face quite a few dead ends until you find your path. Yoga is a portal to a healthy place, a safe place, and a beautiful place. Try it; trust me.

About the author

Erin Whitten