Restorative Yoga & Yoga Nidra for Anxiety and Depression

If I’m honest, I’m not your typical “yoga girl.” I have tried yoga in the past. Repeating the sun salutations gives me anxiety. I get bored doing the videos. I have gone to a yoga class, which was way too difficult for me (my fault), and I haven’t been back since. When I started reaching out to Facebook friends to see what helped them with anxiety and/or depression, a lot of them mentioned doing yoga. When I talked to a life coach for a few months, she mentioned doing yoga. My therapist recommended yoga. I just never had the strong inclination to try it again. Don’t get me wrong; yoga has an incredible aroma surrounding it. It seems calming and peaceful and challenging, something I strive for and I should be attracted to. I recently decided to try new things and see if I can add anything to my anxiety and depression toolbox. I decided to start with yoga and start off slow. I attended a Restorative Yoga and Yoga Nidra Workshop.

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The description for this event mentioned how both of these practices are great for anxiety and depression. I decided to give it a shot. It was supposed to be simple and easy, so I thought I could handle it. Honestly, the hardest part was walking into the yoga center by myself. I felt awkward and uncomfortable as if I didn’t belong. Who did I think I was attending a yoga class? Do I really think I am cool enough or good enough to do yoga? You know you are going to screw this up, right? All those thoughts were flowing through my head as I was walking in. I was hoping to get a spot in the back, so no one could see me messing up, but, of course, everyone else must have gotten there super early, and there were only spots in the front. So I laid down the yoga mat that I borrowed from a friend. It seemed like everyone else knew what they were doing when I was lost. I had no idea what I needed. I tried to just infer by what other people had but gained the courage actually to ask someone. So I uncomfortably gathered all the gear I needed and sat down.

Around ten minutes later, the class began. The first section was Restorative Yoga. I obviously don’t know the technical terms to describe this type of practice, but to me it was simple. For me, it was about finding peace and connecting the body and the mind. Over the first hour or so, there was only a few positions and all simple. I didn’t feel like I couldn’t do any of the poses. Each one felt comfortable and allowed me to relax. Granted, I clenched my toes and still bounced my leg during the positions, but I still felt like I benefitted from this piece of the class. I felt comfortable and capable. Something I never felt in yoga before.

The second half, Yoga Nidra, was guided meditation. Okay, let me preface this saying that I’m not great at meditation. I have tried apps and doing it on my own, never really having it work. On the contrary, the times I tried guided meditation, it has been mostly successful. This time, it was a little bit different, in a good way I swear. When we were going through the body parts and discussing energy, I felt it. I felt the energy where I was supposed to feel it. This may sound strange to some, but I never was able to feel it before. People talk about auras and energy, but I never connected to it until last night.

After the workshop, I felt lighter. My anxiety and depression were lower than before, and I felt at ease. It was a strange feeling, but I went with it. I haven’t been sleeping well for the past couple weeks, and that did not change last night, unfortunately. I would try this again. I am even contemplating in trying a different yoga class. What I learned from this, is you have to find what works for you. There are many various types of yoga practices, and not every one of those will be right for you, and that is okay, just find what does feel good for you. Not what works for others. Be willing to try things that make you uncomfortable because it could end up helping and make it all worth it.

Moving forward.

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