Anxiety, we all experience it!

Apr 17, 2018 | Blog


We all experience it. Yes, this is correct, according to psychotherapist and yoga teacher, Rolf Sovik. He reports, “There is a 100 percent incidence.”

So, if we ALL experience this pervasive emotional roller coaster ride daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, yearly, what are some tools to have in our tool chests that our general practitioners may not be prescribing? (** side note, listen to your body and your specific symptoms. If you need to see your doctor because of extreme challenges, please do so!!)


This is not just my #1 tool but, also the tool most often used in yoga and mindfulness programs that help people learn to relate to their anxiety in news ways and manage it with more ease over their lifetime.

Today, I will offer a few different tools that you can include in your daily lives. The more you practice, the more integrated these practices will become and then in those moments of angst and worry, you will be able to use this abundant resource that is always there for us (the breath) to help relieve and counter some of the inner symptoms that anxiety provokes.

#1: Relaxed Belly

Tool #1 is simple: Relax your belly.

Sitting or standing here right now, allow the muscles of your whole abdominal cavity to release, relax and let go. Create a “Budda belly.”

Many of us walk through life “sucking it in.” This coupled with the muscle tension that rises when we are living with constant worry and stress = breathing through the upper half of your torso (chest) rather than breathing primarily through the lower half (the belly). In order to reap the benefits of the the following breath practice, we first need to learn to allow the belly to soften completely. Throughout your day remember to allow your belly to relax as often as possible.

#2: Conscious Breathing 

From the book, Yoga as Medicine, by Timothy McCall:

“The breath is the one automatic function of the body that you can readily take over with conscious effort. And controlling the breath turns out to be the entry point to calming down an overactive stress response system.”

He continues, “Rapid, anxious breathing, serves to further activate the sympathetic nervous system, causing the release of stress hormones, increasing agitation. When you breathe quickly, you expel more carbon dioxide from the system, and this, too, tends to put you more on edge, thus contributing to the vicious cycle of agitation, rapid breathing, and more agitation. One of the major fruits of sustained yoga practice is spontaneous reduction in the breathing rate, even during periods where you are making no conscious effort to control the breath.”

Tool #2 is simple as well: take control of your breath for a few minutes a day.

Soften your belly (tool #1)
Breath in and out of your nose with ease.
As you inhale feel your naval rise from the breath slowly entering this space of the abdominal cavity (if this is hard to feel, place your hands on your belly)
As you exhale notice the abdomen relax and “deflate.”
Consciously slow the breath down to a comfortable slow pace that works for you. Try counting to 5 or 6 while you inhale and then repeat that number as you exhale.

Simple and effective. Sometimes these tools might seem too simple, but I can tell you from my own experience that overtime, they do make a huge difference in managing symptoms, the day to day stresses and ebbs and flows that life naturally brings.

Last week, when some powerful anxiety sweep through my morning mind, I was able to remember these two simple tools and wow, what a difference! I cannot say that it made the worry fully vanish but it helped me arrive to my day not feeling completely taken over by my racing mind. These tools and others from the teachings of yoga and meditation continue to astonish me with their subtle yet effective power.

I hope this was helpful! If you are challenged with anxiety and are curious as to how yoga, movement or a personalized meditation practice can serve the healing and management of your symptoms, please connect with me. I would love the opportunity to explore this landscape with you. For first time private clients I am offering a 20% discount when you sign-up for a 4 session package, click here and let’s begin the conversation. Only 2 spots available.

Thank you for being here, for reading and being a part of this growing community. You each inspire me to continue on this path of unfolding, growth, evolution and love.

Also, exciting new class offering.. click here for more information!

With abundant gratitude and love,
Heather 💜