You can feel your heart racing and your breathing accelerates. Your lungs constrict and your chest tightens. Your pulse pounds incessantly as anxiety sets in. It can be hard to keep afloat in a metaphorical way. For many people coping with anxiety, mindfulness is an integral part of a successful self-care plan to manage their condition. There are a lot of different ways to exercise mindfulness, and SUP yoga can be used as one of them. It is highly effective for a number of reasons.
- Shifting conditions. Focusing on the way the water is moving and the wind is blowing keeps you in the here and now. There is no time to look back and feel regret about the past you can’t change or to jump ahead and worry about the future you can’t control. It’s just you, the board, the water and the moment. The effort to adjust to conditions keeps you tuned in, mindful and truly present.
- Breathing. A lot of energy in yoga is spent focusing on breathing. You inhale. You exhale. It’s slow, deliberate and according to instructions. In a state of panic, it can be really hard to breathe. In the meditation, that’s your only job. When thoughts start to race, we are encouraged to say “Not right now, it’s time for me to breathe.” It’s about noticing the thoughts, but dismissing them. Breathing helps you not only stay in the moment, but short circuit the state of panic by slowing everything down. In concentrating on the breath, you aren’t just staying in the moment, you are defending it vigorously.
- Meditation. Time spent in shavasana at the end of the session is a time of peace and stillness. So much of what creates a barrier to mindfulness is the tendency for life to be so rushed in a torrent of “busy”. It’s difficult to stay in the moment if you scarcely have the opportunity to experience it before the next is ushered in. Shavasana lets you not only experience the moment, but also savour it. You can explore the breadth and depth of present.
Anxiety can make it hard to stay afloat metaphorically, but SUP Yoga can help. The act of trying to remain afloat in a literal sense can help in your quest to mindfulness. Through shifting conditions, breathing and meditation, there is an enhanced ability to be truly present. Check out our schedule and see if SUP yoga can help you be more mindful and complement your self-care plan for anxiety.