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Somatic Yoga for Anxiety Relief

Anxiety is a natural response, a necessary part of our survival. When anxiety arises, it’s your nervous system signaling that something in your environment feels unsafe. This can manifest as physical symptoms like a quickened heart rate, shallow breathing, muscle tension, racing thoughts, dry mouth, and more. These bodily responses are designed to grab your attention, signaling that something needs addressing.

Throughout the day, the fight-or-flight response can be triggered in situations where you are safe. Why? Because the brain is constantly scanning your environment for any sign of danger. As your senses pick up on sounds, sights, smells, internal sensations, and more, your brain is categorizing these as either “safe” or “unsafe.” If unsafe, stress hormones are released, triggering the fight-or-flight response. Overhearing an argument between your colleague and your boss could trigger your internal alarm. The sight of a dog could trigger your alarm. Feeling pain or an uncomfortable sensation in your body could trigger your alarm.

Anxiety can become a chronic response when we feel persistently unsafe. While this is a natural protection mechanism, it can lead to chronic muscular tension, headaches, migraines, dizziness, muscular spasms, pain, restricted breathing, tight fascia, constant worries about the future, rumination, and more.

During anxious moments, it might feel like the last place you want to be is in your body. The urge to disconnect or distract yourself can be strong.

Somatic practices, like somatic yoga, encourage you to reconnect with your body. Somatic practices invite you to notice sensations, like anxiety, through a lens of compassionate curiosity. You are invited to notice how you feel without passing judgment. You have the opportunity to discover what feelings may be beneath the anxiety. Somatic practices invite you to sense where you feel the sensations in your body. This practice invites you to move in a way that feels like a kind gesture to your mind and body. You are invited to slow down the pace, so that way you can really get into your body, sensing all the micro-movements and any physiological changes as you explore. Somatic practices are typically low to the ground, which can help you experience feelings of connection.

This somatic yoga practice is designed to send love, nourishment and compassion to your nervous system. The movements, breathwork, yoga poses and self-massage are designed to help you slow down the pace, turn your attention inward, re-establish connection with yourself, and cultivate an inner sense of felt safety.

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