How to Change Anxious & Depressed Moods
“Anyone can breathe. Therefore, anyone can do Yoga.” – ~ Desikachar, a father of Western yoga
Much of what we do is unconscious. Example, when you brush your teeth, do you feel what you’re doing. Each moment, our brains are creating our reality.
Every time we move, breathe, eat, or act in a particular way, those neural connections in the brain and nervous system that support that particular action are strengthened. Many of us move through much of our lives on automatic pilot – not thinking much about how or why we’re performing certain actions. For the most part, this can be a good thing. We learn how to drive, and can safely get from A to B without using a lot of energy or brainpower.
Where this automatic pilot may be limiting us, however, is when we want to change course. We may feel stuck in a job or a relationship that doesn’t feel good or right, or we may be suffering persistent pain or anxiety or depression. But, we haven’t got the practice we need to be able to “unstick” ourselves. Our brains are wired in a certain way, and it takes a lot of energy to rewire them.
What to do? Where do you start when you know you need a change, but you’re not sure how to get there? Yoga offers tremendous possibilities for changing course.
There are three simple keys to a yoga practice:
The ancient yogis said that breath carries prana, or “life force energy.” The Chinese call this energy “chi” and the Japanese call it “ki.” The Hawaiians call it “Mana”
Yoga is designed to liberate our energies, enabling us to change course more easily.
Small signs offer big clues. Breath, Posture, Eyes & Thoughts
- Breath- Short or Long
- Posture- Open or Closed
- Eyes- Up or Down
- Thought- Clear or Critical
“We get good at what we practise.”
The brain wires all of our thoughts, feelings, sensations and actions into the nervous system.
To change course, we may first need to deeply understand this truth. Not just in our heads, but in our bodies as well.
- Breath- Short
- Posture- Closed hands
- Eyes- Rapid Movement
- Thoughts- Critical & Uncertain
How to change this?
“The mind believes the body. – The body believes the mind.”
Remember, the mind believes the body. The breath is the link between mind and body. Change the breath, and you change the mind.
- IN- Take a deep breath in. Let it out slowly. When you breathe in, you engage the sympathetic nervous system – the “fight or flight” response.
- OUT- When you breathe out, you disengage the “fight or flight,” and engage the parasympathetic nervous system – the “rest, digest and heal” response.
- REST- Simply by lengthening the exhale calmly, we begin to convince the mind that all is well, and we are safe.
- Breath- Shallow
- Posture- Sunken chest
- Eyes- Downcast eyes
- Thoughts- Hopeless & Critical
How to change this?
“The mind believes the body, and the body believes the mind.”
- lift your eyes
- open your arms
- take a deep breath in
- Breathe in slowly and smoothly
- Notice self-limiting thoughts, are they true
PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE
These simple practices can slowly begin to change the brain and nervous system and give you the skills you need to move away from a habitual practice of whatever is keeping you stuck on the same course.
Even the most challenging realities, such as emotional or physical pain, can be changed.
It takes practice and perseverance to change your mood, and noticing your journey breath by breath. It is a subtle yet immensely powerful transformative practice, and if you persevere, it will take you where you want to go.
“When we are mindful to our actions we are not prisoners to our moods.”
Original Article at – https://www.yogaspiritus.com/blog/breath-by-breath
Adapted by – G Ross Clark – https://www.themindfulcoach.com/