Autumn well wishes to you all. Tomorrow is World mental health day and the focus this year is on mental health in the workplace. The latest statistics are really quite sobering:
“At least 1 in 4 of us will experience some kind of mental health problem each year, with anxiety and depression being the most common.”
“It is estimated that some 70 million working days are lost each year due to mental health illness, costing businesses around £70-£100bn per annum.”
We can see from the figures that a large number of people suffer with a mental health issue each year, it’s fairly common and having worked with anxiety myself, I know firsthand how awful and difficult it can be to go about daily life, with the fear of having a panic attack lurking in your mind. One of the things I’ve found helpful in dealing with anxiety is pranayama, or yoga breathing techniques. This is because pranayama helps to light up the parasympathetic nervous system or the rest and digest response. When your brain perceives something real or imagined to be a threat, adrenaline gets released by the adrenal glands stimulating the sypathetic nervous system response which means the message that your nerves are getting are to fight, flight or freeze, i.e anxious feelings, racing heart and lots of thoughts. When we calm the nervous system we stem or reduce the flow of adrenaline, therefore stopping the sypathetic nervous system from lighting up which means anxiety reduces. The nervous system is like a seasaw, when one end lights up, the other end goes down. To calm the nervous system I’ve found that the breath ratio of 1:2 is most helpful. The 1:2 breath ratio means that you count your breath as you inhale and you make your exhale twice the length. If this feels too difficult in the beginning, particularly if you’re feeling very anxious or panicky, then start with 1:1 ratio, the inhale and exhale being the same length. Are you sitting comfortably? Here’s the technique:
Start to inhale through your nose for a count of 4 counts, at the end of the inhale pause for 1 count to equalize the breath, then exhale slowly through the nose for a count of 8. At the end of the exhale pause for a count of 1 before continuing with the next breath cycle. You can continue with the technique for a few minutes or until you feel that your anxiety spike has passed. For best results I recommend practicing this technique daily. If it’s too difficult to breathe in for 4 out for 8, change it to in for 3 and out for 6 or in for 2 and out for 4. Make the breath count work for you so that it feels relaxing and inside of your comfort zone. It shouldn’t feel like there’s any strain or force.
For this or any other private or one-to-one yoga lessons in Muswell Hill and the surrounding areas please contact Claire at email@example.com
Statistics at the beginning of the article from Francessca Lopez – Associate Kingsley Napley.
New Beginners Hatha flow yoga class commences Saturday June 6th 2015 (weather permitting).
I have a new offering that I’m just too excited to keep to myself any longer, there’s a new yoga class I’m starting up in the park amongst the trees and nature woop woop! Saturday mornings 10am- 11am at Ropemaker fields in Limehouse. We seem to spend so much time cooped up inside these days, even for our yoga practice so I’ve decided to take this one out in the fresh air, amongst the sounds of the birds, the energy of the trees and under the big blue spacious sky. It really is lovely to practice yoga outside when the weather’s warm enough. You can expect to feel lighter, calmer, energised and recharged after this practice so I do hope you can make it. The first class is free and we will be starting from the beginning so it’s open to complete beginners. As the weeks progress I expect we will build into a flow style class where everyone is welcome looking at practices that are built around the elements; earth, water, fire, air, space. What better place to practice these sequences than out in mother nature herself. Please bring your own mat and I really do hope you can make it along for this one! The class starts June 6th (weather permitting). First class free, £10 thereafter drop-in or 6 classes £50.