AnandaYoga

Yoga progress and Therapy

7 posts in this topic

So, I feel a little weird posting about this on a public forum but I would love to hear what fellow Yogis think about this issue.  My flexibility & strength have progressed greatly in the last week and a half or so in a very noticeable way to me.  This was SO exciting for me! However, I went to a therapy appointment last week about some panic attacks and depression and OCD symptoms and it turns out I have PTSD. My last few days of practice have SUCKED. I feel so ridiculous because this is the last thing I should be worrying about but yoga is such a huge part of my life and really can be a crucial component to managing my PTSD symptoms so it's a huge bummer.  

 

Do y'all think that the two are related? I would love to hear about others' experiences around dealing with emotions and how it has affected their practice.  Thank you!!

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I don't really understand where you are coming from, therapy has harmed your practice? How long have you been doing yoga?

Generally relaxing is a good idea, everything has ups and downs.

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Hey. Emotions and yoga for me go hand in hand but I guess the trick would be not to dwell on it? I know it's easier said than done but let those thoughts and feelings come and go. Don't acknowledge them, especially during your practice. Maybe an intention/mantra would be good here?

 

Like I know when I feel super down, a choppy quick vinyasa can increase the mood and then followed by a nice long restorative is beautiful. There's a class I go to on a Friday night that is a complete trip. It's flow and restore, a 90 minute class where you flow for 40 and then restore for 50. The flow isn't super strong, the practice meets you where you are at that time so it's different every time. No stress/strain when feeling down or having an anxiety flare or something. And then the restore is 3 or 4 poses of complete relaxation. Maybe you should try this?

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In college I was diagnosed with PTSD after a series of traumatic, violent, unexpected deaths in the family. Everything made me want to jump out of my skin. My panic attacks were so debilitating I had to see my therapist twice a day and I swear they had me on a suicide watch because the nurses would call and check in on me daily. Yoga, ironically, was the only place where I felt safe (you can read more about that here). Any time we are feeling anxious, we're not in the present moment. Anxiousness means we are thinking about something that hasn't happened yet and might not happen at all. Yoga is tricky because it really forces you to hold up a mirror and see what's going on in your life and in your mind. That can be really scary. But if you can set aside the what if's and just say to yourself 'all i'm doing right now is breathing' (or whatever other mantra you choose), you might be able to move through the emotions and have an enjoyable, rejuvenating practice. Meditation was huge for me, so if you're not incorporating that into your practice, that may be helpful too. Keep us posted!

brenskip55, robert and yogafire like this

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I can imagine that would be extremely difficult finding out a diagnosis and then trying to engage in acceptance. Yoga has been a huge source of mental health support for me. Sometimes, I have had trouble practicing because of my issues as well. What Candace said really helps. Sometimes, yoga can also bring emotions to the surface that you've been hiding, and in that case it might be hard to continue. That's when you have to recognize what you're feeling, accept it, and move on as best you can! Chin up! It will get better! And best of luck in your recovery!

yogafire likes this

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On 11/27/2015, 4:03:52, AnandaYoga said:

Do y'all think that the two are related? I would love to hear about others' experiences around dealing with emotions and how it has affected their practice.  Thank you!!

I read your comment and I hope you take this the way it was intended. There was an old quote, I don't remember who it was from. And it is meant to be light (light but caring), so we don't fuss about ourselves too much. The quote was "If you have never laughed or cried doing yoga what are you waiting for" The idea was not too worry about it too much and just do your yoga. The quote came from a time when yoga was done in a more traditional setting. Hoping you find some relief.

Addition edit: I use a count in my practice, 5 breaths for me. I find when I am counting the breath with the simple act of counting I can't think about anything else, good or bad.

 

brenskip55 likes this

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Hi there, don't feel weird posting here.  I think there's already been great advice on how to move through the emotions that may come up.  But I would sort out (during therapy, no rush to do it all at once), what kind of circumstances or feelings can be triggers, and to see if any of those in your yoga practice could be related.  

For instance (this is a made up example, so it may seem superficial), if one suffered from not meeting  parents' expectations to do well in school and ended up getting kicked out, then a PTSD response would be extreme fear of failure or trying anything that has "expectations".  So, in this context, I can see in yoga practice, viewing an asana / pose that is "supposed" to look a certain way can be triggering by trying to meet that expectation.  Instead, yoga practice can be a sanctuary from the outside world, and, once we manage our internal expectations on how we think yoga should be and just let it be instead (that sounds cheesy), then yoga can be a source of healing instead of a trigger source.

Now if there aren't any triggers, perhaps it just feels extremely uncomfortable because you are feeling more vulnerable.  For me, yoga helped me realize how to build more healthy coping mechanisms.  So, I wasn't necessarily overwhelmed by emotions, but it definitely felt uncomfortable for me at time, usually in the sense that I couldn't focus, concentrate or would "feel bored".  I suffered a childhood trauma and developed a coping mechanism to always please others and always hiding how I truly felt inside.  When I started yoga, it was the first time it was something just for me, something internal and subtle that only I could feel.  I learned that it didn't need to be for others.

Please let us know how it's going. If you did stop, don't berate yourself - you can always try to reacquaint yourself with a short 15 min video instead of trying to do a full length session (this is how recently got out of a month-long rut - it's ok to take breaks!).

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