A few years ago I worked at a very fast-paced and stressful job and I continually felt that I was being scrutinized by my supervisers. I began to have panic attacks occasionally and then at least once a day, every day. (These were characterized by shallow, short, difficult breathing and racing and fearful thoughts - general "fight or flight" symptoms.) I quit the job and still the panic attacks persisted. I tried many different things to calm down and nothing helped until in a moment of inspiration I tried using a breathing technique I had learned in yoga class called "ujjayi pranayama". As I sat still and breathed in this way, I felt my anxiety level go down and down until I felt.....calm. After that, I made a point of breathing that way for a few minutes each day, either sitting, lying down, or doing slow, gentle yoga poses and stretches, and whenever I felt my anxiety level rising, I would do my best to take a few minutes alone to breathe that way again.
More than any other thing, this is what healed me. Later, I became a yoga teacher myself, and whenever a student comes in and they are worried, or speaking rapidly, or seem generally anxious, I always teach them this breathing technique. We sit quietly and do gentle movement. By the end of class, they are invariably calmer and more relaxed than when they arrived.
A few years ago I worked at a very fast-paced and stressful job and I continually felt that I was being scrutinized by my supervisers. I began to have panic attacks occasionally and then at least once...... (more)
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