Overcome Anxiety Clinic uses techniques that directly affect the nervous system. That people with anxiety have just become really skilled activating the sympathetic nervous system, which is where anxiety lives (flight/flight/freeze). I use modalities of healing; many of which are based on the Polyvagal nerve theory, some with roots in Yoga, others somatosensory, mindfulness, and behavioral science that along with education and awareness, help the person with anxiety become skilled at activating the parasympathetic response system which is where relaxation resides. We practice the techniques often; even when not experiencing anxiety. So that you literally retrain your system to effectively respond to life's stressors from the parasympathetic. Not all of the techniques work for everybody, but you find the ones that do, and you consistently use those...many of which you can practice in a place full of other people, without them ever knowing the difference which gives you quite a lot of power and confidence to move forward.
Yoga poses with modifications
Here is something I wrote over ten years ago. It was published in a Corpus Christi, Texas magazine, "SALSA". I wanted to share it because sometimes we all have to be reminded that we are Leaders!
How did this little girl from the projects come to be a thirty-one year old woman standing on a pole, thirty-five feet high with a surface the size of a paper plate? I’m not really sure, I just know that a couple of years ago if you asked anyone who knew me, they would have said, “No-way, not her.” When I was growing up my mother was always reminding me that I needed to be a lady. Also, that if I acted like a boy, no man would ever want me as a wife.
Once when I had been having a bad day my mother said, “Just find yourself a boyfriend and everything will be better.” After I had been married for several years, my grandmother confessed to me that she would pray that I would find a good husband. She explained how happy she was when she thought that I had finally found him.
Having been divorced for a while, one day I had an epiphany. Why didn’t anyone pray that I would get a good education or find a wonderful career? Women don’t have to follow. They can lead. I just hadn’t been told that I could. Some say that leaders are born not made. Well, I don’t believe that. We only know our true strength when we use it. Circumstances create leaders and the willingness to grow as a person into this leadership role is the first step. There is a saying that change becomes less frightening when the fear of staying the same becomes greater. This one simple saying has given me great strength over the last few years. There is a feeling I get in the middle of my chest that feels like I can no longer breathe unless I take action. Taking action is the key to becoming a leader. The action that a leader takes is not a reaction, but a proactive action. It forms to create; it does not form to respond.
Being a Leader does not mean that people follow you around in a thoughtless daze. Being a leader is making your dreams a reality. Being a leader encompasses giving direction and support to those around you. That is why I believe anyone can be a leader. Becoming a leader is like anything else one would train to become. You practice the steps and before you know it they are second nature. Walking the talk is one way of putting it. to develop to leader within yourself, practice these simple steps:
CREATE ENERGY!!! Project optimism and confidence. People are drawn to positive energy like moths to a flame. Simply having a smile on your face can create energy.
HELP OTHERS TO REACH THEIR GOALS. By helping others you gain respect and a base for cooperation. It is difficult enough to succeed when people are behind you; it is nearly impossible to succeed without support.
GIVE YOURSELF TIME TO LEAD. Planning is essential to leadership. Taking the time to try new ideas, develop goals and projected outcomes can ensure a positive result.
BE A GOOD COMMUNICATOR. Don’t forget communication is a two-way process. Communication is not as simple as most think; it requires sending clear messages and providing the listener with opportunities to process the information.
GET INVOLVED. BE APPROACHABLE. Remember, no one can lead from a distance. Hard Work always speaks for itself!
BE THE EYE OF THE HURRICANE. Focus on solutions, not blame. It is difficult to build while tearing down. When it is all said and done, the important factor is: was the task accomplished successfully?
DEMAND EXCELLENCE. By demanding the best of others and ourselves, we promote each other to Excellence. Believing in people gives them the inspiration to reach and surpass goals.
Sometimes the simple act of giving yourself permission to step outside the role you’ve been playing is all that it takes to find the leader within. When I finally told myself that it was okay to dream, that was the moment when my dreams began to come true. That is how I got myself on top of a thirty-five foot pole at the challenge course. Eight feet away is a trapeze that I am supposed to jump to and hold on. I visualize catching the trapeze as obtaining all of my goals. Well, here I go…!salsa!
Asanas affect every aspect of the human physique; they balance the glandular secretions, relax and tone up the muscles and the nervous system, stimulate circulation, stretch stiff ligaments and tendons, limber joints, massage the internal organs and calm and concentrate the mind. Gradually as the body becomes more accustomed to these limbering relaxing exercises, work becomes an extension of asanas, done at moderate speed with smooth flowing motions, deep breathing to afford the body plenty of oxygen, and a calm and controlled mind alert and responsible to the needs of any situation.
The complex symphony of the body is conducted by a system of glands known as the endocrine glands. These glands are often called ductless because they pass their secretions directly into the blood or lymph, instead of using secretory ducts. The chemical substances secreted by these glands are called hormones - chemical messages which act at a distance. Hormones have a profound effect on all the body's functions, including growth, digestion, energy levels, heat, sexuality, water and fluid retention.
The pineal body is located directly in the middle of the brain. It has the largest blood supply for its weight of any organ in the body. Obviously, some great activity is going on in this tiny organ, although medical researchers are not sure exactly what. They do know that the pineal gland secrets melatonin which may regulate sexual development and serotonin which seems to be essential for rational thought. The pineal gland also has optic qualities including sensitivity to light in higher animals and humans. It actually has a lens and light-sensitive retina in some lizards. This gland seems to have some importance in regulating the subtle day-to-day rhythms of the body, including sleep. It is unique in that it appears to secrete many substances which have a direct effect on the function of the brain. According to yoga science, the pineal gland is the master gland of the body, controlling all the other glands. Secretions from this gland stimulate all the other lower glands.
The pituitary has been called by medical science the "master gland." In reality it functions as a relay station for impulses arising in the hypothalamus, an organ of the brain which coordinates the nervous system with the glandular system and controls the body's reaction to emotional states. The pituitary gland relays the messages from the hypothalamus to all the endocrine glands of the body. Thus, it may be said that the pituitary hormones excite the movement of the bowels, keep the blood vessels toned up and stimulate the kidneys to do their work. These hormones also control growth and the development and help to regulate the body's temperature. Improper secretion of the pituitary gland results in the abnormal growth of extremely obese people, giants and midgets.
Thyroid and Parathyroid Glands
The thyroid gland in the neck controls the metabolic rate of the body, the speed at which the chemical processes of the body occur. Like a thermostat, it regulates the level of body heat and energy produced. Among other things, it regulates growth, repair and waste processes. Any imbalance in the thyroid gland has serious consequences. Even a slight over secretion will result in nervous irritability. A slight under secretion will result in a feeling of fatigue and lethargy. The secretions from the parathyroid regulate calcium and phosphorus metabolism.
The thymus is a gland located behind the breastbone. It is very large during childhood but at puberty reduces to one-quarter of its original size. It is generally agreed that the thymus exerts a primary role in regulating the immune defenses of the body against disease, but the details of this mechanism and other functions of the thymus are unknown.
The adrenal glands, located just on top of the kidneys, help govern sudden bursts of energy and heat, while stimulating the twin response of staying to fight or running away (the fight or flight response). In a crises, when everything depends on muscular exertion, the brain sends a nervous message to these glands, which promptly pour their secretions into the bloodstream. The secretion of adrenaline speeds up the heart and dilates the blood vessels to the muscles and stimulates the sweat glands so the body may be cooled. It slows the movements of the digestive organs and contracts their blood vessels. It makes the liver shed its stored sugar so the muscles may have a copious supply of fuel. It stands the hair on end, dilates the pupils and widens the eyes, so the individual may be terrifying to look at. It is a chemical S.O.S. A person whose adrenal glands are not able to secrete sufficient adrenaline will not be able to respond properly in a crisis. On the other hand, one whose glands over secrete or secrete inappropriate will speed.
The pancreas lies just below the stomach and secretes digestive enzymes into the small intestine. It secretes insulin, a hormone which lowers the amount of energy-giving glucose in the blood. If the pancreas is unable to secrete sufficient amounts of insulin, blood sugar builds up and diabetes mellitus can result. Too much insulin on the other hand results in hypoglycemia, a condition of trembling and weakness.
The gonads (ovaries and testes) primarily govern the sexual function. In the female the ovaries are located in the abdominal area and in the male the testes are located in the scrotum. These glands not only produce sperm and egg cells, but also secrete androgen (male sex hormones) and estrogen (female sex hormones). These hormones regulate physical development of the body and the sexual behavior patterns of the individual. For example, androgens increase the muscular mass of the body and seem to induce aggressive behavior. Estrogens increase fatty padding and may promote passive behavior. Everyone's body produces androgens and estrogens. It is the proper proportion of these hormones which balance the personality.
Effect of Asanas
The entire human organism is controlled by the hormones. Every system, every organ, every tissue, every cell is guided in its functioning by hormones. The proper growth and functioning of the various parts of the body is possible only when there is a balanced secretion of all these hormones. Any imbalance results in disease.
Asanas balance the hormonal secretions from the various glands. The twisting and bending positions of the asanas, held for specific periods of time, place continued and specific pressure on the various glands of the body, thus stimulating them in various ways and regulating their secretions.
In the Shoulder Stand, for example, the contraction of the neck muscles combined with the pressure of the chin on the chest squeezes blood out of the thyroid and parathyroid glands. In the Fish Pose which immediately follows the Shoulder Sstand, the glands are stretched and flooded with blood. The combination of these two poses effectively massages and stimulates these two glands, thus greatly improving their functions.
Different asanas are prescribed to strengthen or regulate the secretion of different glands. For example, the bow pose and wheel pose affect the adrenal glands. In this way many common ailments can be alleviated and the body's harmony restored.
Shoulder stand, or sarvangasana, is a pose that use your entire body. This pose is an inversion, or a pose where your feet are above your head. Lie on your back on a mat, with your arms by your sides. Raise your legs until they are perpendicular to the ground. Place your hands on or under your hips and lift your hips off the ground slowly. Keep your legs straight, resting your body on your shoulders, and not your neck. Hold the position for 45 to 60 seconds before slowly rolling your back and hips down to the floor. This pose may provide some benefit to the thyroid, although it should not be used as a form of treatment.
Bow pose is thought to stimulate the glands in your neck and throat, according to YogaJournal.com. It is also a movement for strengthening and stretching your thighs, groin, belly, chest, spine and shoulders. Lie on your stomach on your mat with your arms by your sides. Bend your legs so that your heels are close to your buttocks, and reach back to grasp the outsides of your ankles with your hands. Inhale and lift your feet away from your hips while bringing your thighs off the mat. Through this movement, your head and upper torso should be pulled off the floor. Hold the pose for 20 to 30 seconds and release slowly.
Another pose that stretches and stimulates the glands in the neck and throat is fish pose. Lie on your back on your mat with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. Inhale, lift your pelvis slightly off the floor and slide your hands, palms down, underneath your buttocks. Tuck your elbows and forearms close against your body and then place your elbows on the mat. Inhale and arch your back, lifting your torso off the floor. Depending on how you arch your back, either the back of your head or the crown will rest on the floor. Hold the pose for 20 to 30 seconds and release slowly.
A stretch for the entire front of your body, including your neck and throat, camel pose is another backbend posture that may stimulate the glands in your neck. Kneel on a mat so that your knees are directly under your hips. Your feet can be flat against the floor, or you can bend your toes and point your heels toward the ceiling. Keeping your hips over your knees, arch your back and place your hands on your feet. Push your tailbone slightly forward and let your head fall back naturally, holding the pose for 20 to 30 seconds before releasing. Do not attempt this pose if you have a neck injury.
Headstand and Inversions
The headstand is just one of several inversion poses that balance hormones and calm your mind, Inversions are also particularly beneficial for your thyroid, heart and lungs. For the headstand, place your arms in a triangle pattern on the mat, with your fists together as the top point of the triangle and each elbow out as the triangle's side points. Place the top of your head in the center of the triangle on the mat, keep your neck and upper back muscles released, and gently kick up into a headstand, evenly distributing your weight between the top of your head and your forearms on the mat. Use a wall for support if needed.
Simple Cross Legs Pose
The simple cross legs pose, also known as easy pose, or Sukhasana, is another way to balance hormones, especially when coupled with long, slow breaths. It specifically targets the adrenal gland, calming, soothing and even lessening postpartum depression. Sit with your legs crossed at the shins with your palms facing up and your hands in your lap. Keep your back straight but pelvis relaxed as you inhale, moving your spine and chin forward, and then exhale, letting the exhalation round out your back. Keep up the deep breathing for 30 seconds.
The salutation seal, or Anjali Mudra, is a pose that gives a boost to your pineal and pituitary glands, Sit in the simple cross legs pose while you inhale, bringing your palms together in front of your chest and your thumbs resting on your sternum. Slightly bow your head forward, then push your sternum into your thumbs as you lengthen your back and elongate the back of your arms.
Seated Forward Bend
Another seated pose that helps balance hormones is seated forward bend, or Paschimottanasana. This posture keeps your blood sugar level as it perks up your pancreas, kidneys, thyroid and thymus. Sit with your legs extended straight in front of you. Inhale as you lengthen your spine toward the ceiling then exhale, bending forward at the waist, getting your head as close to your legs as is comfortable.
Rabbit Pose or Sasangasana
This pose stimulates the thyroid and parathyroid. It also helps with depression. Start by sitting on your heels in Hero Pose. Extend the arms back and grasp the soles of the feet. Tuck the chin to the chest as you round forward, hinging at the hips and dropping the head to the floor, forehead touching the knees. Lift the hips as you rest the crown of the head on the floor. Rest comfortably for a few breaths.
Standing Head to Knee or Janursirasana
Combined with Paschimottanasana (below), these two poses balance blood sugar and stimulate the thymus, thyroid, kidneys, and pancreas. Start in Mountain Pose. Lift your right knee and hold with both hands. Inhale, then exhale. On your next inhale, move your hands down to hold the right foot, and on the exhale, kick out the right leg. Hold your right leg out at a 90-degree angle. Drop your elbows alongside the calf as you lower your head to your knee. Hold for two breath cycles before releasing to the other side. Beginners will probably feel more comfortable simply holding the knee close to the torso or only doing Paschimottanasana.
Easy Pose or Sukhasana
Slow, deliberate breathing reroutes hormonal signals and calms the adrenal gland to reduce stress and help alleviate post-partum depression. Sit on a folded blanket at least two-inches thick, preferably higher. Cross your legs at the shins and rest your hands in your lap, palms up. Keep your posture straight, but let your pelvis relax. Inhale and extend your chin and spine forward, then quickly exhale, rounding your back. Repeat this sequence, following the rhythm of your breath, for 30 seconds.
According to Yoga Journal, the cross-legs pose can be beneficial for those experiencing adrenal fatigue. Position a chair in front of you and sit cross-legged facing the front of the chair. Place your forehead on the chair seat and circle your arms on the remaining portion of the chair. If you need to, place a blanket or pad under your bottom to raise your pelvis. According to an article in the Yoga Journal, this pose helps relieve the tension in your neck and back.
The legs-up-the-wall is another pose recommended for restoration of the adrenal glands. The pose is as simple as it sounds: Lie on your back with your feet resting on a wall. If you need to, place a bolster or blanket under your lower back for support. According to Yoga Journal, this position stimulates the blood pressure sensors, which in turn leads to decreased nerve function in the adrenal glands.
If you've been to almost any yoga class, you've probably done corpse pose at the end as a way to relax. While perhaps the simplest pose in yoga, if you're experiencing a lot of stress or anxiety, the pose is a lot more difficult. Lie flat on your back and extend your legs so they're positioned mid-line with your torso. Raise your head so that it's not crunched up into your neck, and take care to have each ear the same distance from your shoulders. Have your arms turned outward, hands up, ensuring that your shoulder blades are evenly touching the floor. Pay attention to your face and shoulders and release any tension you may be holding. Let your jaw and tongue loosen, and focus on total relaxation of all muscles for 5 minutes or more.
This helps to stimulate the pituitary and pineal glands. Bring your palms together in Pranam Mudra, thumb knuckles pressing against your sternum. Rotate your thumbs to the right, down, up the left and return to center. Repeat. Next, open your hands, thumb and index fingers together in Gyan Mudra. Press the fingertips together. Then, press the middle fingers and thumbs together, the ring fingers and thumbs, the pinky fingers and thumbs, and return to index fingers and thumbs. Let your motion follow your breath and repeat the sequence for up to two minutes.
According to the Adrenal Fatigue Center website, mastering the yogic breath is an important first step for people experiencing adrenal fatigue, since yogic breathing can help people "slow down." According to ABC of Yoga, "low breathing" is the most effective form of breathing for yoga, as it creates more movement of the lungs and stimulates the crucial nerve centers of the solar plexus. As you begin your yoga routine, spend some time first focusing on low breath; inhale using your diaphragm, and exhale by pushing your diaphragm and stomach as far inward as possible. Continue this process throughout your practice, reminding yourself to return to this breathing form whenever you can.