Ashtanga in Middlesbrough and Stockton – Managing Anxiety and OCD Symptoms

Practising Mysore Ashtanga (the traditional way of practising Asthanga yoga) has changed many peoples mental wellbeing around the world for the better. When practiced daily with persistence, it is a very transformational practice.

Through the power of having a committed, dedicated practice, not only does practice change for good on the mat, life off the mat starts to change too. That’s the magic of Ashtanga yoga.

What is anxiety?

Anxiety is a feeling of:
– Fear
– Worry
-Unease

Symptoms of anxiety include:
– Racing heart
– Excessive sweat
-Shaking
– Over thinking
-Shortness of breath
– Chest pains
– Increased heart rate
– Racing mind
– Changes in mood or behaviour

We all experience anxiety at times, feeling anxious is a natural reaction to some situations.

However, feelings of anxiety can be constant. When Anxiety becomes overwhelming or out of proportion to the situation. This can affect your daily life, work, hobbies and relationships. This is when we might need to find ways to alleviate symptoms or reach out to get support with anxiety.

What is OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder)?

OCD is a form of anxiety disorder that involves repetitive, invasive and often unwanted thoughts that can lead to physical compulsions. (Such as checking a door is locked, or washing hands). It can be very distressing and disrupt a persons day when suffering with the symptoms of OCD.


How I used my daily Mysore Ashtanga practice to over-come anxiety and OCD.

Having a dedicated, daily Ashtanga and Meditation practice helped me to change my mind and body to overcome anxiety and OCD. This wasn’t a quick fix by any means, it took dedication and time. However as Yoga became an important part of my life, I found that my symptoms and suffering faded. Here are some of the things I found really helped me on my journey and hopefully can inspire others too!

– Tough Love –

With a dedicated practice, it opens up our energy channels (known as nadis) and starts to heal the emotional and physical body. It literally breaks you down, then builds you back up. The practice really improves strength, flexibility (both mentally and physically). When combined with a long meditation/savasana at the end it makes you reflect, more mindful, kinder and compassionate.

This helps with anxiety and OCD symptoms as Ashtanga is a physical practice. A session will help the body and mind in a similar way to physical exercise, releasing feel-good chemicals from the mind into the body. Also, coupled with meditation – it soothes the nervous system and gives us space to relax, recover and rest.

Dedication and discipline is the route to change.
No discipline/sporadic practice = the route to right back where you were.

A lot of people have a misconception that having a dedicated practice is a form of punishment. From having a dedicated practice and studying over the years, I have learnt discipline isn’t punishment. It’s self love. By being dedicated and consistent to my practice once more after lockdown, I started to see big shifts in my mental health and my life.

If you suffer from mental health problems such as anxiety, depression, OCD, etc, then being dedicated to something daily is where you may see transformation for the better. Especially when it is a focus on physical and mental well-being.


I believe, this is why Ashtanga is so transformational.

It’s a practice you can learn and take with you anywhere.

balance body exercise female
Photo by Burst on Pexels.com

All you need is your mat and you.


With this practice, it is indeed an internal practice and the rest is just a circus.

Yoga


Being disciplined in Mysore style Ashtanga Yoga can have transformative effects on both physical and mental well-being

How did I manage OCD and Anxiety with Ashtanga Yoga?

– CONSISTENCY! –

Consistency, discipline and a commitment to practising daily are important if you want to see any transformation in this practice.

It’s something you have to dedicate yourself to. If you practice Mysore Ashtanga Yoga, practicing at least 5 days a week is really important.

“Ashtanga yoga is for everyone, except for lazy people”. – Pattabhi Jois.

Through a consistent practice, you begin to learn your strengths and weaknesses. When including the Yamas and Niyamas (Moral and ethical codes Yogis live by) you work through issues and ailments in life both on and off the mat.

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Being devoted to the practice is the most important thing. With consistency, you start to break old habits, chains and thought patterns in your mind and form new ones.

By doing something mentally and physically positive for 21+ days, you will naturally start to rewire your mind and body.

– TIME AND SPACE –

We need to create space to:
– facilitate healing
– allow time to go deep with yoga and meditation practice
– create a peaceful, calming space for ourselves

Mysore Yoga

We need to give ourselves space and time for stillness and calm within our lives. Often, many people will state they are too busy to create this time for themselves. One thing I and many others have found so important in our journey, is facilitating time into our days and into our lives to switch off and allow the mind to still. When we do this, we find we feel less stressed and are actually more productive.

Taking this time is especially important if you suffer from OCD or anxiety.

– MENTAL & PHYSICAL STRENGTH –

When we practice consistently and dedicate to the practice, we are able to build physical and mental strength.

It takes a lot in the beginning to build up the confidence, emotional and physical strength and stamina. The practice is very physical.

Mysore Yoga

This is why it is such a transformational practice. It’s so humbling when you achieve something, the next thing is there. It’s always changing. It takes months, even years to build up the fitness.

You realise also, if you take a break, how quickly your mental and physical fitness changes. I’m quite fond of this quote by Sharath Jois, because it is very true for the Ashtanga practice, if a daily practice is done.

Yoga Tip

Becoming more physically fit as well as working on the mental is important, you cannot really have one without the other. Same goes for diet, you cannot really practice if your diet is not sufficient. However, the more you start to look after your physical health, the diet naturally follows and many people find themselves making healthier choices.

– COMMUNITY –

Showing up even when you cannot face getting out of bed means you’re making a commitment to yourself and your practice.

When you show up daily you prove to not only yourself, but your teachers and fellow practitioners that you are reliable.

People notice when you aren’t around. Plus, teachers put a lot of effort into you, in the Mysore Ashtanga Method. They like to know that their effort is not in vain.

Yoga

By showing up, or honoring your commitment to a week, month, etc, course, you show your teachers you are invested in the practice.

– NATURALLY HEALTH & HAPPY –

When we practice, we start to naturally become healthier. We start to think of things we maybe didn’t think of so deeply before. Especially starting to look more deeply in to philosophy and Sanskrit.

We literally are what we eat. Our bodies use vitamins, minerals , proteins, carbohydrates and other compounds from our food to literally re-build our bodies from a cellular level. What we eat and what we drink is super important for our health, emotional and physical.

This also has an effect on our practice. We cannot expect to be our best at, or enjoy practice if we eat a late night pizza the night before, or have a few beers.

We naturally start to intermittent fast and think about the effects our food has on not only us, but the environment.

We also start to reflect on our own environments (santosha and saucha), the company we keep and how this affects our practice too.

Through this practice and intermittent fasting, plus changing my eating habits I have become much healthier and stronger (physically and mentally) plus leaner!

– REWIRING THE MIND & NEURONS –

person holding string lights photo
Photo by David Cassolato on Pexels.com

Practice becomes something you’re able to tune in to and commit to daily, where you set time to be dedicated.

This becomes routine, like getting up for work. Because of this routine, it becomes an intentional habit. After 21 days of doing something consistently, it becomes routine. 

It starts to reprogram the mind. You start putting your self, your mental and physical health first.

Ashtanga, Hatha, Gentle Yoga & Meditation…

I found that Ashtanga has been a big part my personal practice, but I have over lockdown and beyond, found solace in gentle yoga and hatha yoga, as well as really deepening my meditation practice.

Its the focus and dedication where you see the benefits, no matter what the practice. You need to find what works for you, there are many differing styles that can help you be dedicated to practice of Yoga and Meditation.


You can take the teachings and knowledge with you and practice anywhere. All you need to do is get on your mat 5/6 days a week.
Whether it’s 10 minutes, half an hour or two hours, as long as it’s a daily dedicated practice, that’s enough. Its just finding a routine.

I am so grateful for building up a dedicated Yoga and Meditation practice, as it has given me the discipline to practice daily, for my mind more than anything. Toning up and weight-loss are just a nice side effect of the practice.

It has inspired me to lead a more peaceful, healthy life and taken me to some amazing places in the world and given me much more confidence.

Its something I endeavour to keep up, to keep practicing… imagine where life might be in a year, 2 years… 10 years!

So as you can see, any type of practice when practiced daily will have a transformational benefit to your mental health, be it meditation, yoga, jogging…

I am so grateful for my teachers for showing me how finding a dedication and focus in life can really help to change your life for the better…

Dedication & Discipline= the route to change…

Yoga Middlesbrough advanced asanas


Through having a regular daily practice, you will start to see how your mental and physical health start to improve naturally.



Do you plan to be dedicated to a practice?

Do you already have a consistent practice in something?

We would love to hear from you!

Ashtanga in Middlesbrough & Stockton

I offer beginners one-on-one Ashtanga lessons (see classes for more information) and teach Gentle Yoga and Hatha Yoga classes.

For in-person classes, or experienced Ashtanga practitioners looking to deepen their practice, I would highly recommend Maria Dowson (www.yogateesside.com) and Jenni Crowther (https://jennicrowther.co.uk/)

Both are local to Teesside and have a wealth of experience and knowledge. I am lucky to have practiced and attended their classes and they are wonderful teachers.

Do you plan to be dedicated to a practice?

Do you already have a consistent practice in something?

We would love to hear from you!

About The author:

Aimee is a Yoga, Meditation and Move It or Lose It! teacher in located in Middlesbrough, England, UK.
For more information on Aimee and the services she offers, contact her VIA www.amalateesside.com or www.facebook.com/amalateesside

13 Comments

  1. I really love that you were able to help control this naturally. It’s so much better to let our bodies take care of themselves when we can.

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