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

Symptoms of anxiety include:
– Racing heart
– Excessive sweat
– 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

All you need is your mat and you.

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


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, 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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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


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!


person holding string lights photo
Photo by David Cassolato on

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 ( and Jenni Crowther (

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 or

Overcoming Barriers to practice : Anxiety

– Feeling too anxious to practice –

Flexibility Aerobics Balance Strength
FABS LOGO - AMALAwellness - Middlesbrough stockton teesside , yoga meditation and gentle exercise

When we feel anxious, we tend to avoid doing certain things. Yoga, meditation and exercise can be one of them, even though there are so many benefits to practicing.

overcoming barriers  - AMALAwellness - Middlesbrough stockton teesside , yoga meditation and gentle exercise

Physical activity is known to help with reducing symptoms of:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Stress

However, when we are struggling it can be difficult to engage in physical activity. Here are some tips and pointers to overcome those barriers and get moving to help with physical and mental wellbeing.

– Anxiety has a crippling effect on our motivation –

Stress, anxiety and depression are often reported as barriers to exercise. For those who have mental and physical health challenges, it is one of the driving factors, affecting 61% of people wishing to attend classes.

Woman feeling anxious clipart - AMALAwellness - Middlesbrough stockton teesside , yoga meditation and gentle exercise

Anxiety can have such an impact on our lives, people often disengage with day-to-day tasks and have challenges with exercise and joining classes. Yoga, Gentle Exercise and Meditation lessons have a myriad of benefits for those suffering with anxiety. For example, you can learn how to control your breathing and learn relaxation techniques which can be used on and off the mat. However, anxiety can be a barrier to us attending classes.

Some of the common anxieties around attending classes are feeling uncomfortable with being a beginner and worrying about what others in the class may think of their practice. The truth is, even the most experienced teachers are constantly learning and adapting their practice. Allow yourself the space to grow. People who come to yoga, gentle exercise and meditation classes share a common goal of improving their well-being.

– What are the common barriers associated with anxiety? –

– Low Energy & Low Mood –

Stress, lack of sleep and diet can cause us to feel anxious and contribute to feeling low on energy.

What can we do to help with low mood?

It is worth examining some of these things and addressing them to help lift our mood and energy.

  • Are you getting enough sleep at night?
    Spend some time before bed unwinding, have a nice relaxing bath. Read a book and ensure that there is no screen time before bed.
  • Are you eating too much sugar?
    Sugar can cause a whole host of problems for our mood, sugar spikes can cause highs in our mood, then when they wear off lows. To combat this, try to avoid having too much sugar in our diets. Perhaps, replacing sugar with healthy alternatives.
  • Are you eating healthily?
    We literally are what we eat. Our bodies build new cells from what we consume. Our bodies reactions and functions rely on vitamins and minerals gained from our diet. Ensure to eat 5 portions of fruit and vegetables a day and avoid processed foods where possible.
  • Are you setting aside time in your day to relax and enjoy some you-time?
    To reduce stress and anxiety within your life, set aside time for you. Do what sets your soul alight, or soothes the soul.
woman relaxing -  AMALAwellness - Middlesbrough stockton teesside , yoga meditation and gentle exercise

– Anxiety around causing or making a pre-existing injury worse –

– Pain and discomfort –

Pain and discomfort can be a barrier to practicing and exercising. From back pain, to stiff joints – sometimes it can seem that exercising will make a pre-existing condition worse. Challenges with circulation and breathing can also make movement and exercise seem like it will be too difficult.

What can we do to overcome this barrier?

doctor - AMALAwellness - Middlesbrough stockton teesside , yoga meditation and gentle exercise

It is best to discuss exercise routines with a doctor or healthcare professional initially before starting a new routine. However, move it or lose it chair exercise classes and chair yoga classes are designed to be gentle on joints, done seated or standing. Another good way to get moving with exercise that is low impact is joining a local aqua-aerobics class.

The more you move, the more you are able to move…

It’s always beneficial to move the body in a safe way as much as we can. Starting out small and building up our routine is a wonderful way to do this. Break exercise down into small manageable chunks and work your way up to doing half an hour a day. Every movement and step counts.

A focus on losing weight can also help…

Being overweight can make pain in knees, back and legs worse. But, lose just 1lb and that would equate to a reduction of 4lb in knee joint pressure.

Getting more active can seem daunting, but find something you love doing and it won’t be a chore!

-Fear of injury –

Many people worry about injury and how it might affect their day-to-day life if they become injured or aggravate a pre-existing condition.

What can we do to overcome this barrier?

OAP Lady dancing and enjoying life - AMALAwellness - Middlesbrough stockton teesside , yoga meditation and gentle exercise

Again, check with your doctor before starting any new routine. However, with a gentle routine, the right instructor and the right equipment – you can get active in a safe and supported way! Exercise and physical activity often helps the rehabilitation process. Start slowly and build on your practice.

– Cognitive Decline –

Those who are experiencing challenges with memory, cognitive decline or dementia can still get many mental and physiical benefits from practice. Exercise and movement helps maintain healthy blood flow to the brain and helps the body produce new cells.  It helps with proprioception, keeping the mind active. It also helps with balance and hand-eye co-ordination.

Man playing chess - AMALAwellness - Middlesbrough stockton teesside , yoga meditation and gentle exercise

What can we do to overcome this barrier?

To overcome cognitive decline, we need to make exercise part of our daily routine. Mental hygiene is as important as physical hygiene and we should do things to stimulate our minds daily. Keeping exercises simple, such as walking, climbing stairs, or simple stretching can really help us maintain a simple daily routine. Joining a class locally or online can help you to learn the ropes and start to practice a daily routine at home.

– Feeling Isolated –

Many of us have been feeling isolated during lockdown. This has an effect on our motivation to practice. Most people are more likely to work-out with a friend, loved one or at a local class. If someone has lost someone close to them, or if their partner has mobility challenges, they are less likely to be motivated to stay active.

Walking alone can make people feel vulnerable, especially as darker nights set in. Isolation can also make people feel scared or shy of joining group classes.

What can we do to overcome this barrier?

There are lots of local classes that people can join both online and in person.
AMALAwellness – Teesside offers a range of classes to help people stay active and mobile. As well as aiding physical and mental well-being. The key is to find something that sets your soul alight, that you enjoy. That way, as well as joining a class doing something you enjoy, you will make new friends with similar outlooks and hobbies. Family and friends can be wonderful for helping you stay active. Tell them about your goals and maybe you can encourage them to be more active too, or join them in activities.

– Set Smart Goals –

Sometimes things can seem daunting, but setting smart small attainable daily goals can really help us improve both out physical and mental wellbeing.

Try setting a goal of walking so many steps a day, or for a set amount of time a day. Join a local gentle exercise class, then progress from there. Even small attainable goals like drinking more water can help us improve our health and work towards bigger goals.

Hopefully some of these pointers will help you to get more active during and after lockdown.

AMALAwellness specialize in gentle movement and exercise. Aimee is trained as a Move it or Lose it! fitness instructor. These classes are available both online and in person and Aimee can advise you on the best route to getting you active again!

We would love to hear from you, please get in touch if you would be interested in any of our classes.

Please subscribe to our blog for up-to date information on all our classes and advice on practice!

About The author:

woman practicing lotus with petals and chakra points - AMALAwellness - Middlesbrough stockton teesside , yoga meditation and gentle exercise
Aimee is a Yoga, Meditation and Move It or Lose It! teacher in located in Middlesbrough, England, UK.

To find out more, visit