I began this year participating in #yogaissacredselfcare2017. This 8-day Instagram challenge, asked participants to reflect on different aspects of yoga as a self-care technique. I have always known that yoga is my biggest and most effective tool for self-care, but it was important to look deeper at why and how this sacred practice enhances my life.

I am often overwhelmed by anxiety. This world is crazy, the news alone can send me into spirals. Then there are the days where the cause is some elusive ghost or a past wound. My skin crawls and my heart skips around. I try to latch onto a thought, but they skip around right out of reach. I freeze up, wandering around without a mission, laying on the bed staring at the ceiling, opening and closing doors. Everything is thick and heavy. Yoga is the last thing on my mind. And the first.

It starts as a whisper somewhere in the back of my brain, telling me I know what to do. The mat calls to me but I’m afraid to take that first step. What if my thoughts scream? What if I hear something I don’t like? What if my thoughts go quiet and I’m left alone with myself? What if this is just how it is and it doesn’t get any better than this?

When I can drag myself to the mat, or the floor or a child’s pose in the center of my bed, I start with my breath. Finding that connection, the anchor to bring me back to reality. There are times when the root of the problem comes to me, the mind becomes quiet and I am given a solution. Most of the time, I don’t need to find the root of the anxiety, it starts to leave on its own. It might leave for the moment, an hour, the rest of the day, weeks. I don’t know. But the relief that comes with the calming of my body and mind is necessary. It lets me know I will be ok.

Yoga is not magic. It is an ancient science that has been studied and proven to relieve anxiety. There are plenty of other things that help anxiety, community support, journaling, medication. Everyone has their own path to walk down and their own mountains to climb. I know that yoga works for me. In my darkest moments it is there, even when I don’t want it. That is why yoga is my sacred self-care.

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