Yoga for Anxiety – Interview with Yoga teacher to the stars Nadia Narain

May 26, 2015 | Anxiety, Blog

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Nadia Narain is one of London’s most sought after and inspiring yoga teachers. When she’s not teaching Kate Moss, Rachel Weisz and Jools Oliver she’s instructing those lucky enough to attend her packed-out classes at Triyoga in Camden.

Nadia has an incredible calm mastery over the group when she’s teaching. The last class of hers I attended was with 50 other people, however she managed to make everyone feel taken care of and supported.

When it comes to yoga for stress and anxiety, Nadia is the expert and when I learned of her Everyday Yoga for Stress Release DVD I wanted to ask her what advice she would have for those with anxiety.

 

How can yoga help with stress and anxiety management?

Yoga helps by bringing you into your body and connecting you to your breath. One of the major feelings we feel with anxiety is that we are disconnected from ourselves or out of control. It teaches you to connect to yourself, and your breath brings you into the present moment, instead of your mind reeling.

One of the most important practices is meditation to help with stress and anxiety. This also means learning to check in with yourself. Begin to notice how it feels when the anxiety arises and start to become familiar with it rather than fear it.
How do the benefits of yoga differ to those of aerobic exercise when it comes to stress and anxiety?
Aerobic activity gets the heart rate going but it also gets the adrenaline pumping in the body. Yoga has a formula using breathing and the rest pose at the end to balance you out and calm the nervous system.
There is a misunderstanding these days about “yoga” and it just been this physical activity, but concentration, breathing and staying present are also fundamental to the practice. You are not just checking out; instead you are checking in with yourself and how you feel and learning how you can be in control of how you feel.

There are also benefits to going for a run or a dance or anything that gets the body moving, but it’s important to be mindful as to what you’re doing and why you are doing it.

How often should someone practise yoga to gain a benefit?

Daily is ideal even just for 10 minutes. A little practice every day is a great way to become so familiar to yoga that you have the space to know how to respond to the stress or anxiety immediately.

That way it becomes something familiar and you can come to when you notice it; it’s like accruing healing benefits in your bank as opposed to suddenly needing it at a crucial time but being overdrawn.

 

Are there any specific poses you recommend most for stress/anxiety?

Of course it depends on the level of stress and anxiety, but doing restorative poses and mediation and pranayama (breathing) practices are hugely beneficial to the nervous system.

 

Is there anything else a stressed or anxious person needs to be aware of before starting a yoga practise?

Not really. I say start slow and build it up. My DVD, Everyday Yoga for Stress Release has 3 x 20 minute sequences as well as a nice relaxation and a meditation so a good start for any beginner or seasoned yogi.

Also pay attention to things like coffee, alcohol, what you watch before bed and the food you eat.
I went to a yoga class the other day, after a coffee (which I never drink but was with a friend so I had one) and it made me feel so anxious in the class, I wanted to get out of there…… and I’m a teacher! But I stayed and after the Savasana (a rest pose where you lie on your back with palms facing upwards at the end of class) and I felt so much better!
Check out Nadia’s DVD Everyday Yoga for Stress Release for simple sequences you can do at home. She can also be found teaching yoga at London’s Triyoga. Her website is www.nadianarain.com.
Let me know in the comments if yoga has helped you or whether this has inspired you to start! And please share this post with anyone you think might gain a benefit from it.
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 Photo credit: Christina Wilson

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