The Stanly News and Press (Albemarle, NC)

January 23, 2013

Yoga, meditation are tools to control anxiety, stress

By Cindy Brewer for the SNAP
SNAP

Wednesday, January 23, 2013 — Everyone remembers where they were and what they were doing when they heard the news on Sept. 11, 2001. I was at home nursing my 10 month old baby. My husband at the time traveled extensively and was scheduled to fly to D.C the next day. My baby was having some mysterious medical problems and I had been under quite a lot of stress. But like everyone else, I sat in front of my television trying to get more information on what had happened and how much danger we were all in.

I had never been a big news watcher. My father was always the current events expert and if I wanted to know about anything, I could just ask him. But now I was a stay at home mother of an infant and I had a lot more time to get the news myself.

I found out about anthrax and became nervous every time I went to the mailbox. I learned about the West Nile Virus and spent a sleepless night on the Internet investigating the symptoms after my son got a mosquito bite. I found out more about missing children and school shootings and people carrying weapons on airplanes. I was wondering what kind of world I had brought my beautiful baby into and my anxiety levels were at an all time high.

I was teaching pilates and practicing yoga, but it didn’t seem like enough to control my stress at that time. It wasn’t until my second son was born that I discovered how much peace yoga could offer me. I found a studio near his preschool, so I would drop him off and eagerly head to class.

The teachers there would start the class with meditations about finding the peace inside of you, accepting yourself and your life and trying to live your yoga off your mat.

One morning, my teacher read an excerpt from a book titled “Happy Yoga: 7 Reasons Why There’s Nothing to Worry About” by Steve Ross. It said that you don’t need to watch or listen to or study the news. It said that if we would stop watching the news and protect ourselves completely from current events and come back to them many years later, the stories would be exactly the same. The names and the details might differ, but there really is nothing new under the sun.

He was giving us all permission to stop inundating our minds with sad, scary news. This was such a revelation to me.

It was then that I stopped watching the news channels and I stopped engaging with people in talks about how everything we do puts us in danger of crimes or diseases.

I learned how yoga and meditation are tools to control anxiety and stress and all I have to do is pull them out to see how good life and love are.

Many sad, worried and stressed out people walk into my yoga studio. I want to help them open their hips and spines and shoulders and I want to help them become stronger and more balanced.

But mostly, I want to pass down these tools to them in hopes that they, too, can find equanimity, stillness and harmony inside themselves, regardless of what is going on around them.