Can Meditation and Yoga Help Relieve Social Anxiety?

This is a guest post by Dan Fries:

Dan Fries is a science writer and published author in the field of translational oncology. Dan’s work has been featured in journals such as Cancer Discovery and Cancer Research. His contribution is exploring the natural health approach to social anxiety and panic attacks. Find out more about Dan’s mission at www.corpina.com 

 

Have you ever felt a cramping sensation in your gut or beads of sweat forming on your forehead when you enter a room full of people? Clearly, anxiety is killing your professional as well as social life. Fear, stress and anxiety are in the driver’s seat and you end up being a passenger who is traveling into the depths of the unknown.

The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown” – H.P. Lovecraft.

Yoga and Meditation to beat social anxietyThis quote tells us that it is normal to have slight fear, as it is in human nature to be afraid of unforeseen circumstances. But you need to be focused, disciplined and dynamic to overcome and fight this fear. The problem begins when this fear becomes intimidating and persistent, and starts to take control of your everyday life.

Slowly this leads to anxiety disorder, worry, a state of overly-uneasiness, etc. which if left unchecked can require medical treatment. That is where yoga and meditation can help. Of course, yoga and meditation alone are unlikely to be your only treatment options. Both of them should sync with each other and than only after consulting a specialist or a doctor. The medical practitioner can guide and help you to know what kind of anxiety disorder you are having – OCD, Panic Attacks, Social Anxiety Disorder, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), to name a few.

Symptoms of Social Anxiety

  • Having obsessive and uncontrolled thoughts related to past traumatic experiences
  • Feeling uneasy, scared and panicky
  • Tendency to repeatedly wash hands
  • Waking up from frequent nightmares
  • Having problems getting sound sleep
  • Sweating hands and feet
  • Frequent heart palpitations

Kicking Anxiety Through Yoga

The regular practice of yoga can assist you in staying relaxed and calm in your day-to-day life. It can give you the energy for facing events as and when they occur without being restless. The practice of yoga consists of a complete package of body postures (asanas) and breathing techniques (pranayamas).

Yoga Postures

Yoga postures or asanas can help in getting a healthy body and mind. Stress and negativity are released from the system through the following postures –

  • Matsyasana (Fish Pose)
  • Shirshasana (Headstand)
  • Janu Shirsasana (One-Legged Forward Bend)
  • Dhanurasana (Bow Pose)
  • Shavasana (Corpse Pose)
  • Marjariasana (Cat Stretch)
  • Setubandhasana (Bridge Pose)
  • Hastapadasana (Standing Forward Bend)
  • Paschimottanasana (Two-Legged Forward Bend)
  • Adhomukha Shwanasana (Downward Facing Dog)

Once you’ve finished the yoga postures, you need to lie down so that your body and mind can get a few minutes of relaxation. This flushes out the toxins in the body which are the major cause of stress for your biological system.

Breathing Exercises

Proper breathing techniques can help free your mind from unwanted clutter and thoughts. This avoids the breeding of anxiety and keeps the mind fresh. You can try the following breathing methods –

  • Bhastrika Pranayama (Bellows Breathing Technique)
  • Kapalbhati Pranayama ( Skull-Shining Breathing Technique)
  • Bhramari Pranayama (Bee Breathing Technique)
  • Nadi Shodhan Pranayama (Alternate Nostril Breathing)

Meditating Your Way To A Relaxed Mind

meditation for anxiety and stressMeditation is a great technique for relaxing a mind which is distracted. It provides a sense of peace and calm. You can observe that with daily practice your mind gets involved with petty and insignificant things. Plus, meditation can help you to avoid worrying or getting anxious about the unforeseen future.

You will most likely be familiar with the term ‘adrenalin rush’. This occurs when you are too anxious or scared about a potential threat. For example, at the time of an adventure ride, your adrenalin levels would be higher than usual, leading to a faster heart beat. It could also make your muscles tense and your body sweat profusely.

Various scientific researches have shown that regular practice of meditation can lower the stress hormones. A study was conducted by the Department of Psychology of the Standard University for the participants of social anxiety disorder. They underwent a two-month meditation training which resulted in reducing their anxiety and transforming their thoughts to a more positive outlook.

Supplements For Controlling Stress And Anxiety

Did you know supplements are one of the best options for taking control of your anxiety and stress? You could for instance try the nootropic supplement of Phenibut, which is available in tablet as well as powder form. This supplement is not only safe; it has already been used by people for several decades. Phenibut is a derivative of the brain chemical GABA, but is able to pass the blood-brain barrier more effectively, it is one of the most significant neurotransmitter of the human body. It effectively calms the hormones related to anxiety and stress and brings a positive change to the mood and confidence of the user.

Summing It Up

Social anxieties and stress can be traumatic and create majorly off-putting experiences in your life. With the regular practice of yoga and meditation you can minimise the negatives and hopefully kick them out of your life. However, if they are still persistent in your life, you can take mood and memory enhancing supplements to counter their ill-effects and reduce it safely and gradually. So go ahead and enjoy a stress-free life!

 

Thank you to Dan Fries for this guest blog post!

 

If you have suffered in the past or currently suffer from stress and social anxiety we would love to hear about how you’ve managed. Have you been successful using meditation and yoga or other types of natural therapies, or have you been successful in taking supplements to cope?

Please leave a comment below, we love to hear from our readers!

 

The Differences between Northern and Southern Style Thai Yoga Massage

“The body is precious. It is our vehicle for awakening. Treat it with care”. As quoted by one of the greatest people of all time, Gautama the Buddha.

The Buddha has, in his own way, been a part of how Thai Yoga Massage was developed and evolved over the centuries.

But before we explore the different styles of Thai Massage, let’s look a little more deeply into its origin.

Thai Yoga Massage’s roots lie in India and the flower bloomed in Thailand. Jivaka Kumar Bhacca is the founding father, and is now known in Thailand as the Father of Medicine. An Ayurvedic doctor renowned for his knowledge of herbal medicine, his exceptional medical skWat Pho - Thai Massageills and for providing medical care to important people during his day, including the Buddha himself.

While Thai Yoga massage’s principles came from the Buddhist schools, its basic practices and techniques evolved in India, China, Thailand and South East Asia and have since spread throughout the West over the past 20 years or so.

Within Thailand two distinct forms evolved, giving us its two main styles, Southern and Northern Thai massage.

For us to be able to fully appreciate these two styles, we’ll first look at their similarities and then their differences.

First, Southern and Northern styles both recognise Jivaka Kumar Bhacca as its founding father, originated in India along with Buddhism, some 2500 years ago.

Second, both styles came from two elements. The ‘Royal Style’ and ‘Common Style’ of Ancient Thai massage.

The Royal style is called ‘Nuat Rajchasumnak’, meaning; providing the receiver with great respect and courtesy by the practitioner.

The other, which is the Common Style is called ‘Nuat Chaloeyseuk’, meaning; manipulate tense and tight muscles due to intense labour occupations.

Wat Pho - Thai Yoga Massage - Sen LinesAnd last, they both include combinations of stretches and muscle manipulation as well as giving pressure to the 72,000 Thai Sen lines and energy points of the body.

Now for the differences between the Northern and Southern styles of Thai Yoga Massage

The Southern style is known as “Folk Thai Massage”, it is taught in Wat Pho temple in Bangkok and its has been largely influenced by Chinese medicine. As a result it’s more focused on the powerful work on energy lines and pathways, opening energy channels and giving deep Chinese acupressure. A good invigorating choice for someone who wants to feel strong and be full of energy.

While the Northern style is known as “Royal Thai Massage”, mainly taught in Chiang Mai and has a greater Indian influence. Unlike the Southern style, it has more of a focus on slow, yogic stretching techniques and done in a gentle rhythm way found in Ayurveda and Yoga. Perfect for those who want to unwind and relax after a long day of hard work, or to release tension from tight muscles.

Depending on the receiver’s needs and personality, both styles have their own unique and special way of conditioning the body and providing relief for muscular tensions, stress and body pains due to overactivity.

Simon studied the Northern style of Thai Yoga Massage at Muditha Thai Yoga school, but the southern style shares some similarities with Japanese Shiatsu Massage.

If you’ve enjoyed this blog post please see our two other posts on Thai Yoga massage, specifically the benefits for Office Workers and for Sports People.

Please comment below and share you’re experience a if Thai Yoga Massage. Perhaps you’ve visited Wat Pho temple or received Thai Yoga massage yourself.

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Jo Maughan Thai Yoga Massage Testimonial for Simon Henderson The Shiatsu Guy

I left with a sense of overall well-being which lasted a few days

Simon’s massage relieved my tight left shoulder and neck which was wonderful. More than that though, the massage was very reviving and relaxing overall and I left with a sense of overall well-being which lasted a few days. What I liked most about the Thai Yoga Massage was that Simon actively manipulated my joints and I was more active in the massage. Thank you, Simon – you seem to be able to exert just the right amount of pressure.

Jo Maughan - Career, Confidence and Happiness Coach @ Your Thinking PartnerLondon, UK

5 things to consider when choosing your complementary therapist

Some things to look out for when choosing the right Complementary Therapist for you. How to find the best solution to your particular situation.

Finding the right therapist for you is an important process and needs to be considered carefully.  You will be entering into a relationship with your therapist that in some ways is more intimate than with anyone else,  you will potentially be dealing directly with physical, mental, emotion and even spiritual energies, and ideally transforming them into a healthier state.  We all have our individual tastes and different needs when looking for the right massage therapist or CAM practitioner to work with.  Here we will look at some common considerations when choosing your complementary therapist.

Most importantly for me to look at is

What do you hope to achieve from the treatments?

This will depend on your particular situation in regards to your health, stress levels and other reasons for wanting to have treatments.  If you have a long-term condition you may simply want to gain some on-going relief and will therefore be looking for a long-term relationship that suits you and your therapist.  Alternatively you may be dealing with some acute stress, recovering from an injury, illness or surgery, or looking for a performance boost before a special sporting event, perhaps trying to deal with nerves before a big business meeting or conference or maybe you’re wanting to feel better in other areas of your life.  In these cases you would need to consider what would be most effective to deal with the situation.

Male or Female therapist?

This can simply be a question of who you are more comfortable with, or could come down to what is more appropriate for personal or religious reasons.  Or you might choose your therapist based on the qualities of the gender in regards to the style of therapy you choose, depending on the energy involved (you would expect the big, hulking guy to provide the best Thai Yoga Massage, but it seems the tiny Thai lady is uniquely suited to inflicting the most pain).  This is very much down to personal taste and will vary from individual to individual and situation to situation.

Home visits or clinic?

Which you choose will generally depend on your situation in regards to time, location, space and money.  This really comes down to cost or convenience; if you’re busy and can afford it, you might decide to have someone come to your house or business, you’ll pay more but the time saved will surely be worth much more.  Alternatively visiting a regular clinic may keep the costs down, as the therapist can see more people in a day, making their practice more efficient.

Which therapy Style you choose?

This will be a mix of personal preference and your intended results.  If you are mainly seeking therapy for enjoyment, or experience, you may choose the style that you like the best, simply because it is pleasant or interesting.  Or you may have very specific goals in mind, to rehabilitate a bad back or other damaged body part, to deal with stress, to gain flexibility and mobility, to improve sleep… there are a huge and growing list of ailments and conditions that can be helped with different complementary therapies and forms of body work, so you may have to do some research into the various styles to find out what works best for your condition and what you personally resonate with the most.  If you have the opportunity I’d recommend trying the different styles that appeal, even if you’re not familiar with them, and even trying different therapists within a style, to make sure you really find the best person to treat your particular situation.

Your Personal preference?

Sometimes there is just a connection you feel when being treated by the right therapist, it’s indescribable, except to say that they can find every point that needs their attention… those places you didn’t know hurt until just that moment when they touched there… and already the pain is easing…

That is the X factor…

As you can see, there are a number of factors to consider when looking for a therapist, sometimes logical, sometimes on a feeling.  I hope this post will help you get more from your massage therapy sessions

🙂