Today, I'd like to talk about yoga. I started a yoga practice in 2011, and have tried many styles (vinyassa, hatha, kundalini, yin, and others). I took some of my favorite poses from those styles and added a couple qigong movements to make a daily morning practice that I've used for many years. This sequence has helped to prepare me to sit in meditation and to begin my day on the right foot.
When interoception is functioning well, we have more awareness and understanding of our emotions, our body sensations, and our body’s movement in space. And when we have more awareness of our body and our emotions, we have a greater ability to control our emotional and behavioral responses. The process of interoception (in short: emotional awareness) is hindered in people with chronic stress and/or anxiety disorders; however, there is an emerging body of research that supports the use of yoga as a therapeutic practice to alleviate emotional disorders such as anxiety.
"One study [an 8-week Kundalini Yoga intervention] found that yoga techniques were more effective in relieving anxiety symptoms and in improving social adjustment than available drug therapy, and this pattern of results was replicated by other studies.”
“[In another study] It was demonstrated that yoga yielded (82.5%) improvement for symptoms of general anxiety and depression."
Research around habit formation shows that most people are able to form a new habit after about two months (66 days). This means that your brain begins to strengthen new neuropathways that code for practicing the habit, and thus, the practice becomes more of an autopilot function. Are you ready to form a new habit? Don't worry if you miss a day or two, it doesn't make much difference, just hop right back at it the next day.
One of the largest platforms I've found where one can join live classes is MindBody:
(scroll down to the bottom and you can even find a number of free live classes from different yoga studios around the country. Make sure you sign up ahead of time, so you can get the link in time and log in):
If you would rather find recorded yoga classes there are thousands of great yoga instruction videos online. You may have to search to find a platform that works well for you. I recommend Ekhart Yoga:
Gabriel, M. G., Curtiss, J., Hofmann, S. G., & Khalsa, S. B. S. (2018). Kundalini Yoga for Generalized Anxiety Disorder: An exploration of treatment efficacy and possible mechanisms. International journal of yoga therapy, 28(1), 97-105.
Phillippa Lally, Cornelia H. M. van Jaarsveld, Henry W. W. Potts & Jane Wardle. (2009). How are habits formed: Modelling habit formation in the real world. European Journal of social Psychology. https://doi.org/10.1002/ejsp.674