Anxiety Hypno-Yoga Mental Health and Wellbeing Mindfulness Stress Therapeutic Yoga Yoga

What is Restorative Yoga?

Written by Nat Young – Clinical Hypno-Psychotherapist and Yoga/Pilates Teacher

There are so many different types of yoga so it’s easy to get confused. Today we’re going to look at restorative yoga which is a calm and tranquil form of yoga aimed at relaxation and supporting the body.

In a restorative yoga class, you’ll hold poses for several minutes at a time, using props such as bolsters, cushions and blankets to support your body. The props are used to bridge the gap between your body and the floor so that you can relax. The goal of restorative yoga isn’t to stretch, it’s to support.

The problem of stress and anxiety

Chronic stress and anxiety keeps us in the sympathetic nervous system (fight or flight). This can contribute towards a myriad of physical and mental health problems. When in fight or flight, the body shuts down systems that are deemed not necessary, such as digestion, growth, repair and reproduction. It’s therefore important that we don’t stay in fight or flight for longer than we have to. While the fight or flight response serves a useful purpose to keep us out of danger, it becomes problematic when we experience stress and anxiety all the time.

The parasympathetic nervous system, otherwise known as the ‘rest and digest’ system, is the polar opposite and calms us down. The primary nerve of the parasympathetic nervous system is called the vagus nerve (which is actually a set of two nerves, one on the left and one on the right). We can learn to stimulate this nerve through yoga breathing and some of our yoga poses. Of course, we don’t want to be in ‘rest and digest’ all the time either as then we wouldn’t have any motivation to do anything, but being able to tap into it when we want to is hugely beneficial. It’s all about balance and most of us don’t spend enough time in ‘rest and digest’.

The solution: Restorative Yoga

If this sounds like you, you’ll find restorative yoga very helpful. Restorative yoga helps you to learn to be ‘in the moment’, slowing your brain down and helping you to concentrate on the present. It helps you to move away from a state of doing and into a state of being. In class, we practice mindfulness. Letting thoughts come and go, without changing them and without analysis. Can you imagine what it would be like to feel calm and just let thoughts be?

Join me on the mat

To experience restorative yoga for yourself, check out my Restorative Yoga and Hypno Yoga classes in the On Demand Studio. Hypno Yoga also runs weekly on Zoom. Check it out here.

Anxiety Hypnotherapy

Are you an over thinker?

Written by Nat Young – Clinical Hypno-Psychotherapist and Yoga/Pilates Teacher.

Have you ever got stuck in a cycle of ‘overthinking’ which has paralysed you into a corner? Overthinking occurs when we get stuck in a cycle of worrying and negative thinking within our own heads. This cycle can be really difficult to break. Worrying is very normal but did you know it’s also an evolutionary response to danger? 

Once upon a time humans were hunter gatherers. We’d have to hunt and gather our own food and we’d always be on the lookout for threats such as predators. We therefore became ‘programmed’ through evolution to worry and be constantly on guard to protect ourselves from threats. These days it would be extremely unlikely to be eaten by a sabretooth tiger but our ‘worry’ response can (unhelpfully) still go into overdrive and sound like a broken record.

If you notice you’re overthinking and worrying, one thing you can do is practice stopping it in its tracks. Try this 3 step process to help with overthinking: 

  1. Recognise you’re overthinking (this is probably the most difficult and it takes practice!) Mentally say ‘STOP!’
  2. Focus on facts rather than ‘what ifs’, ‘buts’ and ‘maybes‘. This can help you to make sense of your thoughts and understand if your worry is an actual problem that you might be able to do something about or a fear that’s outside your control. 
  3. Distract your attention outside your head by doing something else. You could talk to friends/family, meditate and focus on your breathing, crack on with a hobby you love, do some yoga or exercise or, look out the window and notice the sounds of nature.

If you’re a worrier and would like a little assistance, Hypnotherapy can be incredibly helpful. Through our online hypnotherapy sessions together, I’ll help you draw on your own ‘toolbox’ of resources so you can begin to free yourself from the constraints of anxiety and overthinking.

Even better, I’m offering online hypnotherapy sessions at just £40 in January (normally £60) so why not get in touch today to get your new year off to a great start?


Feeling overwhelmed by uncertainty?

Here’s an infographic which explains what happens to us when faced with uncertainty. Uncertainty triggers a myriad of events in the brain and what you feel is an evolutionary response. In other words, if you’re feeling overwhelmed, it’s all perfectly normal…

How to bring things back into perspective

Ever heard of the saying “a problem shared is a problem halved?” A hypnotherapy session can be a great way to explore feelings of uncertainty and sometimes the very act of talking about how you’re feeling can bring things back into perspective.

Taking time out to practice relaxation is also useful as it calms the body’s fight, flight, freeze survival response, springing your ‘logical brain’ back into action. We offer a number of different activities for relaxation such as our weekly meditative yoga class, and our hypno yoga and yoga nidra one-to-ones so you’re sure to find something that will help.

Get in touch to see how we can help

Anxiety Sports Performance Hypnotherapy

Hypnotherapy for performance anxiety: Feel the fear and do it anyway!

This article is focused on start-line anxiety in runners, however, the explanation applies to all types of performance anxiety.

Imagine this: you’re getting ready for your first race. Your heart is racing and you’re sweating as you watch everyone line up at the start line. Are you going to be able to face your fear and race your heart out? Or are you going to sit this one out and miss out on what could be a personal best? Many people will turn the other way, missing out on a wonderful experience. The same sequence of events can also come up in other areas of life from work to relationships. You then have a choice to make: overcome your anxiety, or let it control everything you do (or don’t do).

One of the most common feelings in life is that of feeling uneasy when in unknown situations. Indeed, one of the most common reactions to anxiety is avoidance of situations where you find yourself feeling this way. This avoidance is a form of self-sabotage. Have you ever walked away from something important because it just felt ‘too hard’? This is what we’re talking about.

Although understanding the cause of your anxiety is important, the best way to overcome it is to look at how you respond to your fears. Sometimes the way we respond to fears can even feed fears and make them worse! By identifying how you respond to anxiety and working to change your counterproductive responses, you can overcome your anxiety and accomplish your goals.

The psychological explanation

An important element of psychology when it comes to fear and avoidance is something called ‘negative reinforcement’. This refers to behaviours which are rewarded because they remove unwanted feelings or stimuli. For example, when I have my car headlights on at night, an alarm goes off when I open my door to remind me to turn the lights off. That beeping is so annoying so to get it to stop, I turn off the lights. Doing so ends the beeping and peace is restored. In this situation the beeping is negatively reinforcing me to turn the lights off. It is rewarding me by removing the annoying noise, and the next time I use my headlights I’m more likely to turn the lights off before I open my door to avoid it.

Negative reinforcement in anxiety is avoidance. Each time you attempt to accomplish a goal but let fear stop you from achieving it, you are negatively reinforcing yourself and sabotaging your goals so you don’t have to feel fearful anymore! The more you avoid anxious situations, the more likely you are to avoid future anxiety-inducing situations and this becomes a vicious circle.

So what can you do to help yourself?

So how do you overcome avoidance behaviour and accomplish your goals? The answer is to catch yourself in the moment. Once you realise that you are avoiding anxiety, the next step is to force yourself to face your fear and see the situation through. Even if the situation doesn’t quite work out the way you hoped, mistakes can provide a valuable learning experience. It’s also important to remember that overcoming avoidance takes practice but with perseverance your anxiety may disappear altogether. The more you face those fears, the easier it will be to handle new ones, and the more goals you will accomplish!

Need help with performance anxiety? 

We offer hypnotherapy and psychotherapy for anxiety. If you would like some help, why not get in touch?