Using Yoga to Calm Anxiety

Yoga is for everyone

I’m pretty open about my struggles with anxiety. I have good days and bad days, and a little daily dose of Lexapro goes a long way for me. But I don’t like to simply rely on the medication to fix me. My well being requires a commitment to self-care, healthy living, and sleep, and yes, a daily medication.

One of the things that helps me SO MUCH is a simple daily Yoga routine. I’m no Yogi, but 5-10 minutes on the floor every morning stretching out those tight muscles makes a huge difference in my overall mental health. While I stretch, I focus on peaceful thoughts and set intentions for the day. As a working mother of two, it really helps me start the day with a calm power. Sometimes the little ones even join me on the floor. (Baby Abigail is really good at Downward Dog.)

I think a lot of people don’t realize that Yoga is for everyone. They think it’s for those twig-sized Instagram celebrities or for spiritual gurus. I am very far from either of those things, and I still benefit from the practice. The truth is, Yoga is accessible and relevant to anyone who wants to take part. And this is why I’m stoked that YogaFEST is coming to Gilroy this year.

YogaFEST is a “big vision” event that combines the talent of local yoga studios, businesses, and diverse cultural groups to celebrate the unifying power of Yoga. The all-day festival will be held at Christmas Hill Park on Nov. 12. There will be many different yoga sessions, dancing, food, music, children’s activities, and more.

And the other great thing? All the proceeds go to Sonoma County Wildfire Relief and Rehab.

Cultural dances include Venezuelan, African drums, Indian, and Persian.  I’m always looking for ways to expose my kids to diverse cultures, so I’m excited for the chance to take them to this. The day is open to all ages and all levels of Yoga practice from beginners to advanced.

My super basic Yoga routine has improved my mental health in a major way. Sometimes when I feel my heart pounding I stop whatever I’m doing and do some deep breathing and stretching and it stops a panic attack from coming on. Yoga isn’t the answer to all mental health problems, but it can serve as a handy tool in our toolboxes.

Whether you’re looking for a simple way to improve your day or you’re already a Yoga addict, I recommend checking out YogaFEST.

Tickets are $20. Children 12 and under are FREE. For more information, check out