Workout Wednesday: How Becoming A Yoga Teacher Helped My Anxiety

Workout Wednesday: How Becoming A Yoga Teacher Helped My Anxiety


Photo: StyleBlazer courtesy of Sabi Datoo-Lalji


It all started when I was 23 —approximately seven years ago— I was working for a womenswear brand heading up their PR/Marketing/E-Commerce/Social Media/Copy, etc, etc, you get the picture right? A lot.

I was also designing my new blog at the time, freelancing as a fashion writer and working through the new season’s show schedules for London and Paris. From the outside, my life looked perfect. You see, while managing to do it all, I was simultaneously causing havoc on my internal well-being. Long days, late nights, and not eating the right food all led to a day where I had a panic attack at work. From that numbing moment, the anxiety got worse, and work started to feel like it would never end. I started to feel ill.

Looking back I can clearly see where I was going wrong, however, at the time I wanted to have it, and do it all; I just didn’t know what cost it would come at. After a bout of stress induced irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and a few allergy tests to sort out my tummy, my nutritionist sat me down and sternly told me that at a young age, stress and overdoing it shouldn’t be affecting me and my body in such a painful and aggressive way and that if I wanted to carry on working in this fast-paced and demanding industry they call fashion, I needed to find a way to manage my anxiety. Enter: Yoga.



Photo: StyleBlazer courtesy of Sabi Datoo-Lalji


After trailing and testing various yoga studios, one stuck and come rain or shine, anyone looking for me would find me in a baby crow or warrior pose every Thursday evening. Fast forward a year and a half later and my anxiety was managed as was my IBS. With the help of meditation, stillness and Savasana I was able to keep calm in challenging situations, both at work and out of.

Through the physical practice I was able to drain my body of toxins, be flexible, build core strength and feel fit. In other words, yoga helped me to “do it all” in a more healthy way. I met my now husband, got engaged, planned a wedding and bought an apartment, while working full-time, all in the same year. You can see how jam-packed I like to keep my life…

If that wasn’t enough to bring back the panic attacks from the dead, I didn’t know what was, but then to my surprise I managed. When the dust of the aforementioned had settled, I remember sitting in my new apartment, alone meditating and reflecting. I had come a long way in a space of 2-3 years of practicing yoga. The power of Pranayama (breath control) helped me through my big fat Indian wedding, my regular Savasana (corpse pose) before bed helped me sleep soundly, as opposed to being kept up until ungodly hours with useless thoughts, and the Asanas (yogic poses) helped my body feel strong and my core feel fearless.

I was so overwhelmed with this feeling of gratitude to yoga that I immediately had an urge to want to give back.



Photo: StyleBlazer courtesy of Sabi Datoo-Lalji


I scheduled a one-on-one with my teacher at the time to go over progress, such as my emotions, how I was feeling after all the change I had just gone through, and how my anxiety and IBS was doing. All of which was stable, and for the first time in my life I felt strong; mentally, emotionally, physically and psychologically. He mentioned that there was a Teachers Training Course starting soon and that I should apply. He also nudged that some of the best teachers turned to yoga at difficult times, which in turn made them more personable and successful practitioners.

So I plucked up the courage to apply, and waited with bated breath. Fast forward a trying and testing 15 months later and there I was, a yoga teacher.

Don’t get me wrong, I still love working in fashion and would not change it for the the world, however, I also enjoy switching off and tuning in to my students and their individual stories. The reward of being a teacher is priceless, especially when you see your students progress in such a grand way. Teaching in turn taught me to stay humble, feel grateful everyday and to remain calm no matter what.



Photo: StyleBlazer courtesy of Sabi Datoo-Lalji


Yoga doesn’t promise to eradicate your problems, and magic-dust them away, it teaches you how to perceive, react and manage those little or big calamities. It trains you to see love in every situation, no matter how hard it may be. It shows you that life will test you when you least need it and you have to accept the cards you’ve been dealt in a collected and wise way. The answers you are looking for are always within you, and yoga’s main aim is to bring you, back to you.

As my teacher used to say, “Let the world move around you, but never let it move you.”

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