Suffering from Anxiety? Learn to Sit Properly!
“Whether you name it stress, anxiety, or whatever else – essentially, there is friction in the system.”
Questioner: Sadhguru, I suffer from anxiety. Why does it happen, and how can I control it?
Sadhguru: Mental health is a sensitive thing… When it comes to physical health, unless you have some kind of infection that comes from outside, the rest of the ailments are all coming from within us. What is coming from within you, is it your responsibility? If your body is creating an ailment from within, is it your responsibility to fix it?
Is it not true that any number of people who lie in bed like a potato till noon time are suffering from many ailments? They thought others are idiots who get up at 5 o' clock in the morning and run, swim, play, or do something else. They thought they were really enjoying life, just eating and sleeping. But after some time, it takes a toll on the system. Then they think it is someone’s fortune to have good health, while they have ill health. No! Health is created from within. If an invasion happens from outside in the form of an infection, that is a different matter.
When it comes to mental health, it is far more sensitive to say this, but still – if what happens to your body is your responsibility, is what happens to your mind not your responsibility? There may be many contributing factors. Even physical ill health may be caused due to many factors. The same may be true with mental health too. But we need to separate sadness from psychological illnesses. You cannot go to your doctor and fix your sadness; he may also be sad.
If you are medically ill, they can fix you to some extent with medication, which is a continuous manipulation of chemistry. But the most sophisticated chemical factory is right here [in the human body]. Suppose your chemistry was in your hands, would you cause anxiety or ecstasy? Definitely, your choice would be ecstasy, the highest level of pleasantness.
The problem is just this – your chemistry is out of control, for whatever reason. There may be genetic patterns, there may be pathological reasons, there may be outside stimuli, many things. But still, is it not your fundamental responsibility to take charge of your physical and mental health? The moment you think it is not yours, stalemate – it is completely out of your hands. If you see that it is your responsibility, everything may not be fixed tomorrow morning, but you can start moving towards wellbeing.
This is very important – the responsibility of who you are, what you are, what you are not, must move to you. This is my fundamental mission: from religion to responsibility. Religion means responsibility is up there in heaven for everything that goes wrong in your life. The problem is you are on a round planet and the damn thing is spinning. Nowhere in the cosmos is it marked “This side up.” If you don’t even know which way is up, inevitably, you are looking up in the wrong direction.
How come something “up there” is responsible for what you are? It is time we take this responsibility – then we can do the best we can do. Will everyone on the planet be of the same level of physical and mental health? No, that will never happen. But are we doing the best we can about ourselves? That is most important. What we can do, must happen. If we do not do what we cannot do, there is no problem. But if we do not do what we can do, we are a disaster.
There are simple ways to bring balance to the system. There is chemistry; there are various glandular functions happening in the body. The simplest thing is you just learn to sit properly. Sit in such a way that the body does not need your muscular support, that it is so well balanced that if it sits, it simply sits. Just do this for a few hours a day, and you will see – you will feel much better. There are other more complex processes that you can do to come out of this problem. But at least try this much – geometrically, keep yourself in such a way that there is no stress in the system.
Initially, it looks like there is an effort, but once you sit like this, you see that without effort, without stressing any particular part, the body just stays there. Geometry is most important. This is true of anything physical in the universe – how efficiently something functions depends on how well-structured it is, geometrically. Let’s say an engine, for example. If you call something a really good engine, it means it is geometrically well-aligned; there is no friction. If you call a building well-designed, it means it is well-structured, geometrically.
It is similar with this body and with the entire cosmos. Right now, the planets are going around the Sun. Are they handled with steel cables or something? It is just the geometry. If the solar system goes off its geometric alignment, it is finished. Only because of perfection of geometry, it is working. Similarly with your body: On one level, the whole system of yoga is about getting your physical geometry aligned with the cosmic geometry, so that being here becomes absolutely effortless.
Whether you name it stress, anxiety, or whatever else – essentially, there is friction in the system. So it is important that first, the system is geometrically well-aligned, and next, it must be properly lubricated. There are ways to do this. Where there is geometrical perfection, there is no effort; there is no friction. That is what you have to bring into your system. Do not allow these small things to take over your life. One little anxiety bothering you all the time can limit and destroy the process of your life. This must be fixed as early as possible.
Editor’s Note: Yogasanas are a way of aligning the inner system and adjusting to the celestial geometry, thereby becoming in sync with the existence and naturally achieving a chemistry of health, joy and above all, balance. Find a Yogasanas class near to you.
A version of this article was originally published in Forest Flower, May 2019.