In our Expert Interview with Yoga Teacher, Meditation Guide and Reiki Healer, Bee Bosnak, we explore how weaving yoga and meditation into daily life can help improve physical illness and emotional health. Bee shares her personal experience with practicing both in and out of the classroom and offers valuable insight on truly embracing meditation beyond asana.
Healing Anxiety With Yoga And Meditation – An Interview With Bee Bosnak
Was there any particular asana you struggled to master due to either physical or emotional reasons? Which asana was it? Did you ever succeed in mastering the pose or did you accept your limitations?
Handstand is a posture that I’m not sure I will ever get, off the wall. And I am completely okay with that. Postures never define me, the way I look at them does. My practice is a place for me to celebrate my body and my breath, not a place for me to judge, manipulate or force. There’s not much yoga in that.
What are the most noticeable physical improvements you’ve noticed as a result of your yoga practice?
My body is capable of doing things that I never could have imagined. I started the practice with a body that was tight, closed and weak. My yoga practice is a balance between flexibility and strength. The greatest physical improvement has been body awareness, healthy lower back and a heart that soars.
What are the most noticeable emotional improvements you’ve noticed as a result of your yoga practice?
For me, it’s been the ability to cultivate courage so that I can be strong enough to walk away from anything that makes me feel like I’m stuck. I use yoga postures to tackle tests that the universe throws at me. I consistently practice backbends to open my heart, so that I can expand my emotions and keep them from becoming constrained or submerged. Forward bends to keep me in an internally aware and introspective state, and inversions to keep me inspired and help me build on my courage. I use breathing and meditation techniques daily, and I feel better equipped to handle challenging situations by looking at them with a “yoga mind.” Yoga is something that I practice every moment of my life.
What is your favorite way to practice yoga: leading a class, taking a class or by yourself?
Leading yoga classes is one of the greatest offerings I can give to the universe and the people I meet. When I lead, something shifts within me and I become this vessel of energy. Offering up what I know in order to create space for my students to connect, expand and evolve. Sometimes I even question what I am saying without knowing why I’m saying it. It’s a divine experience. Giving is what I know best.
My home practice is just as important, however it’s not so much asana. Home is where I recharge and restore.
Meditation time is filled with silence and listening. Rather than asking for answers, I ask for better questions. My asana practice is currently about five times a week, strictly in the studio. I love to practice next to my students and create community. I’m also very much inspired by the teachers whom I practice with. I don’t just move my body, but I get to learn from some of the most incredible teachers in NYC. I am always a student first.
How did yoga assist with your asthma? Is there a particular breathing style you recommend for asthmatics?
Yoga has been a huge help with my asthma. Growing up with chronic asthma, I spent most of my childhood in the emergency rooms. I wasn’t allowed to play sports and my diet was in strict control to about the age of seven. I then took on swimming because it was one of the few sports that helped with breathing. Ujjayi breathing is wonderful.
Do you have any simple tips for taking yoga out of the asanas and into daily life?
Taking your yoga off of your mat and into your daily life is something that comes with time. The more you step onto your mat, the more your perception changes. The way you speak changes, the way you eat changes, and especially the way you love changes. You become empowered to say a big bold yes to that leap of faith, or a big fat no to something that isn’t serving you. The practice asks you to become the most healed and the best version of yourself. The practice asks you to put in the work, to step back into your power and own yourself.
I’m very interested in your Snippet app. Could you summarize it in just one or two sentences?
Heal Yourself is a 10 chapter snippet on how to use yoga postures to heal the emotional/subtle body. Each chapter has 3 effective yoga postures plus 1 challenge pose. Chapters include yoga for anxiety, depression, heartbreak and a whole lot more. The app is currently available on the App Store under SNIPPET.
A huge thank you!!! to Bee Bosnak for taking the time to share her insight on yoga and health, including healing anxiety through yoga and meditation.
Photo Credit: Jay Sullivan
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