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Heidi Williams was suffering from PTSD, anxiety, and depression when she decided she would use yoga to try and get herself back. She now focuses on helping those in need, to help them get away from where she once was (1).

Dedicated to inspiring

She has dedicated her life to inspiring others through self-healing and running support groups where people can connect with each other. She runs therapeutic yoga classes and retreats that would be specifically designed for depression, anxiety, and PTSD. She uses social media to spread her discovered joy of life, by demonstrating the harmony of the body and mind that everyone can achieve. Her Instagram is particularly nice to look at and comes with inspirational quotes for those still in search of their emotional peace (2).

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Doctors are on board with yoga

We went out to red rock yesterday for my birthday. No pictures. Just dev and I. The smell of dust. The sun. The heat from the rocks infused with oxidized iron giving it that vibrant firey red color. You want to know why I love it so much? It's the harsh beauty. It's the roughness of it. It's the fact that it's not soft and easy, but it's breath taking. It's healing. Somehow it is ALIVE despite the constant state of drought it's in. I told dev I want to help the broken people. The people like red rock. The harsh and scary ones. The ones that are so fucked up, that they need to be put away in a cell for the rest of their lives. Because these are my people. Because I believe in them. Because I believe in the goodness in them. That it exists. That there is a light deep within each of us that will never turn off. That can heal us. If we want it. And I believe they want it. I believe many of us really want it. That's why we fight. That's why we do crazy things. And I love them. I love all my broken family. I love all the people who have messaged me who are currently slaying dragons most people don't even believe in. I LOVE YOU! I LOVE YOU! I LOVE YOU! AND I BELIEVE IN YOU! DON'T GIVE UP! DON'T EVER GIVE UP! I have been there. I feel your pain. I am here for you. There are so many of us that are here for YOU! Remember that. Hold that. And know that you are loved. Beyond reason. Beyond anything tangible. You are loved. #spottedinsynergy

A post shared by heidiwilliams89 (@heidiwilliams89) on

But Heidi isn’t the only one who thinks treating anxiety with yoga is great. In a 2011 analysis done by Harvard researchers, they found that roughly six million Americans had been advised by their health care professionals to use mind-body therapies like yoga and meditation, and more than a third of those prescriptions were given to people suffering from anxiety (3).

Yoga for reducing anxiety

There have been hundreds of studies that have looked at the benefits of yoga. Researchers at Johns Hopkins University found that there is consistent evidence that mindfulness yoga and meditation reduced the symptoms of anxiety to some degree (4)(3).

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Staying in the moment

THOUGH BROKEN IS WHAT WE FEEL, IT IS NOT WHO WE ARE. We are inherently loving and lovable. It's not something we have to learn, it's actually something we have to UNLEARN. We've been taught how to fight and shame and degrade ourselves. But we've never been taught how do the one thing that comes most natural to us… To love ourselves. To honor ourselves. To heal our ourselves of the broken ideas we think define us. Take a look at yourself. You're the most complex creation of the universe. And so am i. You have unlimited potential. And so do I. You have magic in your DNA that comes from your divine ancestry. And so do I. You can believe in yourself and so can I. Photo magic by: @kariannphoto Outfit by: @aloyoga

A post shared by heidiwilliams89 (@heidiwilliams89) on

When considering yoga, experts agree that a combination of asana, pranayama (breathing), and mindfulness (or some form of meditation) is likely to be most effective at quelling apprehension, and science seems to agree. Meditative yoga programs have been found to alleviate anxiety in women with depression, in women who are victims of violence, and veterans suffering from PTSD.(5) (3)

Heidi Williams will continue to fight against anxiety and depression with her amazing yoga poses. She looks to inspire others to combat their mental health problems with this ancient exercise regiment and to get away from that terrible place where mental health problems dominate us.

(1) Bright Side. The ultimate proof that yoga can be sexy and inspirational https://brightside.me/creativity-photography/the-ultimate-proof-that-yoga-can-be-sexy-and-inspirational-230510/ Accessed: January 20, 2017.

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(2) Bored Panda. This Yogi’s Incredible Body Poses Are Inspiring People With Serious Mental Illnesses http://www.boredpanda.com/yoga-therapy-ptsd-anxiety-depression-instagram-heidi-williams/ Accessed: January 20, 2017.

(3) Yoga Journal. How yoga calms anxiety holistically http://www.yogajournal.com/article/health/how-yoga-calms-anxiety-holistically/ Published: July 29, 2015. Accessed: January 20, 2017.

(4) NCBI. The effects of yoga on anxiety and stress https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22502620 Published: March 2012. Accessed: January 20, 2017.

(5) NCBI. A yoga intervention for posttraumatic stress: a preliminary randomized control trial https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4558444/ Published: August 20, 2015. Accessed: January 20, 2017.

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