I don’t teach yoga, I teach transformation.
This statement at the top of Alex Wilson’s Instagram Bio does not only express what she wants her followers to gain from her practice and her content, but also the growth she has experienced herself. The self-proclaimed Anxious Yogi has turned her own mental wellness journey into a career in helping others.
Her Mental Wellness Journey
Alex has had her fair share of anxiety throughout her life.
“I’ve struggled with anxiety for a long time — since I was a kid. But I was raised in a (mostly) healthy and happy home. I was raised to be optimistic and hardworking and independent — and so I was. But that has NEVER stopped anxiety from impacting me, making my life harder than it needed to be, or taking me down dark pathways and at times hating myself,” she says.
When asked to describe the person she was before her journey, she describes herself as being “insecure, anxious, and lonely.”
“Back then, I had absolutely no sense of myself or what I wanted out of life. I did things because they were what I was supposed to be doing. I melded myself to the people I hung around with and never explored my own interests. I always felt like I needed to strive to please others in order to fit in, and I had no real concept of self-care. I hated to be alone and there was a sadness in myself that I hadn’t really confronted,” she explains.
Seven years ago, Alex decided to make a change. She mentioned that a particular episode of Ugly Betty gave her the inspiration to take the first step.
“In the episode, Betty repeats a mantra aloud to herself — I am strong, confident and capable — or something like that. I had been watching Betty chase her dreams and she inspired me,” she says.
“And when she said that mantra out loud to herself, something just clicked — I realized that if I ever wanted to make my life look the way I wanted to look, I would need to become less anxious and more confident. So I started right then and there, saying that mantra to myself, every day.”
Today, Alex describes herself as being confident, self-assured, sometimes a little anxious, but never lonely.
“Today, I know who I am. I have a pretty good idea about what I want in life and I work hard to make those things happen. I choose who to hang out with people based on what we have in common and I stay ME in those relationships, without feeling the need to change myself one bit. I am interested in so many things, and I frequently get lost in the exploration of those things. I no longer feel the need to constantly please others, and instead, focus on taking care of myself. Now I love spending time alone, taking care of me and doing me things. I’ve explored the sadness inside of myself — it’s still there sometimes, but I know it, I care for it, and I accept it for what it is,” she says.
What is Ayurveda?
Alex credits much of her mental health improvement on the practice of Ayurveda. She first learned about it when she was in yoga teacher training in 2016. According to Alex, Ayurveda Yoga could be described as “movement medicine.”
“Yoga that is informed by Ayurveda involves practices that are designed to meet the physical and energetic needs of people based on mind-body type. If you’re the kind of person who tends toward anxiety, restlessness, and poor digestion, for example, an Ayurvedic yoga sequence can be designed to help you work with those issues,” she explains.
The practice of Ayurveda also goes beyond the yoga mat. The term “Ayurveda” is a holistic method of healing that often involves diet, herbal treatment, and meditation.
“My very favorite thing about Ayurveda is that it empowers people to manage their physical and mental health in a way that’s natural and holistic. It’s all very magical to me,” she says.
Healthy eating is a major topic Alex writes about on her website. Having improved her diet over time with the help of Ayurveda, Alex can attest to the benefits of eating right.
“Since making certain changes in my diet, I’ve noticed that my anxiety isn’t necessarily gone, but it’s less frequent, and it’s easier for me to manage. And when I do eat certain foods that are not so good for me, I notice myself struggling more to get a hold over my mental state. Plus I feel crappy, and feeling crappy makes me anxious, “she says. “When I maintain a healthy, balanced, nutritional diet that fits my unique needs, I feel better physically, which leads to me feeling better mentally.”
Her Advice to You
For those trying to improve their mental health, Alex offered the following advice:
“I would say start by recognizing that first of all, you are not alone. There are so many people out there going through the same thing in different ways. And there are plenty of people out there who have learned to live happily and successfully despite anxiety, low self-esteem and other mental health struggles,”she says. “Secondly, know that this is not forever. Things can change, and if you focus on getting better, with time, you will.”
Check out Alex Wilson’s website Alexcwilson.com for more advice on Ayurveda, anxiety management, self-care, and a ton of other awesome resources.
Also follow Alex Wilson on Instagram @Iamalexcwilson