Book Review: If I’m So Spiritual, Why Am I Still So Anxious?
As a yoga teacher, I have had students say they aspire to be more like me. What they mean is the calm, peaceful, stress-free yogi they see when I am on the mat.
However, I quickly remind them there are times when I can also be a stressed-out, worried and anxious human being! I’m just fortunate to have a lot of yogic principles in my toolbox to pull from when I need to recenter.
“As you change the way you perceive life, your life changes; yoga calls this, sat vata parinam vata.” (Page 54)
Joy Stone is generously sharing those yogic principles with everyone in her book If I’m So Spiritual, Why Am I Still So Anxious: How To Find Your Center and Reclaim Your Joy. Stone shares her struggles of growing up in an alcoholic family, never feeling like she was good enough, and the life-long anxiety caused by her childhood. She also shares seven spiritual principles she guides her life with, as well as teaches in her Soul School Coaching Program that she developed.
“As powerful as they can be, beliefs are not facts. They’re just thoughts you’ve thought a lot.” (Page 37)
Although each chapter guides the reader through the seven spiritual principles, drawing from yogic texts such as The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, the wisdom Stone shares is also practical and relatable. In the chapter titled “Your Belief Window,” Stone suggests a journaling exercise to find which beliefs, fears, and stories often arise in our life. From there, the exercise continues to challenge and dispute those beliefs in order to find more positive energy within.
“There is only one of two states in which you can live: fear or trust. You are either living in harmony, with your true self, or out of harmony.” (Page 99)
Anxiety and worry are an extension of fear. Our fear of the unknown, our fear of repeating the past, or our fear of a perceived negative future. However, Stone points out that “the Yoga Sutra says when your body holds onto adverse memories, and your mind is left to run wild with anxiety for a prolonged period, you will experience mental and emotional symptoms of dis-ease such as general unhappiness, lack of inner peace, diminished confidence, pessimism, more anxiety, and overall restlessness.”
Stone recommends the ABCs of Conscious Living when faced with any form of fear:
Awareness: Name the fear or anxiety in a non-personal way, such as “I am experiencing…” rather than “I am…”
Breathing: Take at least three deep breaths to return your awareness to the present.
Choose: Now that you have named what you are experiencing, you can choose what you want to do and how you want to feel.
“Transformation is empowering, magical, and messy all at the same time.” (Page133)
Stone is honest in acknowledging that personal growth isn’t without challenges. Again, the Yoga Sutras warn that we will face many obstacles, including uncertainty and self-doubt. However, with a solid foundation of spiritual principles, dedicated and willing teachers like Joy Stone, and an openness to self-exploration, transformation is possible.
If I’m So Spiritual, Why Am I Still So Anxious: How To Find Your Center and Reclaim Your Joy is a recommended addition to any yogi’s spiritual journey.
More helpful yoga practice tips and inspiration from Jennifer Williams-Fields-Restorative Yoga: A Sequence to Build and Maintain Resilience.
Joy Stone is an experienced Mindset and Spiritual Life Coach, Speaker, and Educator. Joy’s special style of coaching uniquely blends essential & life-empowering teachings from eastern and western psychology & philosophy. She is the founder of Soul Subscription, An Online Soul-Centered Group Coaching Experience. Her emphasis is on teaching people the empowering practice of self-care and personal responsibility.
She received her positive psychology education under Harvard Professor, Tal Ben-Shahar, Wholebeing Institute, and her yoga teaching certification under the Anusara style — a therapeutic application of yoga psychology and practice.
Jennifer Williams-Fields E-RYT 200 is passionate about writing, yoga, traveling, public speaking, and being a fabulous single momma to six super kids. Doing it all at one time, however, is her great struggle. She has been teaching yoga since 2005 and writing since she first picked up a crayon. Although her life is a sort of organized chaos, she loves every minute of the craziness and is grateful for all she’s learned along the way. Her first book, “Creating A Joyful Life: The Lessons I Learned From Yoga and My Mom,” is now available on Amazon. She has had her essays featured on Yahoo! and Dr. Oz The Good Life. She is a regular writer for Elephant Journal Magazine, Your Tango, and YogaUOnline. See more from Jennifer at jenniferwilliamsfields.com