Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Yoga Emergency

I’m traveling home from Lander Wyoming, a weekend of teaching some fantastic workshops. Traveling over the pass toward Rock Spring, we just hit a full-assault blizzard with 65 mph winds which trying its best to blow us off the road. We decided to call this stretch 32 miles of hell, especially after we saw the trailer that had just flipped. White knuckled at the wheel, my friend and ride share tries to calm her nerves by singing along to The Grateful Dead (irony isn’t lost on me). She breathes sighs of relief between choruses with big sigh after we reach the summit and start to head down the other side of the hill; the worst part is over.

Whether it’s a tricky spot in winter driving or something else in life, sooner or later we are bound to run into a tricky sitch. When these inevitable crises do occur, what do you have in your yoga first-aid kit? Here are a few suggestions of things you might want to have as a quick go-to that could help in tricky times to keep you going in the clutch moments when you’ve got to be on or when life’s throws you a curve.

First, off: presence. Open your eyes. Times like this make you wake up from that anesthetized state. There is no cruise control, here. If you’ve practice presence in your meditation or yoga practice, it will be easier to really be on when you need to be. If not, no time like the present (I have a pun permit, so back off). Notice what’s going on around you. Even when things are really tough, notice what’s going on in your body. Take a moment, close your eyes (unless you’re driving through a blizzard) and allow yourself to actually feel all of your body’s sensation, all your, emotions, thoughts, etc. without the need to change it. It’s always surprising to me how readily this practice of seeing things objectively, even for a brief moment, helps me develop a clearer perspective of my problems.

Breathe! Ujjaiyi breath, the whisper breath we practice in yoga, is done by breathing in and out through the nostrils and slightly constricting the breath in the throat to feel and hear a whisper. It is one of the most effective things I know to lower anxiety levels and oxygenate the body to perform optimally.

Grounding poses like forward folds and seated or lying-down twists ground the nervous system and reduce tension from the body. Any poses that reduce muscular tension (stretches) would be great to reduce stress and make you feel good. These poses send endorphins running through your body and give you a dose of Feel Good when life is crazy.

This leads perfectly to the next question: What are you doing to take care of yourself? Even if you feel like you don’t have time for anything superfluous, keeping yourself emotionally, mentally, and physically well is not superfluous. Too much relies on you being on and therefore, keep things happy. This might mean taking the morning off and strolling through Red Butte Gardens or take a jaunt into Hatch Family Chocolates (8th Ave between D and E St.) for a Peanut Butter Truffle. Eat well, simple and nourishing meals (with occasional chocolate). Get enough sleep. Especially in times of crisis, doing something for yourself to replenish the source so you have something to give back to everything that needs you. Otherwise, they will have to take care of you. Do it for yourself.

Simplify. Kindly say no to that extra social engagement. Stop trying to be perfect. Minimize and simplify. That’s why this email is going out on Tuesday morning instead of Monday. I had to simplify on Monday after a weekend away. Ha!

Finally, The House Martins help. If you don’t know this band, check them out here. When I feel like life has slapped me down, this band has always helped me get back up.

What is in your yoga first-aid kit? Respond to this email by finding this post on my Facebook page and commenting on what’s in your first-aid kit. See what others are saying.
Take care of yourself! See you in class.



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Tam said...

Moonrise over the Fountain of Youth
I breaststroke seamlessly
into the canyonwind created current
going nowhere having been
heading toward the tufa source
kicking off the past
folding in the future
the train rolls by leaving
trailing horn sounds
I turn around into the space
I have created for this
symbolic moment
I get gently pushed with the waves
toward the stairs to
back into a