Another catch phrase of yoga as of lately is to take your yoga off your mat, meaning to carry the feelings of calmness and clarity from your yoga pracitice and use it through out your day, week, months, etc.
I have practiced yoga for years but not as regularly as I do now. I would do it once a week, maybe twice, still feeling the effects but not nearly as much as I do now.
This week tested the theory of practice off the mat for me.
We all plug through life getting comfortable in our schedules, paying our bills, work, kids events, but its when there is a kink thrown into our day to day life that the sliver of calmness can soon turn into a hurricane!
For me it was an unexpected visit to the dentist that threw me for a loop! Not the nicest place to go, not the nicest thing to get done to our bodies, but non the less a place we must go when something in our mouths goes wrong.
To say this visit put a kink in my weekly schedule is a bit of an understatement! It could probably be best described as someone driving a truck through my front window!
I had a couple of choices at that moment when I realized what had to be done. I could start to panic and worry about what is this going to cost, how am I going to pay for it, how much is it going to hurt, how much will I have to reschedule in order to accommodate what needs to be done, etc!
All of those thoughts went through my head like a lightening bolt, elevating my heart rate and jamming my breath into my collarbones, fingers tingling, eyes start to see stars. The onset of a panic attack seemed eminent!
I could have just sat down and hoped these feelings went away, thinking I had little or no control of what my body was going through.
If there is one things that I have learned that has so benefited my emotions is that I in fact control them, and not the other way around.
How in the hell is that possible do you ask?
At the beginning of each class I teach my students Pranayama, breathing exercises as well how to scan the body with awareness. To feel how your body is functioning on a day to day basis, hoping its doing what we need it to do in order get everything done. We go through life ignoring the signs our body is telling us until they become too big for us to ignore. Scanning the body with our minds shows us the more subtle signs of stress before they become something we feel we need to go to the doctor about.
I have been taught and pass on that knowledge of scanning and finding the problems. The health benefits are HUGE and it costs us nothing to just be aware!
In my case it started with my breath and the worry of what is going to happen, trying to manipulate the future, running through scenario after scenario of the 'what ifs' trying to prepare for what hasn't even happened!
So what did I do?
I came back to the moment. (Ha, another catch phrase!) I was holding the phone, standing in my kitchen, I wasn't hurt, my bills are paid, everything was still in order. My breath was off so I took the minute (literally) to focus on how it was traveling in and out of my body and regulated it right away. I felt for the areas of tight muscles and as I was breathing I released them. Panic attack averted before it even happened. WOW!
A year ago I know that my reaction would have been completely different.
I had to keep myself in check for the rest of the day, and a few days past. I'm sure I'll have to do it again when the appointments start to come closer. But for now, in this moment, everything is great.