You know when you’re out at night and you accidently make eye contact with a possum and that possum kind of just falls over and pretends its dead so that you won’t eat it? And I mean, you both know that the possum is totally alive, but you just walk away because what are you going to do?
Well I’m that possum. At least, I’m that possum when I’m feeling overwhelmed, and my deadlines are stacked higher than they should be. It would be great if my response to a crazy amount of work was to take it one step at a time, but it’s not. Instead, my body and my mind just kind of collapse into a big pile of human spaghetti. Which just doesn’t help anybody involved because unlike the human who will probably just look the other way, my responsibilities are more than happy to play chicken with me.
Fortunately, there is a solution. If you guessed yoga, you’re right! A few years ago I would have said “What are you crazy? I don’t have time for that!” but let’s be honest. In triple the time it would take me to get to yoga, do the yoga, and come back; I would probably have made five cups of tea, stared out into space, and watched a ton of crafting videos that have no relevance to my life whatsoever.
So how does yoga help? Well my anxiety tends to be like slimy goop. It makes it harder for me to move, to think, or to accomplish anything. That’s when I apply heat! Yoga that raises energy, and the heat in your body, is a great way to reset yourself. It’s kind of like taking candy melts and microwaving them so you can mold them to whatever you need. As one of my instructors says, “You cannot make change without heat, without passion”
Yoga also allows the body to be more aware of itself and its movements. And of course the period that you take at the end of your practice in savasana helps you come to a point of rejuvenation.
There’s also another kind of anxiety that I feel in my life sometimes and this one is almost the complete opposite of playing possum. It’s more like a rabbit that takes off into the distance to who knows where. The jittery feeling that I experience moves my body into non stop motion that makes it very hard for me to concentrate. Instead, I’m off in all sorts of directions that lead no where. Or I run around in circles. This is equally non productive and in my experience, worse.
This kind of anxiety tends to grab me by the heart and stomach, making it easy for me to feel sensory overload (and sometimes pretty crabby). Fortunately, yoga is equally effective in bringing me back to my center. For this particular feeling, I prefer a more relaxed yoga like restorative yoga. Sanctuary yoga has a lovely candlelight restorative yoga that is conveniently in the evening (usually when this is more likely to strike for me). However, alternate nostril breathing always works in a pinch (haha get it?). And if I’m feeling especially agitated, I focus on the left nostril for a little longer (as it is said that the left is for calmness and right for energy).
It’s important to get things done, but the best way to do that is to take care of yourself first. Feeling anxiety from time to time is nothing to be ashamed about, but not taking the time to center yourself can often make things worse. Making sure you’re in your best form is ultimately beneficial for everyone and not at all selfish! Thank yourself for taking the time to engage in your practice. Trust me, it’ll make things a little bit easier for everyone.