Thursday, August 27, 2015

Recognize stressor, Relax with breath, Release the tension or negativity! Come Home to Yoga! Come Home to Tranquility!

Yesterday as I was teaching the Pose Specific Class on Tuesday, I came up with a new mantra that goes along with our focus in August of the Breathe, Relax, Feel, Watch, and Allow (BRFWA for short).  

Anxiety, stress, fear stories, and tension are part of living in the present age.  Whether you are a teenager, a 20 something, a 30 or 40 year old with young families, a 50 year old with changing bodies, a 60 or 70 year old or young at heart, these issues affect all of us.  The purpose of yoga is for the whole body, soul, and spirit; the workout is amazing, the mental practice is life changing, and the spiritual side is cultivated with peace, rest, and God's presence in relaxation.

Brian's new motto is "Come Home to Yoga; Come Home to Tranquility," and it goes well with my mantra of recognize, relax, and release because it brings you home to your inner self whether you are on the mat in class or consumed with a relationship struggle or at night with insomnia or in your car in traffic or at work with a cranky person... 
1.  Recognize

  • When you feel anxious, stressed, impatient in traffic, or worried, your brain cannot distinguish between real fear (imminent danger) and a fear story (worry).  It sets off the "fight or flight sympathetic nervous system."
  • Your heart beat speeds up, your body heats up, and your breathing becomes more rapid.  Problem: More inhale; less exhale.  You have a physical reaction to a mental stressor.  The body tightens and tenses.
  • Often times, in meditation class, I encourage you to imagine that your mind is like a big blue sky.  A dark cloud passes by, you notice it as a distraction or negative thought, and let it go.  A beautiful light fluffy cloud of peace or positive nature, I encourage you to stay with it.  You become the "Observer" of your thoughts.  Don't judge yourself; just witness it.
  • "Recognize" literally means.  Stop and think about what you are thinking about that causes the fear, anxiety, triggers for stress.
2.  Relax
  • Breath practice, or Pranayama (breath control), is just what it says.  You practice consciously breathing.  The breath is autonomic (you breathe without telling yourself to), and it is also somatic (able to be controlled by your thinking and action).
  • When the "Fight or Flight" takes over due to the fear response of thinking thoughts, engage the "para" ("I have come alongside to help") nervous system of slowing your breath down.  
  • You can breathe in your nose slowly and exhale audibly or pretend you are blowing out a birthday cake candle.  Then, slow it down even farther by breathing in and out your nose.  Make the exhale longer each time without constricting the breath or holding it in any way
  • Now, relax your body using the "Body Scan" meditation idea of starting at the crown of the head or tips of your toes.  For example, "Forehead, relax and release.  Corners of the eyes, relax and release, cheeks slide towards the ears, ears soften and quiet, jaw line relax and release, tongue moves away from the palate and relaxes into the back of the throat...." just like I say to you in preparation for Savasana or breath practice in class.
3.  Release
  • Here is the opportunity to choose for yourself.  You do have control over your thoughts, and you are not a victim of your circumstances.  You can choose be proactive or reactive.
  • Say to yourself, "I release or resist that fear, anxiety, stress, worry,..."
  • Say to yourself, "I choose to think about what is good, kind, loving, and compassionate for myself and others."
  • As you say this to yourself (even if you still feel the fear), believe that change is on its way and release the negativity with each exhale.
  • Numbing behaviors are what we often choose when we decide to keep the anxiety.  These are cyclical and just create more drama in our lives.
As someone who has struggled with anxiety, I know this works because I am using it in my own life.  The more I practice, the better I become at the "letting go of aversion or attachment" because they do indeed cause suffering.  I am not exempt from suffering, and neither are you.  Our choice, however, is how we will handle the real fear and the fear stories that go along with it.  
May you find peace and well-being from this practice.
Jeanne K

  • Beginner Classes are every day of the week!  Join Jeanne K, Sheri, and Ashley as we teach MWF at 12:00 p.m. and MW at 6:45 p.m., T/TH at 9:00 a.m., 12:00 p.m., and6:45 p.m.  Saturday at 10:30 a.m.
  • Moderate Classes are for Seasoned Beginners who can modify or enhance their practice.  I consider myself a "Seasoned Beginner."  Join me at 6:30 a.m. on MWF, 5:30 a.m. on T/TH, 7:00 a.m. and 12:00 p.m. on Saturday.
  • Power/Vigorous Classes are for the Seasoned Beginners, Intermediates, and Advanced to strengthen and challenge.  MWF at 9:00 a.m., MWF at 5:30 p.m., T/TH at 10:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m., Saturday at 9:00 a.m. with Jeanne; come with the attitude of play and practice.
  • All Levels can enjoy our Sunday Meditation and Slow Vinyasa Flow at 4:00 p.m. and 4:30 p.m.  Jeanne is once again the teacher.
  • Hot Yoga is coming soon!  The floor is on, and we will be sweating to the beat of the music with our Vinyasa Flow on Friday evenings sooner that we imagined.
  • Power Pilates will be our Thursday afternoon class (similar to 9:00 a.m. on Saturday morning) on October 1st at 4:15 to 5:15 p.m.

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