Saturday 25 May 2019

What I'm thinking about this week: Coming into balance

One of my yoga students recently asked me for asanas (yoga poses) to treat tension in the jaw. She has a really busy and stressful job (sound familiar), and her jaw is a very uncomfortable place she really feels it. I honestly felt a little stumped! The jaw I thought... I mean... I can get into the neck, and massage the jaw, but asanas for the jaw muscles? But my yoga mind shrugged, "Sure, I mean, it's all connected right?"

Working with your body, deeply, with your strengths and limitations, with your injuries and broken pieces (physical, mental, heart, and soul) takes time.

It has taken your body weeks, months and even years to get where you are today, and like any good breakup, it will take time to get out of it, move beyond it, or create something new.

Over the past 12 months, and really for years off and on (talk about patterning), I have muddled through, like Eeyore in Winnie the Pooh, depression, anxiety and more recently deep heavy stress that feels simultaneously suffocating and isolating at the same time. It makes my body ache. My chest and breath hurt, my neck, shoulders, and jaw. Stress seems to be something you load into the body, a heavy weight, difficult to shift.

Over the past couple of weeks, I've felt that unless I want to send myself into an early grave - which I most certainly am at this level of busy, corporate work, and commuting (up to three hours a day), then something has to change.

So I'm doing three things:

  1. Once to twice a week I take an Epsom salt bath and read in the bath for 45mins. 
  2. I go to gentle yoga classes three times a week (Monday, Tuesday and once on the weekend). One of the classes I'm going to is Yoga at Grace Cathedral, which is a beautiful meditative, peaceful experience. 
  3. I'm going to acupuncture, which I've never really done before but after each session, I feel a deep sense of calm, like coming out of a luxurious nap on a Sunday afternoon in the sun. Plus it's an extra 45mins of meditating a week.

While none of these are earth-shattering and certainly don't take that much time or money, they are creating a feeling of balance. Restoring what is lost due to stress. And that tension you find in your jaw, creating all manner of difficulty from chewing to swallowing, could it be that they're also related to the stress you're holding in your body because of your daily habits?

So, just for today, just for this moment be patient with yourself. Give yourself time. Be kind. While it takes a lot of effort to do so in the beginning, even just 30mins more a week of quiet, takes us closer towards balance instead of away from it.

Do you have any practices that bring you more calm and less frantic stress?

With love,
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