For many of us, there are times in life when we turn to exercise as a way to cope with pain. Whether that pain is physical, mental, or emotional, we turn to this as a healthy outlet to burn away negative energy & to take our mind off things. After all, moving one’s body & raising endorphins is better than turning to substance, right? In moderation, absolutely it’s a healthy means to move emotions out of the body. But for some, and in my case, what started with the very best of intentions soon created a whole new almost invisible mess. I was blinded by my own ego… I was running myself to death.
It’s difficult to even think about it now. I was pushing my body WAY beyond measure… so unbalanced, so extreme. Self defeating. An ever-increasing load, & to what end? It’s interesting when you REALLY start to WAKE UP to the severe reality of your patterns. It’s scary how good we are at talking ourselves in & out of things, right?! YIKES! Thankfully, this is where yoga soon began to step in. I’ve now later learned how disconnected I was from my practice of AHIMSA – or, do no harm.
Now cynics may step in here & suggest that yoga has become my new running. Very fair, & if it was a consistent, very demanding physical asana practice where I wasn’t “listening to my body,” absolutely, that would be insanity! But there’s so much beyond this “Westernized” misconception of what yoga really is. It encompasses so much more… a balance of physical, mental, & spiritual practices, or in other words, M O V E.B R E A T H E.B E. Where running was just treating the symptoms and creating more, if you will, yoga helped me get in touch with the root cause and propelled me forward in a healthy manner.
The tools I’ve developed through my yoga practice have allowed me to BE with discomfort. To find some ease in whatever uncomfortable situation or emotion presented itself. To sit with it. BREATHE with it. To refrain from seeking external distractions isn’t meant to be easy, but we are ALWAYS stronger than we believe. And even though I’ve questioned this statement soooo many times throughout my life (I remember my mom saying these words to me as a child!) & probably will continue to do so, what’s the alternative? I strongly believe these heavy situations, emotions, and character building times in our life are here to serve us in some way. It’s up to us to navigate our way through them, seek the lesson, receive the gift & if you’re called upon, compassionately hold space for others.
I P R O M I S E, if you sit long enough & bring awareness to the beautiful exchange of your B R E A T H and just B E, that heavy emotion causing you to run, hide, reach for substance… or whatever it is that is causing you to absolutely want to crawl out from underneath your own skin…. it WILL PASS.
And remember a h e a l t h y dose of MOVE along the way never hurts;)
What can allowing yourself to B E look like?
•Sit comfortably & place one hand on your heart & one on your belly.
•Notice the rise & fall of your chest & belly. Bring awareness to this beautiful exchange.
•Feel your heartbeat.
•Connect with the prana swirling within your body, that life force energy that vibrates within all of us.
•Recite a mantra that resonates for you. A mantra is similar to that of a positive affirmation. It can be a word or a statement. One that I consistently return to when experiencing heavy emotions is, I AM LOVE. This reminds me to always choose from a place of love rather than fear. To think, act & embody love, even (& ESPECIALLY!) during times of heartache &/or pain.
•Inhale & exhale – I AM LOVE (or whatever word you choose…examples, I AM…strong, brave, beautiful, enough…)
•Allow yourself to breathe & just BE for as long as you’d like or can. When you’ve felt a wave of relief wash over you (even if just for a brief moment), gently with mild pressure place both hands over your sweet, patient, RESILIENT heart & repeat, “ I LOVE YOU. I LOVE YOU. I LOVE YOU.” This helps me seal my time within, find that beautiful space that does exist between my thoughts, & honour that emotion that has passed its way through.
It is from this space that I can begin again…
From my heart to yours,