It’s 2021! I was looking forward to this new year because I thought that it could offer me some certainty of what might happen and come in the new year since the vaccine is out. I thought it’s a matter of time before things turn back to normal. Then on January 6th, after all that happened at our Nation’s Capitol, it plunged me back into a sense of uncertainty again. This time added a bit of insecurity as well.
It is very easy for our nervous system to be disrupted because we have gone through a lot in 2020 with the pandemic. I’ve heard of increased cases of anxiety, depression and other mental disorders. This is where I can put my training as a yoga teacher and yoga therapist student into good use.
In addition to having a deep-seated internal reserve— whether your belief is in God or deep spiritual philosophy, this is a time to turn to your inner reserve. If you don’t have one, the events in 2020 should have prompted you into the search for one. It is so important to have a spiritual belief, to believe in something bigger than yourself. I am so glad for mine.
To speed relief of fear or anxiety, there are physical movements or postures that you can do. For example: if you are anxious because of what has happened recently. You can practice the ujjayi breath by putting one hand on your chest and one hand on your belly as you constrict your throat to make the “ocean sound” as you breathe out. Feel the rise and fall on your chest and belly with each breath. Close your eyes as you go into the serenity of your belief. (i.e. the blessings that God has bestowed on you …etc.) Hear your breath and bask into its richness and the sound. Feel the warm air breathe out of your nostril and the movement on your belly….
If you are depressed, take a walk in your neighborhood, step outside your house or apartment for a while, go outdoor to breathe in the outside air. Get under the sunlight. Perhaps take advantage of the afternoon sunlight (if you live in the New England area). Vary your exposure to the sun depending on where you live. Do a few gentle movements, by stretching your hands out and upward, bending forward by hinging on your hip joints, carefully fold over to touch your toes. Use a chair or the wall to assist you if you cannot easily touch your toes. Just go slowly and come back up. Standing forward fold is a form of inversion. Anytime when our head is below our head, it is an inversion. Inversion gets oxygen and blood to your head and helps you to feel energized instantly. Or if you know the Kapalabhati Breath. This is the type of breathing that can energize you and take you out of your depressed state.
This is a parable I heard from my yoga teacher training years ago:
The Buddha told a parable in a sutra: One day while walking across a field a man encountered a vicious tiger. He fled, the tiger chased after him. Coming to a precipice, he caught hold of the root of a wild vine and swung himself down over the edge. The tiger sniffed at him from above. Trembling the man looked down to where, far below, another tiger was waiting to eat him.
Only the vine sustained him.
Two mice, one white and one black, little by little started to gnaw away the vine. The man saw a luscious strawberry near him. Grasping the vine with one hand, he reached and plucked the strawberry with the other.
How sweet it tasted!
What is the moral of this parable? Pause for a moment … read the parable again if you have to.
That’s how we have to be when we have a moment to do a short (yoga) practice on the mat or even for a few stretches in between meetings we have in our workday. There will always be work waiting to be done and crises to be faced. Why waste your present moment to think about things that you will face when you have a moment to enjoy something right in front of you. Stop worrying and enjoy the present moment while it is right here with you now.
“…don’t worry about tomorrow, because tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” ~ Matthew 6:34
Enjoy your present moment!