Category Archives: tips for yoga practice

Morning Anxiety

If I were to define anxiety in general, I would say it’s formless. It is ever shape shifting.  Unique and different almost everyday. But I am determined now to befriend it, understand it instead of succumbing to it’s dark forces. Instead of labeling it a blanket term of “anxiety” I am starting to get to more detailed in what I am feeling in that specific moment. What I’ve learned is that it’s different every time.  And usually, as it’s occurring I don’t even realize it! Because anxiety isn’t a feeling. It’s a build up of a lot of feelings.

When I’m experiencing “anxiety” what I am actually “experiencing?” I am asking myself “what is coming up for me in that moment?” How can I acknowledge it and alleviate it? At the very least I’ve started to talk about it. It’s important for me to call attention to it instead of silently battling.

This morning for example, I woke up and could not bear the thought of getting out of bed. I had two errands and I felt like it was impossible. That’s a usual sign for me I’m having anxiety. I have learned to become a detective while I’m also not thinking clearly. It’s been a process. 

Why did I feel like it was impossible? Because I was tired? Maybe too tired? I was also cold. My lungs kind of hurt and there is that a Corona Virus pandemic we’re all dealing with.  Little by little any reason to not get up- started to pile up. Like a thousand soldiers of problems, issues, fears etc… all lining up towards the edge of an errant cliff and in one swoop of a domino like effect- all my problems could tumble me over the edge sending me into an abyss. 

A picture containing covered, table, man, mountain

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Dramatic huh?  

I think this particular anxiety occurs when everything seems beyond my control. So even the most basic “to do” list can seem impossible to me. The errands seem like a pile on to an already endless vastless list in my head. Subconsciously I am worried about health, taxes, bank balance, bills, relationships, work  etc…  things that I am  aware of but also not an immediate pressing issue. So I’ve also concluded anxiety is not rational.

Today I am in a new environment (staying in Chicago).  I don’t know my routine. I pulled the blanket over my head and hit “snooze.” I fell back asleep quickly but knew that if I didn’t get up with the second alarm, a worse anxiety would occur and that would be in the form of me yelling at myself all day for being an hour behind on things. That’s a real fun one!

 This state, I mind you, is a terrible start to the day. Overwhelmingly terrible. Terrible for my body for my brain and I am tangled into fear paralysis. No joy. 

So what do I do? I turn to my handy tools! This kind of morning, a self sabotaging anxious riddled morning I’ve learned it’s best to be extra cuddly with myself. So I turn to what is most trusted. A gentle yoga practice. Gentle because I need it to feel good. I need to feel better.

            I know what you’re thinking, “how does this woman have time to sit around and contemplate what her issues are? I’m so busy (with work, parenting etc..) when I wake up I don’t even have a choice!  I don’t even have time to deal with this!” 

            Yes my time is a privilege. And because of it- I am able to contemplate, create and construct simple and effective yoga routines to immediately help us all. Because you may not have time. But that doesn’t mean anxiety isn’t there.  If it is, here is an immediate way to support you for the most optimized day.

 If  you don’t have time to feel into it, or take time to listen to yourself, it doesn’t mean it “disappears.” It means it gets buried. Being busy can numb and suppress it and then years of stress and emotion can build. It’s important to pause and reflect. Practice the following for morning anxiety and you will have a complete and immediate turn around of your day. 

            The reason I wrote the above, is because sometimes we run around with a deep sense of uneasiness, fatigue, depression, uncertainy, fear etc.. I want to help link those feelings with this healing calming practice. So if you ever feel this faceless angst lingering at the edge of your awareness, you can crawl on to your yoga mat sanctuary and utilize this supremely serene routine!

Gentle Yoga for Morning Anxiety 20 minutes

Duration 4-5 minute each pose

5 Yoga Breakthroughs for 2017

Let’s begin this year with my best advice  for practicing yoga.

1. Keep mats in every room

This is a pretty interesting development in my house. First of all I have very beautiful mats.  They are called “Magic Carpets.” They are so pretty that I decided one day to leave them out, one at the foot at my bed and the other in my living room.  Not only did they look very cool and chic, I noticed my urge to hop on it constantly.  Right after I shower I started a ritual of doing yoga on my mat while waiting for my lotion/oils to absorb.  It has helped me start the day so refreshed and awakened.  I also noticed working in my office living room how nice it is to get out of the chair and do a few yoga poses in between emails etc.  Trust me, this is game changing for your mind and body as well as your practice.

2. Yoga at Dawn

If you are anything like me, someone who loves to sleep in, this is going to be the challenge of a lifetime.  But the reward is ever more sweet. I do not think there is a lazier person on earth then me, deep down.  I could lay in bed all day if someone paid me.  I just love it. I love to rest! I started yoga because of the laying down “savasana” at the end! A girl like me could not be dragged to yoga in the early morning.  But there it was, this pestering, pesky, persisting desire to quite possibly make it to that 6:30 am  class, that way I could get a practice in before work. But for weeks, I snoozed right through it.  Finally, close to new years, I happened to spring up super early, in time to make it for class and I just bit the bullet and made myself go.  Maybe the pressure of starting 2017 off with good habits got to me. I don’t know.  Anyway all I can say, is upon arriving to class the sun was beginning to rise and it was so beautiful it took my breath away. Every day we  have this natural phenomenon that I just carelessly snooze right through. I was truly stunned. It also happened to be such a wonderful gentle class, I think one of my most profound yoga classes maybe ever.  Rising with the sun made me feel truly awakened. Like I was waking up with the earth.  It was so moving and peaceful I have continued to go! Take it from me, don’t fight it. Just show up and try it, see for yourself!  It finally dawned on me, yoga at dawn! For the rest of the day you will sail, you will soar! You will just be so at ease with whatever life throws you.

3. Read B.K.S Iyengar

Also known as the “Father of Western Yoga” he is one of the most brilliant yoga teachers from India who helped teach and share yoga in America.  I am currently reading “Light on Life” and it is a wonderfully deep knowledgable look into a life long yogis mind.  I feel like every page is a privilege. I always feel like I am just a beginner in my yoga journey and by reading “Light on Life” I reap the benefits of someone who’s entire life was dedicated to it.

4. Do yoga on your lunch break at work

Even if you made it to your morning practice, your body needs to stay moving.  This energy you craft and cultivate carries you forth. It is imperative to de-stress, work out any stiffness or tension and help circulation. This keeps you awake, alert, balanced and energized into the evening.

5. Pick a pose and work towards it

This is not an ego thing, just a way to keep yourself improving. For the longest time I had no yoga goals when it came to poses because I just loved feeling so blissful and peaceful. I realized though with a steady 8 year practice there were still some things I could not do.  I then began to realize in my practice I was quite lackadaisical. I started to see that I was far more capable of things yet I never really pushed myself. However once I set my mind towards it, what a beautiful sensation it is to achieve.  For example, having tight hips, lotus pose was very difficult for me. But through regular practice and yes sometimes I stay an additional 15 minutes after class, when I am nice and warm, to work on the series of poses I’d like to learn.   It paid off (those little extra sessions) because after a hot shower and waiting for my lotion to absorb I decided to hop  on my mat at the edge of my bed, and Voila! LOTUS! I thanked the stars! It was such a euphoric feeling to me. I knew it came from  my heart and my body and all the extra effort I have been putting forth.

Systematically you get rewarded if you put the right effort in.  But that comes from being in tune with your vibration and not your ego. I’ll save that for my next blog. But for now please heed these 5 easy ways to improve your yoga practice as they have been hugely beneficial for me!