4 tips to calm the storm
“But you’re a yoga teacher. You shouldn’t get stressed out.”
It's like expecting a mechanic to never have car trouble, or thinking a bank teller will never experience financial hardship.
Unfortunately, yoga teacher or not, none of us have control over what happens in the brain. The internal dialogue that is running continuously speaks words we do not get to choose. What we do have control over is how we react to those thoughts. The choice you make on how to react effects your feelings, moods, and body. We all have times of a negative inner dialogue and as a yoga teacher, I have learned, practiced, and found comfort in tools that work for me in those times of need.
Imagine your life as a car travelling down a road. You are seated in the driver’s seat; in full control of what direction the car is heading. The thoughts that pop up over the course of your day are like distractions on the road. As you react to those disturbances/ thoughts, passengers begin getting added to your car. These passengers are the feelings/ emotions you experience based on your reactions. Happiness, sadness, compassion, guilt, and so on. They start to buckle in one by one and are here to stay for the journey. This is the human experience. At any given moment we are experiencing a mix of many things. It’s when the balance between good and bad is disturbed that we start to take notice.
So how does a yoga teacher find comfort in times of discomfort?
Breathing. I am not talking about some perfectly controlled slow-paced breath. Sometimes I just inhale as deep as I can, open my mouth, and let out a giant sigh “AHHHHHHHH”.
Changing my energy. It is (almost) impossible for my mood to change until my energy does. Quick hack to achieving? I change my surroundings! This does not require a meditation retreat in Bali. It is as simple as walking outside, standing barefoot on the ground and taking a look around. To feel the pulse of life happening around me instantly shakes up my energy.
Being honest. “A problem shared is a problem halved.” Now unloading my life problems to a stranger standing in line for a juice may not be the best solution. Instead, I turn to a trusted friend or family member and give myself permission to be vulnerable. Often enough, sharing how I am truly feeling, without looking for a solution, takes a tonne of weight off the anxiety, anger, or sadness I am experiencing.
It's only temporary. Nothing is permanent and the only thing that we can be sure of is change. I practice my healthy habits to get through the hard times. Then as the fog begins to lift, I relish in the good! I navigate the road ahead, strapped in with the many feelings we all experience on any given day. Trusting that however good or bad I am feeling, I am blessed with the opportunity to participate in this life.
Yoga is so much more than a 60-minute fitness class. Yoga is not a workout. Yoga is a work-IN.
I hope this helped you think of ways you can work yoga into your everyday beautifully messy life.
Miranda Morris is a yoga instructor for Activ Life, a leading health and wellness company based in the Cayman Islands. If you enjoyed this article you may also like: How can I keep up a regular yoga practise? and Yoga for the vagus nerve.