SHELTER IN THE STORM
By Katie Garnett – Yoga Therapist, Yoga Teacher Trainer, Yoga Teacher and owner of KatieYoga in Fig Tree Lane Busselton
Well, aren’t these times of uncertainty and dramatic change? With so much happening on a local, national and global level it’s not uncommon to find ourselves in moments of disbelief, fear, grief, anxiety and stress.
We can’t change what is happening in the world around us, but we can change how we respond to it. This is YOGA: the practice of reducing the suffering we create for ourselves.
We have a choice:
- we can respond in a state of stress or anger, which may exacerbate the situation we are in;
- we can be consumed by our grief which isn’t helpful; or
- we can calm ourselves down and respond in a mindful way.
Let’s talk about how to do the latter.
When you experience an emotion or stress, think of it as a storm cloud that is covering your head. We want to get out of that storm cloud. To do this:
- Notice how you’re physically affected, for example if it is stress, you might notice tension creeping into your neck and shoulders, your heart might start racing, your hands might start to sweat and you may experience butterflies in your stomach.
- Label what you’re feeling for example say to yourself “I feel stressed” or “I feel grief” or “I feel anxious.” Be present with your feelings, you’re allowed to feel stressed, you’re allowed to feel grief, heck you’re even allowed to feel angry! How you respond to that emotion is what is important. If you go out and fist fight someone, not cool. If you go for a jog or have a vent to a friend, that’s cool!
- So, once you’ve noticed your emotion and labelled it, you can start to do the deep belly breathing in the video. Breathe slowly and deeply down into the belly. The belly should expand on the inhale and release on the exhale. Exaggerate the movement of the belly. This will draw the breath into the lower lobes of the lungs which triggers a relaxation response (a.k.a. parasympathetic nervous system activation). In other words, this breath will calm you the #*&! down.
These three steps should help pull you out of the storm cloud and bring you back into the clear, still blue sky. The emotion or stress cloud may still be there but it won’t be consuming you or impeding your judgement because you recognise that you are separate from it. Just like there is a clear blue sky above every storm, we can connect with that place of equanimity within us, no matter what emotion or stress we are experiencing. Through this practice you will come to understand that you are not the emotion or stress, because you can detach from it, you can witness it and you can choose how you respond to it. Reside in the vast expansive blue sky of awareness and let that storm cloud pass by.
Good luck everyone and remember we can’t control what is happening around up, but we can control how we respond to it. We all have the freedom to choose our response.
If you’d like to learn more about how yoga can help us destress, and improve our coping strategies and resilience please get it touch! We have high quality online live streamed yoga classes and pre-recorded yoga classes for everybody and every level (including Chair Yoga).
Contact Katie on:
0408 938 495