I have been invited to a friend’s out-of-town Birthday party on Halloween. The organizer asked my husband and me to dress as Superheroes. I know it will be a lot of fun, but I found myself saying “gosh, I am stressed just thinking about getting to this party”. Can I get my classes covered, what will I wear, which Superheroes will we be, etc.
For me, stress is my kryptonite…..it just paralyzes me!
I have noticed that during stressful times, my yoga practice can become vulnerable. It can sound something like…..
“I’m so stressed out that I can’t even think about practicing yoga”
“After I get through the next “x” event then I am going to resume my yoga practice”
“I can only come once this week so maybe I will just skip this week”
What is my antidote for this kryptonite? How have I used my yoga practice to deflect the effects of stress? I believe the following four items have helped me the most.
- Something is better than nothing – I have never completed a class and said “that wasn’t worth my time”. I am calmer, more focused and the stresses of life seem to be easy to manage after class. In fact, it is the one constant fact that brings me back to the yoga room despite everything else going on in my world. A teacher once said to me, “the worst class you will ever have is the one you don’t show up for”. It is so true!
- Getting to the studio is sometimes the hardest part – Our calendars get booked up so quickly that just finding time to practice yoga is difficult. I used to plan my week and then see if I could squeeze in a class. I changed this routine several years ago to this: “As a priority, I will practice “x” times this week, and then I will plan my other activities around my practice”. Done. I found when I changed my planning process, I actually got more accomplished on my to-do list and managed my stress better.
- Carve out 10 to 15 minutes to just focus and relax – Peace and stillness is a beautiful gift to give yourself. I find that sometimes I just need to find a quiet spot to just focus and relax. This might include incorporating a relaxing yoga posture into my day; but, it also may just be getting away from all the distractions so I can calm my mind and get my perspective on what really needs to be accomplished.
- Loose the expectations about your practice – Some days, I just give myself permission to be in the yoga room. No expectations. It is easy to get so consumed with what our postures look like that we forget the therapeutic benefits. I learned that if I give my myself permission to just show up for class that I will get exactly what I need for this moment and time.
What is your antidote to deflect the effects of stress in your life?
How have you managed to stay focused and continue with your practice during stressful time? Share your thoughts and experiences with us in the comments below! We all need a arsenal of shields and weapons to help us manage through these times. I know we will benefit from your wisdom and experiences.