You're so Close!
About a few months ago I noticed myself becoming a little lack luster towards my practice, and a bit stuck in my daily life. Actually very stuck, like I was trying to do laps in a pool of thick mud. I was riding an emotional rollercoaster and just not acting like myself. I was also suffering from extreme fatigue and major amounts of anxiety and stress which I threw up to the fact that I was in a major life transition: A new job and my very first solo NYC apartment. Exciting stuff! But in the midst of this truly awesome step in my career and home, I was letting my self care and yoga practice fall to the wayside. I was letting my spiritual toolbox get quite dusty, and I while I was aware of all these things happening at once, I was a bit at a loss as to why and how to fix it.
A few weeks ago I was diagnosed with Graves Disease, an autoimmune disease that causes hypothyroidism. It’s not fun. It was a relief, sort of, to find out that I wasn’t just stressed out and over tired and being lazy, but my body was actually working against me. And that’s because I wasn’t treating it like the sacred temple that it is. It helped me realize that my lifestyle was no longer serving me to my highest potential, or even to a half-way decent level. It really shouldn’t take learning that you have a disease or serious injuries to point these things out to you, but sometimes, it does, and it jumps in front of you waving giant red flags in your face so you can’t miss it. And there you are, dumb-founded at your current predicament.
There are in fact warning signs to oncoming disease (usually) and dammit if hindsight isn’t 20/20 vision, and in these times of struggle and distress, I’ve never been more thankful that I’m a yogi. I actually have most of the answers in the hundreds hours of training to help others, to help myself. And it is long overdue that I seriously dusted off that toolbox and started using my skills for me.
I’m so close, I can feel it all at my grasp….if only I can stretch a little bit farther, get a little bit stronger, take the slow and sometimes painful baby steps towards recovery and rebirth. It will get easier. Making big life changes can be challenging. When we know we should be on the meditation cushion, we are repeatedly hitting the snooze button on our alarm. We can hear the whisper of our body telling us something isn't right and we keep marching on. "Tomorrow will be a better day to start," we tell ourselves. Procrastination becomes our closest ally. Eventually though, those whispers become screams and we can no longer continue to ignore the pain.
I want to rekindle my relationship with me. For far too long I’ve been just struggling to survive and just get by, but that’s not isn’t good enough anymore. I am facing my past with a stern unblinking gaze and a warm, forgiving heart. I am blessed with beautiful friends and family that support me, who lift me up and point me back in the right direction when I have fallen or lost my way, and yes! It’s OK to fall down, many times. Falling down is the building block of resilience.
Each day we should simply strive to do our best.. It’s simple. A baby step heading in the right direction is so much better than standing still.
From this point on I vow to listen the soft whiper of my body.. To rest when it asks. To only feed it uplifting foods. To keep my appointments with my yoga matt. To release the things that reverse healing and impede its work. From this point on I vow to simply do my best. That’s all any of us can really do.
Here is a simple sequence to do right in your bedroom in the morning, at night or whenever you’re feeling overcome by anxiety, stress, depression or just all the bad feels at once. Feel free to change it up as you feel works best for you and your body. Leave comments or questions below after trying it out!
1. Sit in a comfortable seat, put some chill tunes on and close your eyes. With a gentle force move your head and neck around in slow deliberate circles. Let your inhales and exhales be long, strong and loud.
2. Continue this as you start to move your shoulders around and then stretch your arms long to each side. Keep you seat planted on the ground as you reach your right are up and then over your head to the left and then switch. Do that a few times until you feel more loosened up.
3. Make your way into down dog, moving very slowly, breathing long. Stretch one leg up to sky and bend the knees and move all around. Then test out the other side.
4. Walk your feet towards your hands and come into a forward fold, with slightly bent knees. Big breaths here and even bigger SIGHS on the exhales. Make lots of noise and let it all out. Option here to clasp your hands behind your back and stretch the shoulders by bringing you hands towards your head. More big sighs.
5. Bring your left hand down to the floor and bend your left knee. Big inhale and on your exhale lift your right arm up into a little twist. Then switch sides after a while.
6. Take your time and when you’re ready, move back into down dog for 5 breaths.
7. Child’s pose. Connect. Focus on your breathing.
8. Bring yourself to lay on the floor in front of one side of your bed with your feet facing the bed. Lift your legs and up and scooch yourself along the floor until you can drape your legs on the bed, bending at the knees. Take any arm formation you’d like, resting hands on your belly or lifting your arms above your head. Stay here as long as possible.
Stay strong. You're so close.