On the Edge of Yoga

I found myself lying in savasana, well actually supported fish, at the end of my favourite yin/yang class – Monday mornings 9:30-11 – almost completely relaxed. I was surprisingly able to be present today. I love the classes in which the messages from the instructor all seem resonate with my own mental state (read: anguish). This morning, the instructor said something about remembering why you came to this particular class on this particular day, and to hold onto that throughout the practice. Those words worked for me.

Why did I go to this particular class on this particular day? Because I have felt very anxious and panicky lately. I had managed a few weeks ago to calm things down, but lately all the panic has returned. The only thing I think I am doing differently is not making it to as many yoga classes (and responding to more Daily Prompts…but surely that can’t be having a negative effect, can it? I may be addicted…). Last week, for example, I only made it to the Monday morning class. Yin/yang has always been my favourite – just enough yang to grab my attention from whatever negative thing it is focusing on, just enough yin to breathe deeply and pause for a while.

Today, my mind certainly did wander, but I remembered the instructor’s message and kept thinking, “I am only here for this hour and a half, then I will be back out there. I want to enjoy this as much as possible and soak up the calm.” And this helped to bring me back to where I was.

At the end of class, as I lay there in supported fish, I could feel every body part relaxing as the instructor walked us up visually from our toes to the crowns of our heads. And then, I had the strangest sensation. I felt like a bearskin rug, splayed flat and heavy and lifeless across the supporting bolster. Physically, I had managed to relax completely. But I could feel the alertness of my brain – it was as if it was a little alien trapped inside the head of the bearskin rug! It was awake and alive and having all kinds of thoughts. No one thought to tell it to relax. I did my best to think “I am calm,” “I am present,” but I was hyper-aware of everything going on in that room.

I can usually zone out in savasana, I may have even fallen asleep before, but not today. I was very aware of everything: someone was snoring, the air conditioner came on, then when I was used to its white noise, went off, there were sounds of cars and trucks from the street.

I still managed to leave yoga feeling calmer and slightly trance-like…as if the bear rug had come to life…I definitely did benefit from having been there, and been present. That is why I go to yoga after all, and why I think I will have to make an effort to go more often than a measly once a week.

After yoga, I went and sat under the largest, gnarliest willow tree I could find. I absorbed the sun and the warmth and the breeze. It felt as though the tree was my protective canopy, hanging over me with its strength and the wisdom of at least 200 years. It was knobbly and its bark was so rough that it looked like an old wizened face – it was majestic! I thought of all the creatures that rely on it as it stands there, steadfastly, through all kinds of weather and changes. Oh to be like that tree!

Beyond yoga, spending time in nature, and writing, I know that I need to try to do fewer things in the day so that I don’t put myself into a situation in which I am madly trying to rush around, doing more things than I possibly can in my waking hours. And to achieve that, I need to stop feeling like everyone around me is expecting me to do things, and blaming me if they don’t get done. I need to stop trying not to worry about what they think, and just disregard it all completely. Because 9 times out of 10 the pressure is my imagination, and on the rare occasion when they do actually have expectations I can’t meet, those are their expectations and not mine.

Oh, so easy to say, so hard to put into practice.

I guess that’s why I’m still on the edge!

Here’s how others experience the edge:

  1. Island Dreaming: Meditation | Musings from a practical mystic
  2. An eclectic mix of decorative lamps | weliveinaflat
  3. Daily Prompt: Activity | Books, Music, Photography & Movies : my best friends
  4. The Secret Door Remains | Daily Prompt: On the Edge | likereadingontrains
  5. The End of Edginess | The Reluctant Journalist
  6. Daily Prompt: On the Edge | Under the Monkey Tree
  7. Daily Prompt: Activity | A mom’s blog
  8. Daily Prompt: On the Edge | Fasting, Food and other musings by determined34
  9. Even Keel? What’s that? Daily Prompt | alienorajt
  10. Daily Prompt: On the Edge « Mama Bear Musings
  11. On an even keel | Sue’s Trifles
  12. Daily Prompt: On the Edge | littlegirlstory
  13. Daily Prompt:On Edge | Motherhood and Beyond
  14. Dinosaur Day | Andante Cantabile
  15. Instead of Sitting… | It’s a wonderful F’N life
  16. It’s a Balancing Act | mentalrollercoaster
  17. Getting busy | contrailsonmyheart
  18. 144. On the Edge | kevindeisher
  19. All I Need to Keep My Head in the Game | Creative Mysteries
  20. Walking The Precipice | Tony’s Texts
  21. “On the Edge” | Relax
  22. On the Edge? « Restawyle
  23. On The Edge: Finding My Bliss | suzie81’s Blog
  24. Don’t Even Your Keel With Your Heart | The Jittery Goat
  25. Tranquility [Daily Prompt: On the Edge] | unknowinglee
  26. Remember to stay in the lines | notsinglebutnothappy
  27. Daily Prompt: On the Edge | Chronicles of an Anglo Swiss
  28. Daily Prompt: On The Edge | The Land Slide Photography
  29. I Need Quiet | Hope* the happy hugger
  30. What Keeps Me Happy | Sincerely, Ms. Roberts
  31. BOUNCING AND BALANCING | Emotional Fitness
  32. Daily Prompt: On the Edge | My Atheist Blog
  33. Daily Prompt – Activity | imexcited
  34. Gamer/Blogger/Artist | My OCD Diaries
  35. Even keel. | ayimas
  36. Writer by Nature, Accountant by Trade – On the Edge | thanks for letting me autograph your cat
  37. the UNCATEGORISED|Daily Prompt : On the Edge | the TRASH BASH
  38. Subtle Signals | Spirit Lights The Way
  39. i dance, therefore i am | FamousFeline
  40. Relaxing with Nature | Haiku By Ku
  41. A House With Four Rooms | Spirit Lights The Way
  42. On the edge? Teetering on the brink! | Life & Times
  43. Daily Prompt | On The Edge : Get Off Of My Cloud | Between Screens
  44. I’m a potterer abouterer | Random Encounters of an Inquisitive Mind
  45. 20 Ways To Improve Life Balance | Spirit Lights The Way
  46. On the Edge | Geek Ergo Sum
  47. Just Another Swinger | JuSt ViSiTiNG THiS PLaNeT…
  48. A talk, a prayer and music | Life is great
  49. Daily Prompt: On the Edge | Imperfectly Perfect
  50. Cast a Different Course….(wp daily prompt) | Daily Observations
  51. On The Edge: From DISASTROUS to MIRACULOUS (Part 2) | The Abuse Expose’ with Secret Angel
  52. Daily Prompt: On the Edge | expandingmiddle
  53. Daily Prompt: On the Edge | Let There be Peace on Earth
  54. Daily Prompt: How to Avoid Sea Worms and Cucumbers | One Starving Activist
  55. Moon With a Moustache… on the edge of a Full Moon | An Upturned Soul
  56. The place between the night and the day | Vampire Maman
  57. Balancing the edge. | life on wry
  58. On the Edge: Today’s Daily Prompt | I solemnly swear i am upto no good!
  59. Daily Prompt: Off the edge and the ledge | SERENDIPITY
  60. Daily Prompt: On the Edge | Ruminations from an Introvert
  61. Just on-edge | cellarfloor
  62. On Edge? Iron! | Love Those “Hands at Home”
  63. Daily Prompt: On edge, what do you do? Usually, I jump off! | jennifermarshcurtis
  64. Daily Prompt: On the Edge | ModrenHippieMom
  65. My Cats – The Editor in Chief & The Momma’s Boi (Daily Promt: On The Edge) | Life In The Passenger Seat
  66. 弱虫モンブランのブログ
  67. On the edge – I sit still, take a deep breath and I pray | Byline Anonymous
  68. Raspberries: my 1000 word response to the Weekly Writing Challenge | alienorajt
  69. Daily Prompt: On the Edge | LADYBOY PROMPT
  70. On the Edge | The Nameless One
  71. Regrown | Broken Light: A Photography Collective
  72. That Exhilarating Finish | Many More Ripples
  73. RAMBLING POST | hastywords
  74. Staying Afloat is Vital to My Wellbeing | djgarcia94
  75. Amber Edwards
  76. Calm down, brother | Neva Samaki

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2013/08/19/daily-prompt-activity/

18 thoughts on “On the Edge of Yoga

  1. That’s great – and I love the bit about the bearskin rug. It seems to me that this could be very significant, as if you have collected a protector, a guardian, a totemic animal to give you strength in times of anxiety. I don’t know because I do not do Yoga, and my area of study/practice lies within the Western Mystery Tradition. But that was what came to mind when I read your excellent piece. Ali x

    • That is a lovely thought, Ali. It gave me shivers. I was feeling it was one of the worst posts yet, so thank you for the compliment and the idea about a totemic animal. I also went back and added a paragraph about a willow tree.

      • I think your instinct is working brilliantly. Willow tree and bear. I’ll see what I can find out about symbolism for them both. I feel there is something to be discovered here. x

  2. I went to yoga tonight for the first time in ages. I needed it, and afterwards I scorned myself for not going regularly as it. One of my friends does a lot of shamanic practices, and her spirit guide is a bear 🙂

  3. Spot on with the willow: they possess a sacred and protective character, and are associated with miraculous births, though the latter attribute could be taken symbolically. The bear is associated with warriors. King Arthur’s name means ‘bear’ – which is doubly fitting because bears hibernate from Winter to Spring – and, of course, Arthur, also known as The Once and Future King, and the Sleeping Lord, is rumoured to be ‘sleeping’ with his knights until such time as the land needs them once more. What a brilliant totem animal to have chosen. Wow! Hope this helps. Ali x

    • Wow – that was impressively quick. Thank you!
      So I guess I should spend more time with the willows. Interesting that I am always drawn to them and, in fact, we have just bought a tiny one to go in our tiny back yard.
      Also interesting about the bear. Especially as we had been doing warrior poses in yoga. Perhaps in the warrior there is calm, or I need to pull on the strength of the warrior, or I was seeing myself as a sleeping warrior who needs to awake from my current state of mind…I could go on. Perhaps in a future post!

    • Wow, that’s interesting. Adrenal fatigue is what I’ve been dealing with the past couple of years, thus the naturopath and hormone therapist. You are too young for issues of menopause which ramps up the anxiety factor, especially with adrenal fatigue present. (It’s been a fun couple of years … 😦 …) Thankfully I seem to be coming out the other end of the AF but I’m still very mindful of how I divide my time and the amount of stress I take on. … The main message of AF for me has been to slow down, be mindful and take care of my needs first. We live at such a manic pace in our society this can be a tough thing to do. We want to be everywhere, do everything, help everyone all at our own expense. (At least that was my experience.) Like I’ve said, the worst of AF seems to be behind me now. I feel stronger; more robust. Still, I take nothing for granted. It’s been quite a journey and a reprogramming of a way of being and, frankly, I’m much happier now. (Never mind the awful purging year I had last year.) … I’m happy to chat about AF any time. So few people know or understand it even though it runs rampant. (Have you read Dr. James Wilson’s “Adrenal Fatigue: A 21st Century Stress Syndrome?” He has an excellent website as well.) … It’s been good to see I’m not alone. The journey to wellness continues. … Be well, Dorothy 🙂

      • Dorothy, thank you for sharing this with me. I seem to face the world the way describe and so, yes, reprogramming my approach to my expectations and to others’ expectations is what I am working on. I don’t seem to be getting very far yet but it’s only been 9 weeks an I recognize this is a long, slow journey. So great to be able to connect with someone else who is a bit on the other side and knows what I’m talking about. Thank you so much!

        • You are most welcome. … I neglected to mention that my AF has been further complicated by the effects of early childhood PTSD which were never addressed. As a result, I’ve also been in therapy which has helped to release much of the emotional dis-stress behind the adrenal fatigue. It has been a journey, that’s for sure. … So, if I may, let me extend a few kind words of advice. … Listen to your body. Learn to do nothing beautifully. … Nourish your soul. Laugh (I am a Modern Family addict because it made me laugh at a time when I really needed it.) … Calm the mind. Meditation; beautiful music; write. (I love to sit beside my bubble rock in the garden in the summer and read.) … Be. … And be grateful for this awareness. Most people will never get such an opportunity. It’s a wonderful time to heal. 🙂 … Have a great day!

        • That is so inspiring I may just put it up on my screen. All things I try to do but somehow I end up rushing around doing other things instead. Except today – I made a conscious decision to read my book over breakfast and then did some writing while looking out over my backyard. Perfect morning!

  4. Hormone changes also ramp up panic and anxiety as we get older. I have personal experience of this. I don’t know how old you are but it’s something to consider. I’ve definitely had to cut back on activities and am working with a naturopath and hormone therapist to level things out. I do yoga at home and try to focus on my breath occasionally. It’s amazing how often I catch myself not breathing 😉 … Namaste …

    • That’s interesting, thank you for the information. I’m 38. I’m working with a naturopath on adrenal fatigue but you’re right, there could always be more. Sometimes I feel there must be something affecting the panic, besides my usual outlook on life – and forgetting to breathe! Namaste.

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