Here’s the deal. Over the past few weeks I have seen on social media, in person and in the news some angry and intense behavior from people all over the nation. My guess, the elections have made some people, myself included, feel a bit passionate and maybe even a little bit worried about the future of our country. When I find myself reading Facebook posts or newspaper articles that get my blood boiling, I find that I need to sit down, take a few deep breaths and chill the f out. Same thing goes for when I become emotionally overwhelmed about my mama’s situation and I find myself crying too much, I say to myself, “sit down, breathe and chill the f out”. Or how about when I get into it with one of my beautiful TSP partners? I can either whip out my Scorpio stinger and sting away or I can sit, breathe and chill the f out. In every single yoga class I teach, I begin and end the hour with breathing. To me, it’s the most important thing a human can do in order to find an internal sense of calm.
Let’s start with the basics. Without getting too scientific, focusing on your breath helps to mentally, emotionally and physically ground you. Two years ago, when I found myself stricken with what felt like fatal anxiety, I suddenly began diving deeper into meditation. I felt it was my last option before I started diving into vino and Xanax on a regular basis, rather than just when I felt like I was going to spontaneously combust. I would sit or lay down in silence and just breathe. Now, it’s easier said than done because the old noodle often likes to often wander and daydream or go right back to thinking about the stresses that made you decide to sit in quiet in the first place. But that’s the pivotal point where you bring your brain back to your breath. It’s a bit like a Jedi mind trick. Instead of letting it fester and stay, you let the thoughts that have wandered back in wander right back out.
If you suffer from anxiety, a resident betch in the workplace, phobias, pain (of any kind) too many children screaming “MOOOOOOOM!!!!”, drama queens, Negative Nelly’s, road rage (like myself – but I’ve gotten so much better. These days I’m throwing out peace signs left and right), a sick parent, too many deadlines, an a-hole of a boss, financial woes, basically anything that causes you an ounce of stress, then sit down, breathe and chill the f out. Because it’s going to be okay. Will meditation (aka breathing) solve your problems or end world hunger? You bet it won’t! But what it will do is help you gain clarity, calmness and help you solve your problems. Don’t believe me? Then I dare you to try it. It’ll have you going into whatever battle you’re fighting in a better place -mentally and emotionally. It will have you reacting differently and less spontaneously, but more thoughtfully. Plus, Harvard research has found that meditation literally and physically improves the gray matter of the brain. FACT. If that doesn’t get you sitting in silence, then I don’t know what will. At some point, and maybe it was when my mom got sick, I realized how imperative it is to take just as good of your brain as it is the rest of your physical body. Even though we can’t see our computer, it needs constant maintaining or else it will go haywire.
There’s no time like the present, so let’s do this.
Sit down or lay down. I don’t care what you do, just get as comfortable as possible. Put your phone on DND. If you can’t get a moment alone because of kids, do it in the shower or go sit in the office bathroom. Find somewhere to go.
Close your eyes, inhale and roll your shoulders up to your ears, then exhale, squeeze shoulders and let them roll down and back. Go ahead and do that two more times. Do it five more times if you love it.
Clear your mind.
Now…breathe. Focus on the sound of your breath, the way your body moves with your breath. Try to sit for five minutes. If/when your mind wanders, bring it back to the breath.
How do you feel? Think about that as you go about the rest of the day.
Whether you have five minutes to do this or time for only five big breaths, frigging do it. And if you suck at it the first time, do it again the next day and the next. Every single day. Believe me, it helps. In some magical way, it helps with life. I wouldn’t make this up and I’m not getting a kick back from the meditation gods. I just want to encourage everyone to try it because the benefits of meditating are endless. If you have questions, ask me. Meditating is one of my favorite things to do. I do it anywhere I can. Whether it’s on a beach, at home, in yoga or on an airplane because turbulence has me planning my funeral…it’s my go to.
Here we are after a little session I lead on the beaches of Victoria, Australia.
Now go on and get zen!
Love it. Live it. Share it. Namaste.