With any change, it’s natural to feel anxious. Whether it’s a change in jobs, a change in routines, or a change in personal circumstances: any and all change is taxing on the body and the mind.
It’s natural for thoughts to wander towards the future – what will happen? How will it turn out? Will it make life easier? Will I be happy with this change? When will I feel relief? What if I never feel relief?
Through practice, we learn that this tendency for the mind to try to predict, the compulsion to attempt to live in the future, is anxiety. Anxiety is fear that cannot be resolved because the predicted outcomes, and your thoughts about those outcomes, have not happened yet. And so, the mind creates possible scenarios of what could happen. And those scenarios feel so real, that the body begins to respond. And the body responds through neural connections and hormonal secretions, which result in an entire mental-physical-physiological response.
That’s right – it’s not just thoughts, it’s your entire body, your being, your energy, all working to respond to an idea that exists in your mind about the future.
This fear cannot be resolved because nothing exists yet. And while it’s an idea, the power of that idea is so strong, that the body responds as if it is real. This is stress, manifested.
I want to pause for a moment and say – it is more important now than ever before (in our lifetimes) for each of us to collectively participate, to the degree we can, in the social and political process in our country right now. It is so important to be informed, to verify our sources, to be proactive, and to continue to engage in social and political movements for the good of all.
Yoga is a Call to Action
Yoga, in one of its oldest texts The Bhagavad Gita, teaches us about the path of the warrior, Arjuna, who must restore peace to all, at any cost, and with great personal sacrifice. It is a call to action, to fight, and yet – to do so with inner wisdom, a clear mind, an open heart, and self-care. In many ways, its wisdom is as relevant today as it was when it was written (200 BCE).
I know many of us will be anxiously watching the news reel, wanting and waiting for updates on the outcome of what occurs today. Our call, and our work, as individuals and yogis is to become aware of our own inner barometer – the gauge that is present and aware of the effect that constant updates and news personalities have on our individual physiologies – and to know when to stop, when to take a break, when to ease off, and when to care for yourself. So that when you come back, you can do so with a more focused, balanced, and healthy body, mind, and being.
So, with that, I wanted to share what I’m doing to care for myself today, as a way to rethink or rediscover what it could look like to be a deeply caring person, heart set on a certain outcome, and still uphold the commitment I have to myself to maintain my own wellbeing.
What I’m Doing Today
One of the joys of diving deeper into yoga and Ayurveda is Dinacharya, or a daily routine, that includes movement, drinking lots of warm water, and a shower and skin care routine that feels both cleansing and luxurious. It has taken me months to build up this practice, but today I took my time, knowing that after years of waiting for this day, it was important for me to take it slow and pace myself.
Ayurveda offers a lot of skincare routines that are just plain luxurious and lovely. Today, I exfoliated with a sugar scrub and followed up with Abhyanga, or oil massage, which leaves the skin feeling soft and hydrated, like a warm hug on this cool November morning.
I think it’s worth adding that I’m a mom with two young kids. So while I was in the shower and abhyanga-ing my heart out, one kid was yelling for more breakfast (our 8 year old is constantly eating) while the other was causing all kinds of mischief (Addie is 4 and is in a challenging phase right now). There were knocks on the door. There were giant messes with honey on our table. But taking some time for me just felt really important and it was just plain nice.
My work day is a typical work day, emails and texts and coordinating all that we have coming for the studio. With kids at home, trying to get anything done feels impossible. But today, I put noise cancelling headphones in and played the Calm Vibes playlist on Spotify, a classical music playlist.
Lunch will be takeout, and possibly dinner as well, because the idea of cooking is just too taxing on my system today. I really want to feel nourished and whole and avoid nervous snacking.
Tonight, after work hours, I’ll be taking two evening classes: Vinyasa II to clear my head and move my body, and Yin with Alisa to relax and unwind. Being real, I’m sure I’ll watch election results after class, somewhat undoing the awesomeness which is the relaxation and release that comes from her class, and when I’m ready to rest, I’ll do my evening skincare routine and listen to the recording of the Energy Clearing and Visualization that Jacqui Burak lead for Be the Love last night.
One of the things I truly love about what we offer in this studio is the recorded class library of all the classes we teach here at BTL. I was at the live class last night and this one was just so SO GOOD, I am so glad I can take it over again. Some classes are just like that – favorites that get replayed when you need it most.
Sending so much love and light for the best possible outcome for all.
How are you spending election day?