Thursday, April 16, 2020

Some Thoughts on Movement, Anxiety and the Breath

"Pause practice can transform each day of your life. It creates and open doorway to the sacredness of the place in which you find yourself. The vastness, stillness, and magic of the place will dawn upon you, if you let your mind relax and drop for just a few breaths the storyline you are working so hard to maintain. If you pause just long enough, you can reconnect with exactly where you are, with the immediacy of your experience." - Pema Chodron

You might be surprised. The people that you think have it mostly together might be the ones that tell you that their life is anxiety ridden and that a good and restful nights sleep is nothing but a long lost memory.

What we see on the surface is definitely not always what is looks like on the inside. And sometimes the inside seems to be spilling out for everyone else to see.

I have always been super sensitive and as a young child I had some really serious obsessive compulsory disorder and my fear of death was sometimes mindblowingly scary. I would wake up in the middle of the night screaming and I was not able to calm the fear down in any way. When I was older I thought everyone lived with compulsive behavior and the fear of dying but through some friendly research I realised that this is definitely not the case.

Finding the breath

I started my yoga practice more than 20 years ago in Australia, Sydney. I had always moved a lot and found in yoga something that really made me feel different and calm. The teacher always talked about breathing and the breath but I had no idea what it really meant. I think around 10 years later I had a yoga class in Finland and I suddenly got the sensation that ahhhhh..... this is probably what people are talking about. That you actually connect with the breath and it is almost like it moves your body and makes you warm from the inside out.

I slowly found my breathing and through that I discovered myself in a whole new manner. There are a lot of selfhelp breathing flyers and courses that tell you to just breathe deeply and that (as most other things we believe there are quick fixes) but I really do believe that at least for a very airy (vata) and firey (pitta) person like myself I needed to have the movement in order to connect with the breath firsthand. I needed to move, move and move for years so that I slowly discovered the inner stillness and peace and was able to sit with it for hours on end.

A few years ago my fear of death had vanished. I got an occasional reminder of it but I really did not understand what was happening. Then I discovered Kundalini yoga and found out that different Kriyas actually help in easing anxieties and the fear of death and I realised that through my practice and learning to breath better my own anxieties had somehow dissipated. I was also no longer as afraid of loneliness and being alone and even the smallest things in life felt more positive and full of joy.

So if you feel tired, anxious, ill at ease or out of breath especially during times like these where we feel a lot of insecurity, remember to move (movement can be anything, not only yoga), stay present and focused and connect with your breath. There is so much energy around us and we are only remotely aware of how shallow our breathing is and how easily we get tensed up in our daily lives. Even sleep can make us feel tired and depleted when we are not inside of our bodies and connected to our core being.

We can laugh at the thought that ´I would be dead if I would not breath´, but if you have even that smallest feeling of being ill at ease, I assure you that movement and breathing will help. Just give it a try and let me know if you need some help. I am more than happy to help you walk through it.

The video is from our Mindfulness and Yoga Retreat for HorseBack Riders from Beautiful Kekkolan Kartano with my Dear Friend Eeva Jaakonsalo. We have a yin practice where Eva guides everyone through guided meditation after some lovely morning lessons with our horses. 

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