Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Panicking my way to serenity

Is there any other way?

I ask you, who has a near panic attack in a gentle yoga class?

(Yoo-hoo! Me, that's who.)

I actually found it fascinating, and, silver lining, managed to breathe my way through the shallow breathing, rapid heartbeat, and sweats. That's something, right? (It really is something. All I could think of, at the time, is that if I don't get out of this pose immediately, I'm going to run screaming out of class.)

Bo says that we can bring our anxiety and depression into our poses. That our mind is so hard-wired to be either anxious or depressed, for those of us with these chronic conditions, that we can force our body into re-creating these sensations. Pushing ourselves into downward dog, straining into a position. Fascinating.

In this case, I felt so smothered by all the freakin' props--bolster, eye pillow, all four blankets--that I just couldn't relax into the pose. I kept thinking the blanket was moving, the eye pillow was slipping, and the whole delicate operation was in danger of falling apart. From a relaxed recline, I would come tumbling out into a big heap, which brought on performance anxiety and the rapid heart rate and the sweats.

Man, the body is fascinating, huh?

So, here is my takeaway. The simpler the pose, the happier I am. Then again, maybe my takeaway should be an openness to falling ridiculously out of the pose and not caring if it doesn't "look right."

Whatever the case, I'm grateful that my month of health is making me take stock of these things by trying new things. It reminds me of something I just read by Anne Lamont, "When things break up and fences fall over, desperation and powerlessness slink in, which turns out to be good: humility and sweetness often arrive in your garden not long after."

I like it. And I'm starting to see where that may indeed be true.


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