Don’t Mind(fulness) Me!

249. stressing out (1)Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) is a program that helps you learn to calm your mind and body to help you cope, not only with illness and/or pain, but also with stress in your everyday life.

MBSR teaches “mindfulness,” a focus only on things happening in the present moment. For example, you may sit quietly and think only about how your body feels. You might focus only on the sounds around you or how your food tastes and smells. When you are mindful, you do just one thing and you pay close attention to that one thing (basically, the opposite of multi-tasking).

To help you focus your mind on the present:

1. STOP

Stop everything! EVERYTHING! PAUSE…BREATHE! Allow everything to be exactly as it is, Release all resistance and attachment

chronic comic 164Imagine yourself hanging on to whatever you’re holding on to, with your hands, for dear life, with a big black hole beneath you. Now, LET GO and allow yourself to fall, fall down the black hole, keep falling, until you land on a beautiful, soft platform of golden light. The Universe, God, or whatever you might believe in holds you, loves you and supports you. ALLOW IT!

2. FEEL

Breathe…feel your body.

Breathe some more.

Breathe all the way down to your feet. Feel your feet touching the floor, wiggle your toes, push your big toes into the floor. Breathe deeply, sigh or groan as you breathe out. Try this at least 10 times.

What are you actually feeling?

Feel it! Express it! if you need to cry or scream, do it – it will leave you SO much lighter.

3. RELAX

chronic comic 163Not necessarily meditation or a formal way of relaxation – I mean do something you LOVE and can fully engage with, which will switch off your mind chatter (it can still be meditation if that is what you love).

4. OPEN

Open up to new possibilities.

73. miserableAsk questions without having specific answers in mind already, and without wanting them answered immediately. Simply ask and then forget about it. Allow space after the question, to free yourself from intellectualising it, and rather to be free to receive the answers when they come.

Questions like:

    • What else is possible?
    • What would the energy of my life be like, if I was living it for the joy of it?
    • How could this situation be even better?

Studies show that MBSR can reduce stress and help people relax. MBSR helped some people cope better with symptoms and improved their quality of life. Research also shows that MBSR helped people sleep better and feel less anxious, and it helped ease depression symptoms.

More Tools to Add to Your Arsenal

Do you have the same thoughts going round and round in your head?

I’m not good enough.

I’ll never be good enough.

Even if I try my hardest, I won’t be good enough!

You’re trying to figure it all out, but you just can’t see a way out of your own head *uck? Here are just 4 tools to add to your arsenal, which will interrupt this cycle, stop the spinning, allow you to catch your breath, and open up to new, exciting possibilities that you haven’t been able to see yet.

1. STOP

Stop everything! EVERYTHING! PAUSE…BREATHE! Allow everything to be exactly as it is, Release all resistance and attachment

Imagine yourself hanging on to whatever you’re holding on to, with your hands, for dear life, with a big black hole beneath you. Now, LET GO and allow yourself to fall, fall down the black hole, keep falling, until you land on a beautiful, soft platform of golden light. The Universe, God, or whatever you might believe in holds you, loves you and supports you. ALLOW IT!

2. FEEL

Breathe…feel your body.

Breathe some more.

Breathe all the way down to your feet. Feel your feet touching the floor, wiggle your toes, push your big toes into the floor. Breathe deeply, sigh or groan as you breathe out. Try this at least 10 times.

What are you actually feeling?

Feel it! Express it! if you need to cry or scream, do it – it will leave you SO much lighter.

3. RELAX

Not necessarily meditation or a formal way of relaxation – I mean do something you LOVE and can fully engage with, which will switch off your mind chatter (it can still be meditation if that is what you love).

4. OPEN

Open up to new possibilities.

Ask questions without having specific answers in mind already, and without wanting them answered immediately. Simply ask and then forget about it. Allow space after the question, to free yourself from intellectualising it, and rather to be free to receive the answers when they come.

Questions like:

    • What else is possible?
    • What would the energy of my life be like, if I was living it for the joy of it?
    • How could this situation be even better?

So, I went to Yoga…

This will be a two part post. The plan is to give you a balanced view of my yoga class, so part 1 will be written while still on my exercise high. The next part will be written tomorrow (in real time, but not blog time) so, if there are any FM repercussions, I can let you know.

Part 1

I introduced myself to the dude who was holding the class – have you ever noticed that all male yoga teachers have ponytails? – letting him know about my condition and that I have never attended a class before this.

It all started very nicely. He turned on the relaxing music, lit the incense and we all sat on our mats with our legs crossed and our hands together (like we were praying) in front of us. Inhale…exhale. Concentrate on your breath. Then he told us to put our hands on our knees, palms up. Inhale…exhale. Concentrate on your breath. Next, put your dominant hand on your belly button and your other hand on your heart. Breathe in and feel your belly button go out. Exhale and feel your belly button move towards your spine. Breathe in and feel the breath move to your heart. Let your heart grow. Inhale…exhale. Concentrate on your breath. Hey! I can do this! Next we stood up straight; breathe in, lift your arms above your head and join your hands above your head. Then bring your hands down in front of you, back to that prayer position. Prepare yourself then let go of everything, letting your arms fall to the floor as you exhale. Still cool. Place your hands on the mat, take your left foot, then your foot backwards, moving into the downward dog position. My legs don’t move that way, dude! Then roll yourself down into the plank position. What? How? Now move your forehead and chin to the mat then push yourself up into a cobra. What the hell are you talking about? Then down again; then back into the downward dog.

Now this wasn’t as easy as it sounded (?) but I will admit that at the end of an hour, I appeared to be able to do this basic series of positions much more smoothly. The series is known as the Sun Salutation, and is meant to be practiced at the beginning of every yoga session. It is a way to warm up your body and focus your mind for the session. I was sweating profusely by this stage.

From the above series we moved into a forward lunge (supposedly by just moving my leg forward and NOT falling over!) then leaning to the side and rising (yes, at the same time) and moving into a half-moon pose then twist back, do the full series again and the lunge and moon thing on the other side. (Or don’t! and have to stop and rest in the child’s position while the rest of the class continues)

The really good thing about this is that you get to see how the rest of the class is doing. Other people are losing their balance, or resting, or looking on questioningly. This is really good to know – you don’t feel like quite a (politically incorrect) SPAZ!

There’s a ton of other positions: warrior 1, warrior 2, warrior 3, fish, Lord of the Dance pose, etc – but the best one I saw, that totally spun me out was the shoulder press:

This amazed me. And I think that I would have been able to do this except that my bum weighs SO much that I can’t lift it. Otherwise, I would have been a shoe-in! Instead Yoga Dude set me (the only real beginner) up against the wall so I could lie flat with my legs spread up in the air, against the wall. Imagine being at the gynaecologists – now, you’ve got it! Mind you, after a while, it was quite comfortable.

My favourite position was right at the end, called the corpse.

I went to the class alone and had to giggle all by myself (although everyone was very nice – they were also very serious about yoga). This would be great to do with a friend (especially the first few times) – who else will be able to tell embarrassing stories to all your family and friends?

Somehow, after all of this, I came away energised and refreshed (just in time for pizza for dinner – you really can’t expect me to cook after all of this!). I’m feeling light and buoyant and absolutely nothing hurts (knock on wood!) I don’t want to go to bed tonight because I don’t want to lose this feeling…you may just need to remind me about it in the morning!

Part 2

I have been awake for 2 hours now – waiting…is something going to hurt (more than normal)?

And guess what? No real pain; nothing very different from the normal FM wake up – other than I still feel energised (despite only having 5 hours sleep compared to yesterday’s astounding 10!)

So, I think it’s safe to report (and I’ll let you know if anything changes) that my yoga experience was pretty good. Note to all: I’ve been told that every yoga class is different (sound familiar?) so, for those just trying it like me, attempt to find a gentle or beginner’s class; introduce yourself to the instructor (he can then keep an eye on you); and have a giggle!

Untitled