I have taught a yoga class five out of the past six days. These were also the first five yoga classes I have ever fully taught. This sudden bombardment of teaching left me little room to change music or muse over how I could mix up the next day’s class. This would have been stressful had I not spent so much time being crazily excited to teach again.
I also continued my classes (as a full-time student), worked my part-time job as an after-school nanny, and sent out a ridiculous number of e-mails regarding the new student organization I had the bright idea of starting last spring. I’ve been running around quite a bit, but have managed to breathe through it all. Speaking of running, I did that too. My last run was both successful and unsuccessful… I maintained ujjayi-style breathing throughout the entire run, but experienced a small mishap. Whilst dodging a man violently swinging his keys on a lanyard, I jogged over to the one-foot space of sidewalk between lamp posts and the road. As it would happen, fire hydrants also occupy this space. While my keen judgement kept me from falling off the curb, it did not prevent my left knee from recklessly contacting the hydrant. While limping around campus the next day, unable to bend my knee, I discovered that elevators and ramps on campus are few and far between. These three things kept me sane that day, and I actually practice them every day to return to this sanity after, say, a really bad Friday night.
- Breathe. Breathing is underrated, as it not only keeps you physically alive, but it calms your nervous system and feeds you emotionally. Whenever something is particularly difficult or stress-inducing, take a huge breathe through your nose and sigh it out. Even try some ujjayii breathing! I told you in class, if you breathe as much as you feel pain, the pain will dissipate.
- Tadasana. AKA, Mountain Pose. Sit up tall! Suck in those abs! MULA BANDHA engaged to stop letting energy seep out of you! Equal weight on both feet — anddd smile. Studies have shown that assuming a “successful” position actually affects your behavior.
- Take responsibility for how you feel. Stop blaming others. Stop blaming your beautiful yoga instructor for that burning sensation in your legs! Any time I feel incredibly angry or sad, I go to say “he’s making me upset!” But in truth, I get to choose how I react to things. Someone can say something mean to you, and you can choose to breathe, stand up tall, and smile. Maybe all they really need is for someone to show them a little love. ❤
These simple things also seem to help my students in class to focus on their practice and enjoy their 55 minutes with me! I find that any time I’m having a serious issue with something in my life, I’m also ignoring one (or more!) of the three habits above. Step four would be to do all of these things before getting into trouble. Next time….