03 September, 2013

Yoga in the noisy mind

Today was home practice.

My mind has been noisy. Lots of activity up there. Even some anxiety. It's work. It's life. It's family. It's travel. To use a phrase I hate: "It's all good" - but it's messing with my peace of mind. Last night, I went to bed, and actually could feel my heart beating. Normally my heart rate is a calm and easy 50-something beats per minute. But it was up there. I don't know how much. But it was adrenaline that was doing it. The force and speed of contractions both elevated. Anxiety. I don't give myself credit sometimes that there is "a lot going on." Instead, I go straight to "What's wrong with me?" 

So, this morning was yoga in the noisy mind. I was aiming for some quieting of the buzz. And I did get some, but it brought me from way above normal to somewhat above normal. It was an awkward way to do yoga, though I have done it before. In my small bedroom, on a plush carpeted floor, situated between a closet, a bookcase, a bed, and the door. A little more than mat's worth of space available. In the past, I have done Hatha in this setting, and it's fine. Today, I did a flow. It was somewhere between a Baptiste series and an Elizabeth/Ashtanga-based class, with my Pilates exercises thrown in for good measure. I opened with 5 Sun A and 3 Sun B, in the Ashtanga style. Then there was a Warrior II to Side Angle to (gently) Twisted Crescent Lunge. I think I hit Lizard Pose in there. There were some Knee-to-Elbow repeats, to each side and to the nose. Then I did the Triangle and Pyramid. Eventually, standing balance with Eagle, Dancer, Tree. Then to the floor for a seated version of Pigeon (Gomokasana, I think it's called?). Locust. Then the Pilates business, which consisted of breaststroke-prep (which looks exactly like Locust, give or take), a set of "hundreds," some sort of hip rotation strengthening thing (I should just look up the names), and a swimming type of deal not dissimilar to other stuff we already do in yoga classes.

And the mind was not quiet. 

Interestingly enough, as I sit here on the airplane writing this, the energy seems to be cooling down already. I am going home. I am getting away from some of the anxieties and stresses of family visit. And I am returning to the people I have been missing. I got some great news at the airport from a friend of mine. I have been getting work done that was hanging over me and making me feel guilty because I didn't want to do it, but knew I had to do it.

The movement forward, tiny shifts, shaking free the stuff that was amping me up. And much the same as each little brick was weighing on me, now the lifting of each little brick is making it easier to get back out from under the others. And the energy is slowly returning to normal. 

I have spent so much time in future-thinking in the past 4-5 days. The thing that is most curious to me about it is not "the thoughts" themselves, because they're pretty obvious easy targets for "What can I worry about if I really want to torture myself and make an otherwise perfect existence seem tenuous?" The thing that I am curious about is what the trigger is that sent me into future thinking. I am not completely sure what it was. There had to be something about the present that I was trying to escape, beyond just the "There's somewhere else I would rather be right now…" It has to be more than that. I would go so far as to assert that the future thinking realm is only tangentially connected to the unpleasant present that I was trying to avoid. 

Family.

That's my first guess. Who knows if it's correct… going home, I recognize that I am not just paying a routine visit, but that I am "TAKING RESPONSIBILITY" for things. It's not like I am doing heavy labor or anything, but showing up actually feels heavy on my heart. We are all getting older. And there are things that will inevitably occur at some point in the future. And it's all a march toward everyone's end. That sounds morbid, but I think it's part of what weighs on me and creates anxiety. Going home reminds me of those I have lost… my mother… my sister… It draws my attention to those who aren't as able as they once were… It makes me ponder the logistics and the reality of one day losing my father as well. And of getting older myself.

And I don't want to go through this life alone…  

There. I hit the nerve, because as soon as I typed it, the tears started coming. 

My parents, for better or worse, had 60 years together. I won't get 60 years with anyone, barring radical changes in medical technology and human longevity. I am not pointing at marriage and long-term commitment and saying it's this magical wonderful happy campground. I know it isn't and I don't pretend to glamorize it. But I have always been about being connected with others. My friends are dear to me. I have always placed a strong value in working on relationships with significant others, even when I wasn't particularly well-equipped to handle the emotions that went along with it when I was younger. Sometimes, unfortunately, even in the face of incompatibilities that were fairly obvious. But it was still a priority for me. I want to share my life. 

Being around family brings all that to the surface. Makes sense, right? 


I'm glad you agree.

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