Last week in my non-yoga job, we got new furniture. The office was very chaotic because we couldn’t work in our usual places, and most of our stuff was packed up. In addition, boxes, pieces of desks, and moving people were everywhere. Once the external chaos started, so did the mini-meltdowns, some related and some seemingly unrelated.
It’s interesting how much our environments affect us. I know I felt amped up by at least 10(0) when I was trying to have an important conversation with my coworker in my office while in the meantime movers ripped pieces of my desk out of cardboard boxes two feet away from us (no, there was nowhere else better to go.) There were several times during the day that I started feeling like, “OMG, today is so stressful! I can’t wait until 5:00!” And that’s when I had to stop, take a breath, and just check in. No, I wasn’t going crazy and I wasn’t even super stressed. Things were just a little wild around me.
Yoga (asana, or the poses, but also the philosophical and ethical tenets, the yamas and niyamas) can help us connect to these helpful reminders. We can use the breath to ground us and check in. In times like that, I like to close my eyes and take three deep breaths and just say something nice to myself, perhaps like “5:00 is only 2 hours away.” Just kidding–kind of. There are a variety of different affirmations, mantras, and chants you could try.
Now, I may be well (we’re talking hours and, depending on the situation, even days) into a stressful event before I remember that I can choose how I’m responding to it. However, once I do, many times just taking those mindful breaths is enough for me. As I inhale I quietly say to myself “inhale,” and as I exhale I say “exhale.” Saying that helps me stay focused instead of mentally running off in other directions. Chaos without doesn’t have to translate to chaos within, even though it often does. The first (and biggest) step is to notice what’s going on. If you’re bringing awareness to your daily life, you’re living yoga in a big way (no matter how long it may take you to get there).