I can’t relax. I can’t switch off. My mind is constantly racing. I can’t concentrate on anything. I can’t sleep.
These are some of the common phrases I hear from my (new) yoga clients, as well as friends and family.
A feeling of being out of control. Feeling edgy. A feeling of foreboding. Mind skittery. Body tense and achey.
I know how it feels. I’ve been there. I remember many a night when I lay awake with that feeling of not being about to shut up my mind. Of it being in control of me. Of not knowing how to even start to make it quiet.
Take back control through your breath
But I want you to know that it IS possible to take back control of your mind. To find peace with your mind. To be able to release the thoughts and find ease.
Finally. You have 30 minutes with nothing scheduled. Some precious me-time alone. Time where you can just do what YOU like. Ah lovely…
But then, you remember the bins need putting out. Ah, you forgot to answer that email. Hmm, you haven’t spoken to such-and-such for a while may you should give them a ring.
And you start to feel guilty for not getting on with stuff which “needs” doing.
Feeling guilty. It usually comes with an unhelpful dose of “shoulds” and “shouldn’ts”. That nagging feeling you should be doing something else instead. The knot in the stomach. The tension in the head and shoulders. The chattering thoughts.
The guilt comes with an extra whack when we’re doing something just for ourselves. Some aspect of self care that we know we desperately need but we somehow find difficult to allow ourselves to have. Quite time away from the kids and family. Time to go for a walk and get some fresh air at lunchtime to get out of the office and away from the ever-refilling email inbox. Saying a gentle but firm “no” to looking after the grandkids at short notice when you had some me-time planned.
And we either cave into the guilt and prioritise others’ needs or the guilt consumes us and we don’t enjoy what we’re doing.
You’re tense. Overwhelmed. You can’t think straight. You don’t know where to begin. You’re feeling irritable, frustrated – angry with yourself and the world! Tense jaw, shoulders and you’re barely breathing. You can’t focus.
Your life is out of balance. You need this to change.
I know how you feel, I’ve suffered from stress in the past myself and a tendency to anxiety is ongoing for me. Read more…
Someone recently asked me, “how do you shake off the guilt when you stop and relax”?
A very good question that got me thinking…
I’d posted a message on my Facebook page from Action for Happiness “Stop the Glorification of Busy” with the advice “It’s OK to give yourself permission to stop and do nothing. In fact it’s ESSENTIAL for your physical, emotional, mental and spiritual wellbeing. So go on … be a radical and give yourself time just to be…”
But yes, it’s one thing having time to relax, it’s quite another allowing yourself to relax isn’t it? Read more…
Your to-do list is a mile long, and as soon as you cross one thing off another three get added! There’s always something to do, someone to speak to, some problem to sort out, some deadline to meet; some occasion to go to; some fun to be had… The list is (seemingly) endless.
And if you do manage to make some precious quiet-time for yourself, then your whirring, busy, planning, judging mind seems to get even louder! Frustrating!
So many people who come to my yoga classes tell me that they find it difficult to switch off, or, at the other end of the spectrum they’re so exhausted by all the busy-ness they just fall asleep as soon as they lie-down for the guided relaxation. Read more…
Does your mind so often feel crazy-busy and stuffed full?
Do you reach the end of the day and, yet again, find it has whizzed past in a blur of activity, to do lists and looking after other people, and in a whirlwind of thoughts, worries, plans and judgements?
Perhaps there’s an uncomfortable feeling that you life is whooshing past you and you have no idea where the years have gone.
This is the state of “mindfull-ness” that so many of us live in. We’re over-stimulated with too much going on. Never quite experiencing this moment because we’re going over what happened yesterday and worrying about all the things we need to do tomorrow.
It’s energy-zapping. It’s deeply exhausting. And it robs us of experiencing life as it is in the here and now.
However, drop one single letter from “mindfull-ness” and you have an approach to life which opens up thousands upon thousands of beautiful ways of being alive in and experiencing this present moment.
Learning to breathe with awareness can help us relax; deal with stress; deal with pain; improve our energy levels.
But, instead of writing about it, I thought I’d make a video to illustrate the point!
So watch below … and find out how a ball of plastic can teach us a lot about the breath!
In the Southampton/Eastleigh area? Then come to a weekly class for regular mindful movement and relaxation in a supportive atmosphere. I teach seven public classes a week and monthly workshops – check out my yoga class timetable and workshops schedule to find out more and make a booking enquiry.
Where does your attention go when you’re on the yoga mat?
Are you day-dreaming? Do you mentally write lists of things to do? Do find yourself judging your body, wishing it felt differently? Do you feel annoyed / fidgety / frustrated if your teacher is inviting you to hold the pose longer than you might like to? Or are you mindfully noticing what’s going on for your body, breath mind and emotions as you move through and hold the poses?
Maybe it’s a combination of all of the above?!
Chances are this reflects what’s happening in your mind throughout your day. Flitting around between the past and future. Worrying. Judging. Day-dreaming.
Noticing what’s going on for us on the mat is a great way to hold a mirror up to our mind and emotions. And what we learn on the mat we can take forward to help us find a greater sense of equanimity in everyday life as we retrain our mind to live in the present moment. Read more…
Have you ever experienced something a little odd when you’ve tried to relax?
Maybe your body twitches. Random images float in your mind’s eye. You remember things or people you hadn’t thought about in years. Memories come to the surface. Maybe your mind simply won’t shut up.
I hear lots of interesting feedback from people who come to my yoga classes. They love the deep, therapeutic relaxation which ends every class but sometimes their experience is, well, a bit unexpected.
One lady said she feels like she goes off into some kind of dream state. Someone else told me they feel like they were almost going to sleep and then their whole body had jolted awake (although I could see that they’d barely moved). And there’s the classic “when I try to relax my mind prepares shopping lists” reaction!
I love a deep relaxation myself, but my common experience is: ideas come up for yoga classes and blog articles; I remember people I need to email; I get inspiration for a new workshop; or I remember a yoga pose I was going to practise today and I forgot.
If you’ve experienced anything like this, don’t worry, it’s all perfectly natural! Read more…