I’ve been trying real hard to put more effort into this whole self-care thing, but there’s only so far I can go. Like, sure, I’ll eat a vegetable, but only every couple days, and you better believe it’s gonna be slathered in butter. I’ll shower daily, but my hair is going to be skipped most days because ain’t nobody got time for that and dry shampoo is life. I’ll change out if my pj’s, but only because I’m going to change into their more socially-acceptable-to-wear-in-public cousin; leggings. I’ll do something I enjoy as long as it involves very little energy and takes approximately 6 minutes.
Cue bedtime yoga. *clapping, fanfare* I love yoga and have been doing it for the last 3+ years, mostly in my own home from a YouTube video, because that’s where I’m most comfortable. But there have been times in my life where it feels counterproductive to do it. Instead of feeling calm and connected, I feel anxious; instead of feeling energized and vibrant, I feel drained. The times where it’s been this way have usually been the times where I need to practice the most. Lately I’ve been setting a to practice each day, but it usually doesn’t happen at all or is a short-lived practice that ends up doing more harm than good. During those first few inhalations, I immediately start to push back. It’s harder to breath, my chest gets heavy, and a fire of panic starts to build in the pit of my stomach.
My last session I did was a 7 minute bedtime practice that involved sitting down, lying down, and breathing; my kind of yoga these days. At the beginning of the session, the instructor invited the viewers to take stock of where their energy was lying. That was interesting. Where was my energy lying? At my core, I was worried, anxious, sad, alone, fearful, angry, guilty, and a slew of other negative emotions. Before you start to feel sorry for poor me, understand that I don’t typically walk around with the emotions on the surface. I’m good at finding joy in where I’m at with what I have, and most days I am thankful, hopeful, and can feel joy. But 30 seconds of no distractions, no self-talk, just being in the moment and breathing strips it all away. Like the chocolate coating on an almond joy, my outward strength melts away to reveal a big unsavory glob of goo. This is where the impending sense of doom came from when I tried to calm down and feel peace. And when that barely audible voice on my smart phone on the floor of my bedroom invited me to pay attention to what I was feeling, I understood. And it hurt. It was still painful. But I sat with myself and my feelings and just felt them. And it sucked, but then my breathing became easier and my chest lightened. The darkness lifted and I felt… not nothing, but the passing of those feelings, at least for the time being. They weren’t covered up or ignored or outrun, they were experienced and felt and moved passed for now. It was the best gift I could have given myself that day.