We have all felt the effects after a particularly juicy or relaxing yoga class, we are relaxed, calm, and sometimes can feel what I like to call a yoga high, or yoga drunk. This moment of bliss usually lasts until we leave the building and we have to get back in our cars and drive, or we check our phone and we fall right back into our habitual patterns of stress and overwhelm.
The real magic of our practice begins to happen when we can carry that feeling of being grounded and calm with us through our daily interactions, which can feel almost impossible.
We are reminded to find our breath when things become challenging, to relax our jaw and breathe deeply in our chair pose, but when we are confronted off the mat we may hold our breath, clench our jaw and tighten all the muscles in the body, activating our fight, flight, or freeze response.
During our practice we are encouraged to find awareness around how we are feeling, what is coming up, and how we habitually react, to observe all of this without judgement while our legs are usually burning in our warrior 2 pose. But once we step off the mat and have to deal with an uncomfortable situation with a family member or friend, we may just fall into our patterns without any awareness.
So when you step off of your mat and into your world can you bring those same tools with you? Can you stop yourself before you act or react, find a sense of grounding, connect to your deep breathing, relax the body, and observe without judgment. Can you watch what comes up, what your habits are, and stay in that place of observation and then begin to feel, feel whats going on in your body, continue to breathe deeply and move forward from a more grounded and centred place.
When we begin this practice off the mat, it is often very uncomfortable, we don't always like what we are observing, its important to remember we are all human, to not judge yourself or others. When we begin to respond from our centre we are doing what is true to us, we are less likely to have to apologize for a blow out, but are able to stand grounded and set boundaries with love for ourselves.
So the next time you are losing that sense of calm as you open your phone after practice feel your feet on the ground, take 3-5 belly breaths, feel the sensations in your body and move forward from there.