Maybe I wasn’t fighting Aries God of War, but I was fighting traffic, which felt like an emotional upheaval!
It’s what I like to call the everyday battles. Simple things that can cause drama, chaos, and suffering in my life.
Things like traffic.
That was one of my battles today. I didn’t have to save the world. I had to show up on time teach my Zumba class.
I took my normal route, at the normal time, and for “no reason” there was traffic.
“What the hell?”
Crazy thoughts start running through my mind a mile a minute. Way faster than how I was actually moving in my car. I was going to be late unless some miracle happened.
It was crazy how quickly the train of thoughts spiraled out of control.
- I can’t be late
- If I’m late, all my students will be upset with me.
- If they’re upset with me, they’ll complain to management and I’ll get fired.
- If I get fired, I’ll lose money.
- If I lose money, I’ll be broke.
- If I’m broke……
I could feel my heart racing. My breath was shallow.
“Wait a second?! I’m a Yogi! I’m mindful.”
I took a long deep breath. A long EXHALE.
It felt as if I had just been rescued.
The funny thing is……the hero was me. I saved myself.
Before I became a YOGI, my emotional, mental, and spiritual fitness was weak. I was always in my head. I was stressed and anxious. I didn’t have the patience for things like traffic. Being in traffic triggered a stress response because I felt out of control.
Most of the time I’m in a hurry to get to my destination or outcome. Being detoured or delayed is frustrating.
Anything I couldn’t control made me feel too uncomfortable and uncertain. It drove me crazy.
I had been using food to cope with discomfort and uncertainty ever since I was a kid. As I got older, I used food and men too.
A simple 10 minute delay from traffic can detour me to the nearest drive through or bar.
Yoga has taught me how to use my breath to press the “PAUSE” button rather than the “PANIC” button.
This creates a space where I can come back to the present moment. A road. A channel. A connection. A path.
What’s really happening right here and right now? Is it really something to worry about? Am I really going to die? NO! What’s is real in this moment?
We go on automatic pilot with our thinking. We’ve been programmed to think a certain way. Even though it may be harming us, we attach ourselves to that way of thinking because it’s comfortable. It’s a “survival” way of thinking to protect us. The mind takes over and shuts down the body and spirit. Disconnection.
Yoga teaches us how to focus on breath as we experience discomfort in our bodies and then either sit or move through it mindfully. We’re able to control ourselves from going into “PANIC” mode.
Physiologically, what is happening when we breathe deeply is that we’re activating our parasympathetic nervous system. It reverses the effects of stress and calms the body. Deeper breathing gets more oxygen into the body. Oxygen is the primary nourishment to our cells. We can survive days without food or water, but only minutes without oxygen. When we perceive threat, our heart rate increases and so does our breath. We breath more shallow. The brain and body get less oxygen. The body becomes distressed and starts to shut down. We get cravings for food, digestive issues, headaches, muscle spams, pain, and left untreated can lead to disease.
The problem is that my automatic way of thinking sends me on that downward spiral to where I crave junk food to cope with my discomfort.
BUT, today, it wasn’t a problem.
Being involved in both of these programs as a leader forces me to commit to them because I want to be a good role model. I believe that both programs provide transformational results. So I’m doing both programs with my clients.
In our Beachbody Challenge group, my homework is to log my food portions to train mindful eating habits. In my Yoga Mindfulness program, I am to pick 3 activities everyday to intentionally practice mindfulness.
Guess which one I had chosen this morning? Driving.
Perfect timing, right?
So when I hit traffic today, I had my tools ready for battle.
I came back to my breath.
I connected to my intention. Be mindful while driving.
That brought me back to the present moment. That space where my mind quieted and my body relaxed. No need to panic. I’m fine.
Wonder Woman went into battle confident that she had everything she needed to defeat “evil.” She didn’t panic. She contained herself. That empowered her. She could then use that power for great things.
When we waste our energy by stressing over things like traffic, we give up our power and limit our potential. We lose confidence, motivation, and will power. Any self-control over cookies, chocolate, wine, or whatever go out the door!
If you find that you are giving up your power too easily, I encourage you to practice mindfulness. Take your power back by learning how to be present in the moment.
Jon-Kabat-Zinn wrote in his book Where Ever You Go There You Are, “When we practice meditation, we are really acknowledging that in this moment, we are on the road of life. The path unfolds in this moment and in every moment while we are alive. Meditation is more rightly thought of as a “Way” than as a technique. It is a Way of being, a Way of living, a Way of listening, a Way of walking along the path of life and being in harmony with things as they are.”
I’ve learned how to practice meditation through Yoga. I practice daily because I believe it is an uplifting path to transformation. Scientific studies prove benefits include: reduced rumination, stress reduction, boosts working memory, improve focus, less emotional reactivity, more cognitive flexibility, more relationship satisfaction, and deeper intuition.
Mindfulness is freedom.
We become our own superhero. We free ourselves from our own suffering. We stop holding ourselves back from our own greatness.
It’s a practice. The more you do it the more it becomes you. What’s made the biggest impact for me is immersions. Doing Yoga retreats and being involved in ongoing programs challenge me to practice everyday even when life gets tough or overwhelming. That’s life. A duality of discomfort and comfort. We have to be fit for it all if we want to feel fulfilled.
Join The Uplift Movement community and get support you need to break through limiting beliefs and unhealthy habits. Join us for a Mindfulness Yoga immersion experience in Magical Tulum Mexico. Need to stay local? Join our wait list for our next online 8 week Yoga Mindfulness program where I offer ongoing coaching to support your journey at home.