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Calming the Anxious Mind in Troubled Times

I am a world class worrier. I’m pretty sure I should get a medal for my ability to agonize. A counselor once said to me, “My goodness, Monika, would the world stop spinning if you stopped worrying about it?!” This fact may come as a surprise to you, as I am a Yoga and Meditation teacher.

My mind likes to gnaw on an issue and come back to it, again and again, like a dog enjoying a good bone. I find myself coming back to the same issue, as soon as I wake up in the morning, all during the day (kind of like checking a sore to make sure it’s still there,) before I fall asleep at night (so my overactive mind can keep working on it while my body sleeps!) Sound familiar? This is not a recipe for peace, health, or happiness.

In my classes and workshops, I teach clients how to relax. I am good at my job, not because I am a naturally relaxed person, but because I was born the exact opposite. Over the years, I have learned tools to calm the self-induced agony of my mind. It is a practice which I will continue for the rest of my life.

One of the ways I practice is to continually travel back to the present moment. The vehicle to do this is through the breath. Through feeling the earth under me. To resting on the earth. To allowing Mother Earth to support me. I have even taking to just lying down in my back yard, arms spread wide, my bare feet feeling the grass between my toes. One of my favorite teachers, Jillian Pransky, says, “The earth longs to carry you, so your breath can fill you.”

During this panic inducing period in our collective history, let’s practice together in order to maintain our sanity. Let’s support each other. Will you share some of your favorite practices? Walking on the beach is one of my all time favorites.

If you can’t get to the beach, or to your favorite “happy place,” try this:

Take a moment to sit quietly. Let yourself settle where you are. Bring to mind a favorite place you have been. Imagine all of the particulars of this place: what do you see? What are the sounds you hear? What do you smell? Taste? Touch? Are you by yourself, or are you surrounded by people you love? Notice how you feel…

If no place comes to your mind, make something up! You may refer to a picture you have seen in a magazine or in a movie. Or in your imagination… Will you share your favorite place or tools with us? During the period of social distancing, we don’t have to be alone, we can be together virtually…

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