Over the last few months, my stress level has gradually crescendoed. I really hadn’t been aware of it until recent weeks. With increased pressure at work, the challenges of marriage, bills, farm life, keeping up with friends & family, health issues, I had turned into one redheaded ball of stress. I knew it was time to do some serious self assessment when some teenage kid in the store purposely ran into my shopping cart and my immediate desire was to return this oh so pleasant action with serious bodily harm (luckily I resisted so no I am not writing this from jail).
As a nurse, one would think I would be aware of what my body is trying to tell me. If you know a nurse (particularly if you are married to one) you know that nurses make the worst patients. We will ignore some minor health issue until it literally knocks us off our feet. This is not because we an attitude of invincibility, but because typically we are so busy taking care of everyone else there isn’t any time or energy left to care for ourselves.
My typical de-stress techniques weren’t cutting it and I still felt frustrated and exhausted. What’s a farm girl to do when her clucking chickens are no longer a place of peace? I found my answer in an unusual place.
I happened upon (divine intervention I am sure) a lovely little yoga studio in a neighboring town. I looked up their class schedule and decided to book a class. I have always heard such positive things about yoga. I know many people with physical ailments who have experienced healing with yoga. I also know many people with high stress levels have benefited from the calming, centering peace yoga can bring. I figured, why not? If I didn’t do something about my stress level, even my chickens would have left the homestead to get away from the crazier than usual redhead who feeds them.
As I entered the studio, I was instantly aware of the stillness. There were people moving around in the studio, but their was such a sense of calm. There are not a whole lot of places in my life that exist in calm. The emergency room is certainly the opposite of calm and the constant noise and movement of the homestead isn’t the stillness type of calm I felt in the studio.
I also love that everyone was barefoot-for some reason being barefoot just seems to natural and freeing to me.
As my intimate class began, I followed the instructor as she moved us through ujjayi breathing (breathing like you are fogging up a mirror) and challenging poses. Moving through these poses I really got an understanding of how much tension I was carrying around in my body. The stretches and moves were extremely challenging, but in a positive way.
For the next hour and fifteen minutes, I stayed completely present which is a big accomplishment for me. My mind is typically bouncing around from topic to topic like a ping pong ball. I routinely feel like this…
Do you ever feel like this too? At the end of my session I felt absolutely wonderful. My muscles were fatigued, but my mind was quiet and calm. I love those words-quiet and calm. That feeling lasted throughout much of the evening.
I have already scheduled my next class and am grateful I found something productive, besides physically assaulting a rude teenager in the store, to bring my stress level down.
What works for you?
Until next time…