when I was in London last week I was reminded how frantic our world is. everyone looking down on their phones as they walk as quickly as possible to their next fix. everyone has ear phones on and no one engages with anything, not even really looking at the path ahead. It has become glamous and somehow successful to be crazy busy all the time and if you are not busy then you are not winning at life. (a life too busy even for capital letters:)
I’m not documenting anything new when I say, this madness is causing anxiety and mental health issues. We are constantly in our sympathetic nervous system and our body is in fight and flight mode. The stress button doesn’t get turned off and our body feels unsafe; hence the rise of panic attacks, overwhelm and weight gained induced by raised cortisol levels. There is nothing we can do about the overall pace of the world but within our own worlds we need to recognise what works and doesn’t work for us and what makes us feel calm and happy.
The best most efficient, tried and tested way is to stop, focus on your breath and to turn inward and notice the sensations with in your body, this is know as mindfulness and it is a practice and needs to be practiced enough so that it becomes a habit. Unsurprisingly, it is being brought into the school curriculum now, so hopefully this epidemic of mental health issues will not continue. When we stop and slow down if only for a few breaths then we can shift into the parasympathetic nervous system and our bodies can feel safe again.
Yoga is the physical way to have a moving meditation, you move with your breath keep the attention and awareness on it and control the breath so that you are able to hold postures and go deeper within them. There is of course yin yoga which is a static yoga whilst holding a ‘shape’ for a certain amount of time you dive deeper into your body in order for the connective tissue and fascia to get a chance to open and re-shape thus after time having an opening effect.
Most of us who have tight hips will eventually come to realise that it is the place in our body where we hold emotion and trauma and it can get stuck and cause us tension, aches and pains. We don’t even necessarily know there is trauma there until we stumble upon it or until it unfolds. Some people go to councillors and healers to unravel, I have found that yoga and meditation does it for me.
Last week I was practicing Yin yoga and was holding a specific posture for 5 mins and I was really having to focus on my breath as it was a challenging hip opener. When I suddenly had a vision of my 7 year old self, I was with my sister and we had witnessed the horror of our car rolling into our father and pinning him agains a gate and crushing him. It had been our fault as we had jumped out of the car to open a gate (gates on Cornish roads were quite common then, before cattlegrids I guess), but we hadn’t been strong enough to lift the gate and our father, who must have been in a rush, jumped out of the car to open gate and he forgot to put the handbrake on and as cars were much heavier then and it rolled down the hill, crushed my dad and pinned him against the gate. As it was on a Cornish road and it was long before mobile phones, there wasn’t much traffic so my sister and I just had to wait until someone came to help and get an ambulance. I haven’t thought about this my whole life… and there it was… trauma and shame, 50 years later, just lying there waiting to be forgiven… that’s what you find when you discover your stillness.