Most of our days are busy. We live racing from one scheduled priority to another. Even if we don’t actually have places to be, often our minds are busy moving from one thought to the next, feeling as if we are still rushed.
One of the beautiful things about showing up on your yoga mat, is you are given permission to turn off the busy and noise of your mind. You are reminded to turn your attention to your breath. For the duration of the class, you are to focus on two things: your breathing and your movement. Everything else can wait until the end of the class. Amazingly enough, as you begin to move with your breath, your mind begins to calm. Slowly the urge to rush is replaced with the urge to settle in to the work at hand. You become mindful of what you are doing in the present moment.
Your teacher may have just led you through 20 different poses—multiple times—yet at the end of your class, when you return to the mat for Savasana (resting or Corpse Pose), you feel as if you just unrolled your mat. You were plenty busy, but you were un-rushed.
We have the option to live in the moment—un-rushed—everyday. Un-rushed takes some practice, but is worth the effort.
Here are a few reasons to consider changing your ways. First: how amazing do you feel to finish class, without your to-do list whirling in your mind?
Second: next time you catch yourself mid-rush, take note of your breath. Is your breath fast, uneven, maybe choppy?
When we live this way on day to day basis, among the emotional toll it places on us, it also affects our physical body via our nervous system. How often do you feel overwhelmed?
When overwhelmed is our normal, our body cannot work as intended. Our parasympathetic nervous system (PNS) and our sympathetic nervous system (SNS) work together to help you cope and respond to daily life. For many of us, the daily stress from expectations, obligations, frustrating thoughts, even flashing lights and constant media and advertising—all activate our SNS, or “fight or flight” within our bodies. When this happens, an imbalance is created, and our PNS (rest and digest) mechanism in the body is no longer functioning as it should. In other words, stress causes your blood pressure to rise, your breathing rates increase, and the stress hormone, cortisol, which when elevated, plays a huge role the inability to lose weight and prevent the PNS from doing it’s job.
When I catch myself mid-rush, I do check in with my breath. God created us, and breathed His breath into us (Genesis 2:7). He knows the power of the breath. We can use our breath to help regulate our nervous system. (The whole nervous system, both the PNS and SNS, were his idea in the first place.) Next, I turn to gratitude, or a mantra/verse that I am working on taking to heart. A minute or two with my breath and a grateful heart have huge dividends in comparison to a minute or two on social media.
You can give yourself permission to slow down even when your yoga mat is rolled up. Life can still be full of obligations, but that doesn’t mean you have to allow the busy to control you. You can live a busy and full life—and still live un-rushed.