yoga meditation and philosophy with Lynn
Stress is so common we seem to take it for granted as part of life. We often talk about the need to ‘get our stress under control’ or feeling burnt out. Most of the people I speak with talk about not having enough time for what is important to them. We feel we are running as fast as we can yet it’s still not good enough. What causes stress and what can we do about it?
We often notice physical stress first. We have pain in our upper backs and our muscles feel as hard as cement. Maybe we find out we have high blood pressure or heart disease. Exhaustion leads us to the couch to watch television and eat ‘comfort foods’ night after night. How is it we can ‘put our neck out’ simply by sleeping? Must have been some sleep!
The breath is both a barometer of our level of stress and a tool with which to release stress. Try observing your breath when you’re really mad. You’ll probably find you’re breathing is fast, shallow and in your chest. If for two minutes, you bring your awareness to the breath at the navel center and follow the unbroken, smooth flow of the breath, you can notice quite a change in your emotional state too.
I’m sure I’m not the only one who has ever caught myself chewing on a thought like a dog with her favorite bone. I was appalled in the first few years of meditation at just how obsessive-compulsive my mind was. As I learned more about the emotions and developed my ability to observe the thoughts and emotions running through the mind, I was delighted to find moments of freedom from obsession. These moments gradually expanded into longer periods of time. I no longer feel like my mind is holding me hostage.
Root of stress – Pema Chodron
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