Yoga Therapy #5 – The Heart

I saw N today – our schedules don’t really line up this month so today and one more time are the only days I can see her… but given the current financial environment I am in, it is enough.

I really liked N, and now I am finding her sometimes too blunt. But I always leave with new insight and I always feel better after. Sometimes I think I like that she tells it like it is. Other times, it bothers me. In all likelihood part of me likes it and part of me doesn’t. I’m guessing the younger part finds it too much.

We worked on calming down that fight/flight response today and I learned a lot about our nervous system, the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems, and the heart. For example a large part of our fight/flight is sensory. It is interpreted from our environment. I think logically I knew this but never really translated it into my body experience. 

She had me lie down with my legs up on a chair and she put the weighted blanket on top of me, lying it across my chest. We started with breathing and lengthening the exhale which is, apparently, a sign to the body that things are okay (as opposed to hyperventilating). Then I noticed where my body contacts the floor for support. The whole position itself (reclining) sends a message to my body that it isn’t time to run. There is nothing needing running from in this moment. 

Third, we imagine the nerve system that runs from your ear area down through your throat and into your heart – and while still breathing find the centre of our body and imagine breathing into it and out through the top of the head or the part of the head that is feeling the floor.

It’s amazing how these steps can calm me. It gives me hope that what I’m experiencing is in fact stress and that I can teach my body to relax with practice. Some of those techniques I can use anywhere – in my desk chair, in bed after a nightmare. We also stressed the system a little with a flow and a hold, feeling the stretch and activating that stress response but then practicing relaxing. 

Overall, it was really helpful. 

I’m trying not to stress about money or family or the holidays – but that feels impossible. I have two days off from my full time job and then I get to go to my husband’s work party in a different city where his head office is.

I’m still really afraid. And I’m still really grieving. And I don’t know how to stand up for myself or be my own advocate or establish boundaries. But the emotions are concentrated and central, and I am currently not trying to bury them. I am, however, slightly impatient and there’s a part of me feeling reckless and invisible – like, we spent so much fucking time living for them and trying to clean up their messes well fuck it… It’s our turn to make a mess. That is a line I’m trying not to cross but my god is it tempting. 

I feel all over the place these last two weeks. I would love to get through this and move to a place where I feel more competent again. Although not at the expense of my emotional well being. 

Still in the room where I was shackled for so long, but I don’t feel a need to shut that door.

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3 thoughts on “Yoga Therapy #5 – The Heart

  1. I’m glad that you’ve got a good practical technique which you’re finding helpful. I’ve also found those breathing exercises very calming, especially when I’m in a situation where I can feel the anxiety building more gradually and there is time to intervene. IT also makes me think of this cartoon and smile to myself – http://tinyurl.com/jt9q6a4

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  2. Standing up for yourself, advocating, making boundaries, these things take time. Be gentle with yourself, you’ll get there. Also, your last sentence is sticking with me. It feels powerful for some reason but I can’t figure out why.

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