I run anxious. Maybe it’s my work, maybe it’s my nature or maybe it’s my surroundings. Regardless, I run anxious.
When things pile up and the deadline looms, my shoulders will hike up and my jaws will clench. From there I plunge right into the thick of things. Most of the time I emerge with deadlines met, chores done and people fed. The price? An overthinking mind on a tense body.
Practising yoga was my attempt to wring out the tension and calm my mind.
At the beginning the asanas were the main draw. They were goal posts and milestones to be met. In a way it was a self-centred practice. My results on the mat were due to the effort I put in. As time passed the draw of the asanas lessened. It is not that I no longer want to do a proper Bhujapidasana or land that elusive drop-back. I still do.
But my focus has shifted to something else. To find the calmness within.
Once in a while I catch a glimpse of this calm on the mat when the mindless chatter recedes and the present becomes lucid. Calm does not appear when I am wrestling with the poses. It comes when it wants. I have no control.
There is another thing I noticed. On some busy days when I run anxious with all my bad habits, my body can stay relatively relaxed. And when the mind sees that the body is not tensed up, it learns to be at ease too. Often I wonder if these changes are due to the time spent on the mat or have I mellowed with age.
“Perhaps the countless inhales and exhales the practice offers have shown my body calm. When the body relaxes, the mind quiets down and maybe this has softened my grip on getting things done.”
Nowadays I still run anxious. When the shoulders hike and the jaw clenches, I can catch myself and pause for an exhale… sometimes.