Finding Calm with My Practice

This past spring I have come to feel even more grateful for my practice, both as a physical practice and for the studio from which I take class. Last month I talked about the importance for me of continuing to participate in the community, and before that about movement and how I could still practice with my studio while sheltering in place. And that all remains true and is still important to me as we transition into summer and continuing change.

With weeks extending into months, the isolation and uncertainty can be challenging. It has been so worth celebrating seeing friends again – socially distant, of course – but I can still all too easily follow the rabbit hole of news on the latest updates at home and around the world, estimates, opening up guidelines (and safe practices as places do open), predictions and forecasts, and so much else that it all can still feel so overwhelming.

This is and so much else is a lot.

And in no way am I saying that I shouldn’t follow those things. I need to educate myself on Covid-19 as more is learned, and of course to familiarize myself with current guidelines and recommendations, but at the same time I also need to steady myself and my mind so that I can properly wade through the informational onslaught. It was during one of those times when my thoughts were all over the place that I signed up for another online class.

I remember signing on to class with my thoughts and emotions still all in a flurry and wondering how I was going to focus for the next hour. But I knew I needed this hour to myself. What started with a simple sun salutation was one of the best things I could have done to still the flow of fearful thoughts in my mind:

Inhale, rise up with arms over head.

Exhale, draw my hands down in front of my heart.

And breathe.

As I stood there in Mountain pose I remember thinking “I am here. I am breathing.”

I was grateful for the noise to filter out and my ability to focus to filter back in. I write that I was grateful for it, but I am grateful for that reminder. It was a reminder, for one thing, to breathe. To focus. Which I know that sounds simple, but I can get so lost in my thoughts, chasing one thing after another or one potential scenario after another. This spring, I’ve needed a reminder to anchor back to my present. This is what is happening now, to me when I’m on my mat.

And not just on my mat. When I feel my pulse quickening and my thoughts jumping from one thing to the next, I’m reminded to step back and breathe. I can do my part from this place of stillness to learn, to protect myself – and so help to protect others – and it can seem a little less like a Herculean task when I can be still and focus. The world opening up slowly and safely, and learning how to move forward, is certainly still daunting, but the strength I felt in my stillness helps me to make my way through it.

This is the part of a series of posts for The Mat Yoga Studio, sharing my thoughts and observations as a student only. The views and opinions are my own. 


Patricia returned to Texas after spending several years on both coasts. She's a writer, amateur photographer and traveler.

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