“Chitta Vikshepa, – ‘distraction of the mind.’ No matter how wise we are or how committed to our practice, if we are ill, drowning in inertia, or struggling with doubt, carelessness, and sloth, we have no way of preventing our mind from being victimized by its roaming tendencies.”-Pandit Rajmani Tigunait, PhD
Earlier this week I got a call from Robb that he was at the studio and was severely dizzy and needed me to come get him and take him to urgent care. I’ve had 2 girlfriends that are my age lose their husbands this year, so the 3 mile drive to the studio was a bad scene inside my head. I had worked myself into a tizzy of ‘what ifs’ and fear took over. To say I was a crying mess when I got to the studio would be a kind description. It wasn’t until I got there and receive a hug that I got out of my head.
Robb and I recently attended a workshop on yoga and the auto-immune system. The master teacher talked about how stress lowers our immune system and the number one way to boost our immune system is to get rid of stress. I know your saying, easier said than done. Much of what he talked about from a yogic perspective I also learned when I was completing my Masters of Counseling. I love it when these two worlds meld together!
Here it is….What we think, we feel. In cognitive behavior therapy the theory is that when we change our ‘stinkin thinkin’ as Albert Ellis called it, we change our behavior.
So how does this theory apply to illness and injury and how do we keep that ‘chitta’ from getting us dizzy in our tizzy?
1. Breathe: The essence of the breath cures many things. When we truly connect with our breath and listen to it flow in and our our nose our mind and body become still. That hug my friend gave me when I got to the studio brought me back into my body and reconnected me with my breath.
2. Find Grounding: How much of a tizzy can you work yourself into if you are grounded and touching someone? (Or receiving a hug from a friend!) When I was still in my other line of work, I routinely had people coming into my office spewing energetic chaos all over the place. How did I stay grounded? I literally would keep a yoga mat under my desk and was barefoot with my feet on the mat. When chaos started, I grounded into my mat and felt my feet touching the floor.
3. Evaluate Your Focal Point: Let’s face it, most of us immediately start to do what I did above and awfulize our situation. Instead, evaluate where your focus is. Is your focus on the negative? Redirect your thoughts away from fear and towards healing. The path to healing is thinking it, knowing it, feeling it. Fear is a barrier that keeps us from healing fully. So, direct your thoughts toward positivity and trust and let your parasympathetic system calm your mind and body down.
I know, your thinking ‘Wendy, you teach the 3 elements of achieving good balance in a balance pose as breath, grounding and focal point’ Yep! Isn’t life the best balance pose you can practice? So take that lesson off your mat and apply it to your life.