Yoga with Melissa 383 Heart Stabilization Series: Yoga for Worry

by Melissa West on May 12, 2017

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Yoga for Worry


I was writing an exam for a course and even though it was a take home exam I experienced a lot of worry. My body was jumpy and on edge. I could feel my jaw tighten. My breathing was tight up in my chest. My shoulders lifted and my neck got sore. I could feel myself trying to control things as the restlessness, agitation, and nervousness heightened. I felt my temper shorten with my husband Tim and my daughter Trinity. Can you relate to those sensations when worry arises in your experience?

More than that, even though my task was to sit and write my exam and in particular finish the final question it felt impossible for me to sit still. This exam was for a course on Tibetan Buddhism and so we had protocols about how to be in our bodies in a calm and relaxed manner and yet I was not able to connect with my breath, be in my body or feel the stability of the earth underneath me.

The exam question I was working on was a simple fill in the blank and maybe ironically I was drawing a blank. I panicked. My mind was spinning in circles and I felt like a complete failure. I couldn´t believe that I couldn´t recall the material from the course that should go in the blanks. And so I did that thing that I do when I worry. Instead of staying close in, in my body, connected to the earth, and my breath I watched my energy scatter. I frenetically searched through all the course material for the answers.

Sometimes when I worry it looks like checking my email, checking my social media, doing more work any work, cleaning the house, eating some juknk food that will temporarily make me feel better and then soon after make me feel worse, going shopping. Out, out, out, disperse, disperse, disperse. Impossible to stay present.

After searching high and low through all the course notes I found some answers that fit somewhat in the blanks and I handed in the exam. I wanted to get it off my plate. I didn´t want to worry about it anymore. Not surprisingly, 2 days later I got the exam back from my teacher saying, you passed all the questions except the fill in the blank question, go back to the text referenced in the question and try again.

Jack Kornfield says that worry often comes in response to pain that we don´t want to feel. Iḿ pretty sure in this situation I didn´t want to feel like a failure. I didn´t want to feel the sting of failure and all the trauma of past educational testing and grading held deep within my psyche was rapidly rising to the surface through this exam.

And yet, as my story shows too, worry is an impermanent state of conditions that are bound to change. When I got the exam back to rewrite the final question, I was able to find the quoted text for the first time in the textbook and fill in the blanks with complete ease. From that place of ease and steadiness, it was the easiest question on the exam.

Teachings inspired by Jack Kornfield´s A Path with Heart

Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavantu

Yoga Props: Yoga Blocks, Bolsters, Yoga Strap

Yoga Postures or Asana: Heart Bed Pose, Bridge Pose or Setu Bandhasana, Supta Padangusthasana or Hand to Big Toe Pose, Child´s Pose or Balasana, Triangle Pose or Trikonasana, Legs Up the Wall Pose or Viparita Karini, Sphinx Pose or Salambha Bhujangasana, Janu Sirsasana or Head Beyond Knee Pose, Savasana or Corpse Pose, Mushti Mudra

Today I was stretching myself as a teacher and attempting to teach from a story. If you like being taught from a story, please let me know by pressing that like button.

Also, all the teachings are included in the story. I know you are all incredibly intelligent, many of you are yoga teachers and know so much about anxiety and worry already. I don´t need to burden you with information overload and more teachings. So today in the comments, I want you to tell me, what were the teachings on worry in the story I told today. The teachings were all included in the story, so you tell me in the comments, what were the teachings on worry today?

If you know somebody who would benefit from this class please feel free to share the video with them.

Thank you so much for your donations: Diane from Nova Scotia, Donna from Saskatchewan, Sean from New York, Viola from Italy, Nickie a new donor from West Virginia – thank you, and Peige from Italy, thank you so much for all your support, it helps us in simple ways like putting food on our table so that we can nourish ourselves and not be hangry when we come to film.

Today we focused on worry. We have so much support for anxiety in our yoga community. We have live meditation classes each week, a 4-week curated series of classes, and 18 classes that are perfect for anxiety in our community. For our members I will give you the link to the classes: Click Here

And if you are not already a member, here is the link to join our yoga and meditation membership community

http://www.melissawest.com/membership/membership-sign-up/

Weekly Yoga with Melissa #383 Photos of Yoga Poses

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  • Donna Stone

    Loved this class! The method, pace, the space, and the content were soothing and reflective. I might could say what the lesson was if I wasn’t
    worried about the response, lol, so I will stop with that:)

    • Thanks so much for your positive feedback Donna and your pithy response! 🙂 😉 Namaste, Melissa

  • Diane Scurr

    Beautiful class,Melissa. I took away the teachings that worry takes us out of our bodies, disperses our energy and is ultimately unproductive. If we can be still and calm, we can accomplish our tasks with ease. I loved this style of teaching, thank you.

    • Thanks so much for your feedback Diane, and I think you are so right about worry. Namaste, Melissa

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