My college major was in speech and language pathology. In voice science classes, I was always the bad example. The professor was always telling me to breathe deeply with my diaphragm, to relax my muscles, to relax. She often included a guided relaxation exercise which I now recognize as very similar to yoga class’ savasana and guided meditation.
Did it work? I learned to give the appearance of calm, but in truth, let’s just say I am still a work in progress.
In retirement — my children grown and independent, no daily commitments dictated by anyone but myself, and a comfortable life style — why would I feel anything but blissful equanimity?
Those early relaxation experiences did lead to a life long interest in yoga and meditation though. Now that I am retired and on my own, I have time to indulge those interests. So I am starting to notice more when I need to deepen my breath, to slow down and smell the roses, to be mindful. Still a work in progress.
Recently I visited an intuitive healer who told me I was not grounded — as though I were floating above the ground. Not so surprising since I think the transition back to Vermont life was bumpy this year. I was feeling unsettled and a bit lost/lonely — cranky and out of sorts, free floating anxiety. It really did seem as though my internal organs were rising out of position — acid reflux, shallow breathing, fatigue for no good reason.
Well, I am working on my root chakra*:
- Sit with feet flat on floor, notice the support of the chair seat and back, cross arms over chest and tap shoulder (first one then the other). This is supposed to calm the nerves.
Yoga mountain pose
- Stand up straight, with your feet together.
- Spread your toes wide and grip the ground.
- Roll your inner thighs back and draw the tailbone down.
- Move your chin down and draw your shoulder blades together, place arms at your sides with hands facing outward.
- Focus on the feeling of your feet rooting into the earth. Feel every inch of your foot: your toes and arches. Notice how the ground is solid and supportive.
- Send the breath downward; your energy moves down the body into your deeply rooted feet. Now you might start to feel “grounded.”
When we do this, even if only for a moment, we’re paying attention to the energy in the lower extremities instead of the head. We can rest the energy of the mind.
- Using ginger and eating other root vegetables.
- Using essential oil of cedar wood in my infuser.
*I think the whole notion of chakras make a convincing metaphor for healthy living. And none of efforts have any side effects beyond making me feel better.