For almost two years, I practiced Bikram Yoga all the time. This was my way of de-stressing, working out, and becoming quite flexible (now I’m stiff as a board… ugh). I had to hang up my yogi mattress and sweaty towel due to lack of time (I have a horrid work commute). The good thing about doing yoga for so long is learning how to breathe. I am currently signed up to run a trail Ragnar and a marathon (every day I ask myself why I did this… like seriously, why?). I prefer to suffer through my runs without music so I can concentrate on my breathing. By listening to my breathing, I know when I should slow down (if I’m putting in too much effort) or if I can exert more energy and speed up. The most helpful tip I’ve learned from yoga and running is to breathe through difficulties, be it a posture or a giant steep hill.
I know that life is not a bunch of downhill runs or Shavasanas (yoga term for laying down like a motionless corpse on a mat). Life brings a lot a tough situations and obstacles that we all have to walk through. The question is, will you just sit down and give up, or will you power through and not be overcome by life? When I feel overwhelmed with life (and trust me, life can be overwhelming), I try and take the time to stop and breathe. This allows me to really adjust my perspective with what I’m going through. At face value it can seem like heartbreak hill in the Boston Marathon, but when I put it into perspective, it’s only a hill (I don’t have to run it, I can take my time walking it, this offers an opportunity to meet a new buddy and enjoy the scenery around me).
An example of this would be getting laid off my last job in 2014. I was told in October that funding would end for my position at the end of December (welcome to the world of development). Funny thing was, I had a feeling it was going to happen, but was told “We always need Program Assistants, we’ll never get rid of your position” (never say never, another post for another day). I could have totally panicked at the thought of being unemployed, but I took it nice and steady and “breathed” through the whole process. The funny thing about this whole experience is God gave me peace about the whole thing! Within a few weeks of finding out, I had applied for a handful of jobs, and received two job offers! I was able to take an extended winter break (have to use up the rest of that vacation time), and was ready to start my current job in the New Year.
Breathing through hard times is definitely something I’m still working through today. There are times I still panic, want to give up, and curl up in a ball under my covers watching random Youtubers as I eat gummy bears and jalapeño chips (don’t judge…that is a recipe for an epic Friday night!). Instead of going into cocoon mode, I’ll take five deep breaths while meditating on my current favorite verse (Jeremiah 29:11). This usually helps me calm down and puts life into perspective. So the next time we encounter difficult situation, let’s try stopping and breathing because God is still in control.
Let me know techniques you use to keep you calm during stressful situations.
p.s. Please let me know if you want to see posts about my marathon training. Most of them will probably be about me sitting in my house, eating chips, wondering why I signed up for the race… Like really, why did I sign up!