Rooted in Tree Pose
Get it? Roots? Trees? Oh well.
Yesterday was one of those days where everything that can possibly go wrong decides to do so at the same time. It was one of the worst days I’ve had in a long time, and of course it was a Monday, so it felt like my whole week was off to the worst start and was basically doomed. I felt anxious at work all day, like I was on the verge of making 100 mistakes in everything that I was doing. I was just waiting for myself to screw up so I could beat myself up even further. To top it all off, I woke up with a pretty severe cold and irritated throat, so I had no energy to try and snap out of it.
In the past, after a day like yesterday, I would go home and slump on the couch, eat ice cream straight out of the carton, and watch TV until 3AM. While this might sound like a nice relaxing solution, I know by now that this does not ever actually help solve anything or make me feel better. Usually, it ends up making me feel worse. Instead, I kept telling myself to just get through the work day and get to the gym, and I would feel better. I day dreamed about squatting all day, knowing that getting nice and sweaty usually does the trick. But just in case that wasn’t enough, I also texted my friend Sarah and asked her to meet me for a free introductory yoga class at a studio I had never tried before. I was glad I did, because during my regular lifting session my mind was still going a mile a minute and I could barely focus. Putting my headphones on and trying to tune out everything around me wasn’t working because I was the one making myself feel miserable.
I made it over to the yoga studio and just seeing Sarah and talking with her for a little bit before the class started was already making me feel better. When your anxiety is running rampant, the last thing you need is to isolate yourself with your cuckoo thoughts. The yoga class was exactly what I needed. Having an instructor take us through a repetitive flow and poses with various levels of difficulty allowed me to turn everything off and just go through the motions. It was meditative and relaxing and refreshing all at the same time.
I noticed that I was still getting a little bit distracted by my crap day creeping back into my mind a few times, but that I felt especially at ease and calm while in tree pose. I made a mental note of that and decided to look into it further after class.
According to The Art of Living Foundation,
Benefits of the Tree Pose (Vrikshasana)
· This pose leaves you in a state of rejuvenation. It stretches the legs, back and arms, and invigorates you.
· It brings balance and equilibrium to your mind.
· It helps improve concentration.
No wonder it was exactly what I needed!
Last night when I got in bed I realized something – I don’t sleep “like a flamingo” like I always called it, I sleep in tree pose! (ppfffttttt mind blown). I like to sleep with one foot tucked up above the opposite knee, and I never knew why this felt like such a comfortable and relaxing way to fall asleep. I often find myself standing that way as well, like if I’m waiting in line at Starbucks I suddenly realize I kicked one sandal off and have been standing on one leg. Apparently my body knows how to take care of itself much better than I was aware of.
And now I know I have one more tool I can work with when I feel like I’m going crazy and my mind is taking off in a million directions. Root myself in tree pose. Hands at heart center. Take a deep breath. And relax.