Posted by: Bruce Black | June 1, 2018

A Place of Serenity

“Anxiety’s like a rocking chair. It gives you something to do, but it doesn’t get you very far.” — Jodi Picoult

What happens on my mat to dispel my anxiety, to bring me into a place of serenity, calmness, and peace?

The moment I step onto my mat, I feel as if I’m stepping into a calm sea, and I can feel the gentleness of the waves soothing me from my feet up through my ankles and calves, knees and thighs, all the way up to my hips, chest, shoulders, and neck.

It’s as if I’ve immersed myself in a sea radiating warmth and peace.

It happens almost instantaneously, how I lower my guard and drop my defenses, how I feel safe on my mat. It’s a place where I can step away from the anxieties and stresses of my day. For a few minutes–a half-hour or an hour of practice at home, or a 90-minute class at the yoga studio–I can leave behind my worries.

It’s as if I can physically take them off my back the way I can remove a backpack or put down a suitcase. I can set them on the side of the mat or in another part of the room so they don’t bother me, and for the time I’m on my mat they are forgotten. I can live each moment without anxiety or stress.

I step on my mat, or I lie down on it and close my eyes, and I leave behind stress by deepening my breath and going inward into a different space–a space of peacefulness, calmness, and serenity that is always part of being human but which I can easily forget in the tumult of daily life.

It’s these moments of reconnection–of re-remembering–that give yoga its power; it’s for these moments of peace that I keep returning to the mat.

I can open my fists and relax. I can deepen my breath and stop running. I can sit and pause and listen to my heart. I can take a deep breath, then another, without worrying about the phone that is ringing or my next e-mail or where I have to be in a half-hour.

I can float in the moment and observe waves of breath rising and falling, and I can listen to the sounds of life as it pulses around and within me: the call of birds, the voices of children or neighbors, the sound of the wind, the music of falling rain.

And I can know in these moments spent on my mat that I am alive, calm, serene, and at peace.

Practice Journal: The world can be a crazy and dangerous place, and our anxiety can play a large part in our lives and in how we respond to whatever life brings us. What happens on your mat that helps reduce your sense of anxiety and brings you into a different place–a place of safety, calm, and peace? #Write: 15 min.



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