Even though yoga is my go-to for dealing with my anxiety, every now and then when taking a class, my racing thoughts refuse to settle.
The moments leading up to the class starting are always the most awkward for me. As I sit on my mat waiting for class to begin, I usually feel creepy crawly in my body and overly self conscious.
In my mind, I'm questioning every move I do or don't make. The anxious part of my brain is trying to visualize what I look like in a strangers perspective and the sensible part of my brain is reminding me that no one is paying attention to me. Thankfully, as soon as the teacher starts giving instructions, these feelings usually dissipate.
But sometimes the chatter in my mind carries on.
So, just in case you have ever wondered what's going on in the minds of the people around you, here’s a peek inside my mind over the course of an hour long hot yoga class.
No one is looking at you,
No one is looking at you,
No one is looking at you.
Is my mat too close to hers?
Should I move?
Am I taking up too much space?
Why is my mat crumbling?
I need to paint my toes.
oh good we're starting
YASSS childs pose
Are those my feet that smell?
Anddd my face is in someones butt
I hope my pants aren't see through
Can anyone see my leg trembling uncontrollably right now?
I’m literally dripping sweat
Yes, toxins be gone!
I need a new mat
Am I doing this right?
This feels amazing
I'm going to puke
How is she talking while doing this?
I wonder where she got her mat
I feel so fucking alive
This playlist is great
I like her shirt
No, not this pose!
I wonder if it's almost time for savasana?
Seriously, is that my feet I smell?
Oops I touched that girls hand
I’m so glad I came.
I want ice cream.
It'd be nice to go swimming.
I'm going to sleep good tonight.
did I say that too loud?
Sound familiar at all? Or is it just me?
If you can relate, here's a few tips to help you with focus:
1. First, don't beat yourself up
It’s normal to have thoughts. Your mind is not supposed to go blank, I don't even think that's possible. The aim is to just notice the thoughts, and then let them go passing by.
Remember, every day is different, some days you feel more at peace then others, it's fine.
2. Focusing on your breathing
Yeah, simply breathing in and out consistently. Funny how we can forget to do that sometimes.
3. Use a mantra
A mantra is a word or short phrase you repeat to yourself as a form of meditation. It could be something like “I am strong, I am enough” , “inhale peace exhale stress.” , "breathe in, breathe out"
4. Find a drisde point.
This is a spot on the floor or the wall that you stare at with intense concentration in order to help you keep your balance. You want to pick a place that is un-moving, so a person around you would not be a good choice.
5. Speaking of the people around you...
Try not to pay too much attention to them. Key word try. If you can't see the teacher or are unsure what the pose your doing is supposed to look like then by all means look around to see what everyone else is doing.
Resist the urge to compare your body or compete with the person next to you or in front of you. Yoga is most definitely not a competition.
We’re all there for the same core reason: For ourselves.
These tips apply to all areas of life too, not just in yoga class. If you struggle with racing thoughts I hope you remember some of these tips, and maybe one or two will help. :-)
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