Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Yoga and the 405...or any freeway...

or, in traffic, in general.

Ok darlings,
I know it might not seem to make a difference, but when 'lil Ganesh and I are stuck in traffic, and yes, even we get stuck in traffic, it can be difficult to keep our superhero cool.
We can only fly with our yoga mat cape under the flight constrictions of LAX so even superheroes have to drive sometimes and always abide by the laws.

It is very important to be a good person and a good yogi when bumper to bumper, sharing the road with so many people.

Here's the deal, we don't know the trials someone else might be going through in a day, so we can't assume that the person to the left and right of us is calm under stress or practices awareness of themselves or those around them. We can only be aware of ourselves, our calm and those around us. It is a good practice.

It is not nice to cut someone off or not use your blinker but it is very common and really, as drivers, we should expect this.
We should anticipate that it might be rough out there to get from point A to point B and allow enough time to get where we need to go. Often, this isn't the case. Schedules are tight and this can produce anxiety in the body and mind when we get in the car and go.

If we follow the rules of the law and the rules of kindness and know that it might be difficult when we get behind the wheel, we will be more prepared to deal with the stress that comes along with it.

Simple remedies can help this situation. Calming music is always a good choice. I enjoy listening to Broadway showtunes, but that's just me. 'lil prefers 94.7 the wave for smooth jazz. We compromise.

Always use a bluetooth when making calls. Talk to good people and save the difficult people for when you are still and can be present to expel their difficult energy when you are clear and not moving amidst the chaos of traffic.

I enjoy talking to my mother. She entertains me with stories of the dog and cat and thunderstorms in NYC.

Try deep breathing to get you through. Full inhales and expand the belly like you were full but not stuffed with your favorite meal.

I think of chocolate chip cookies. That makes me happy.

As you exhale, let it all go. No one is watching so send out the breath with a sigh or if it's really bad on the road, a little scream.

That will release tension in the body. You don't want to keep the tension within as you drive, you need to let it go.
Like a burp.
It's gotta come out otherwise, it's gonna feel strange to keep it in.
If you are a seasoned yoga practitioner, try Ujjayi breathing.
That is an audible breath that sounds like a little snore or a tiny baby sleeping.
To practice this, inhale fully through the nose and let it out the mouth with the H-A sound of haaaa like you were cleaning a pair of your UVA protective sun glasses.
Try keeping the H-A sound as you inhale through the nose and exhale through the nose. It's not easy but once you do it a few times, you will notice your breath becomes deeper, you can relax and you are where you need to be in no time.

Saying a mantra or chant aloud or within is also a yummy way to clear the mind, take yourself out of the stress and pass the time.
I like OM. It's the universal sound that connects us together.
So Hum is also an oldie but a goodie. Inhale Soooooo, exhale hummmm.
Simply put, it means, I am that and that is me. We are one.
Nice, huh?
If you aren't into the whole yogi, sanskrit, chanting mantra thing, here are some other good ones.

If you know of someone who needs some support or love say their name loud and long. The vibration of their name and focus on their spirit will connect you with them and take your focus outside of the crazy traffic and where YOU need to be and on the person you love.
My sister is back at school to become a pastry chef. Going back to school can be hard.
She is making new friends and learning new things and that is a risk! I am so proud and admire her so much so when it took me an hour and a half to get to my client this afternoon, I simply repeated, Kaaaarrrrriiiiinnnnnn. Over and over. Every letter vibrated in my mouth, head and body and chilled me out, while sending her good vibes of comfort and support so far away.
You can chant the name of a country or organization in need or your own personal mantra.

My favorite mantra is, in your divine light I reflect. I'll just say that over and over until I feel relaxed, then I'll play A Chorus Line or The Lion King.
Just kidding. I'm not a fan of the Lion King, but maybe you are...or your kids!!
Hakuna matata!!! translation - there are no worries. Ok, that is a good one!

The repetitiveness of chanting will lull you into a place of bliss. Breathing deeply will relax and soothe the nervous system.
You will take your energy away from the stress of driving and fuel your energy with good, juicy, fun and peaceful feelings of relaxation.

You can also do a bunch of 'physical' exercises while stuck in traffic, but let's save that for another blog.

Until next time my darlings.

thinking outside the mat,

Lady Yoga

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