Sydneysiders were recently divided into two distinct groups during World Youth Week – those who were uplifted by the pilgrims’ presence in our streets, and those who wanted to run them over for the havoc and inconvenience they caused.
I belonged to the latter.
Indeed, I was so offended by World Youth Week that I developed a rampant case of turrets and violent tendencies on my way to morning yoga. I told a police officer that I hated people, then referred to the pope as a ‘Paedophile Friendly Nazi’ and almost ran over a group of pilgrims, all because of the bedlam caused by road closures. Equanimity not achieved.
In my defense, I’m generally a relaxed person who takes it in her stride. But I do stay up late, work long hours and drink coffee. I thrive on a busy lifestyle and enjoy constantly being on the go and flourish amidst intensity. Show me stress and I’ll give you my best. My diary is forever crammed up with looming deadlines, meetings, to-do lists, drinks, birthdays, and catch-ups.
Normally I love it, but sometimes it feels like I’m living in a bloody pressure cooker.
Stress is no fun when it plays havoc with my appearance and messes up my skin – the after effect of too many long days and late nights. Ever wondered why your face glows and you radiate beauty after a holiday? Or why Johnson and Johnson named one of their best selling products Holiday Glow? It’s because even a few days away from the real world can drain the stress away from your face and body leaving you fresh and vibrant.
There are two different types of stress – acute stress and chronic stress. Acute stress occurs when you’re faced with an immediate danger such as being chased by a hungry bear. Chronic stress is when you live under consistently stressful conditions, including our own reality.
When we’re constantly under the hammer our bodies compensate and the hormones for growth and sex are greatly diminished. Blame it on evolution because in the hunter/gatherer days the last thing your body needs is a good old-fashioned rodgering when your about to be eaten by a bear, let alone midnight cuddles. The next to go is your digestion, because when your about to become food, you start to lose your appetite.
So can yoga help?
Hell yeah yoga can help. Yin yoga generally targets the connective tissues of the hips, pelvis, and lower spine and a calmer yin-style practice works to shift the nervous system into a parasympathetic or more passive state. Blood flow to the organs is increased and rebuilding the tissues is enhanced.
I don’t want this blog to get all peachy on you. But it’s important to know that practicing yoga isn’t simply about making your way to class two or three times/week.
It truly is a lifestyle choice. Amidst this pressure cooker we call life, we all have a choice. We all have the ability to choose the type of life that we want to live?
So what type of life do you want? Do you want to get sick at 40 from chronic disease? Do you want to work 12-hour days? Do you want to be stressed, tired, overweight, depressed? Or do you want to live a life that’s worth living?
Help turn the pressure down by making better lifestyle choices. Go to bed an hour earlier, meditate, take 10 deep breaths, sigh, eat good food, laugh and play with some good friends and great company. With regards to yoga, practice with 40 percent less effort, try easy, breath deeper, modify the pose and rest down.
So if having a life that’s worth living include taking some time out for yourself whether that be a week, a day or even an hour – do it! Nothing serves my inner-yogi-bitch more than a holiday, so go have some fun and serve you inner bitch too. Do what makes you happy and allow for equanimity to unfold.
Edited by: Hayley Samuelson
Tanya Maria Mah is a designer, the occasional seeker of all things true, a yogi, she can be creative, is frequently inappropriate, aspires for inspiration, a hippie (not a hipster), a teeny tiny disco dancer, a sometimes cook, and eternally optimistic. When asked for a bio she Facebook polled her friends for one word that describes her and they came up with the following: love hearts, crazy (this was mentioned a few times…), sunshine, bubbly, meatball, mcskank (personal joke), excitable, spunky monkey, delicious, pixie and charismatically crazy (a new spin on an old favourite!) To get in contact, please email firstname.lastname@example.org