Inner Yoga – A Tool to Reduce Stress Anytime, Anywhere

It’s 4:55 and I’m stuck in traffic in SOMA. I’m cutting it close to my 5:00 client and can feel my blood pressure rising. The light turns green, but nobody is moving. I feel like honking, but recognize my anxiety and decide to practice some inner yoga instead. 

Although I teach yoga for a living, I am not exempt from feeling stressed, anxious, annoyed, impatient, and sad.

Fortunately though, yoga always makes me feel better no matter what. But, when I experience any of those uncomfortable feelings arising, I may not be able to jump into a yoga pose (maybe I’m driving or having a conversation with someone). In this case, what I do instead rather than the physical yoga, is some inner yoga.

What I mean by inner yoga, is the practice of being open and awake to whatever is happening as it’s happening with focus and relaxation. I know, noticing uncomfortable feelings arising may not be fun nor easy to sit with at first.  It’s common that when we’re in the throws of the sad or anxious feeling, it can be all consuming and feel as if it will never end!

When I feel stressed, most times I want to push it away NOW!

The inner yoga though is a practice where with reps, sitting with the feelings, noticing them, and eventually seeing them for what they are – a fleeting and temporary emotional human phenomenon will actually become accessible. The mere act of seeing these feelings as just a feeling, may unwind the stress the difficult emotions created and make more space for you gain perspective and to feel joy.

So the next time you feel an uncomfortable feeling, I invite you to recite these two phrases to yourself and breathe calmly:

1) how do I meet this moment more fully?

2) how do I meet this moment as a friend?

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