Week 5: Keeping my eyes on the prize.

As I looking back from the beginning of this course I see that my field of understanding have expanded in terms of how I see myself and the world around me,  and that once I start observing myself the outside influences really does not affect me that much. On a physical level my body has become a little more flexible and that I enjoy doing the exercises a little bit more.  I am learning to really appreciate the fact I can go home and follow a set of exercise before I get into everything else.

MeditationNCMC


Week 4: The Off Switch

Make a list of common occurrences in your day that invoke stress.

  1. Thinking about tasks too much;
  2. Multitasking;
  3. Thinking about looking for job or making money;
  4. Let someone hit my harmony.

Make a list of your body’s sensations that arise with stress.

  1. Fast heart beating;
  2. Hands shaking;
  3. Clamps in the body.

Create your own personal statement of intention.

This week I am improving my skill of switching off. I am aware of any stress I am experiencing and I slide it away from my life.

Create your own off switch protocol.

  1. Do some physical activity to reduce awakened energy.
  2. It it is possible, lay down or sit.
  3. Take five long deep breaths.
  4. Tune into your present moment. What do I feel? What is around me?
  5. Repeat if necessary.

Goals update

My goal was to do yoga twice a week for at least 30 minutes. I have been doing good on achieving my goal, between bad weather and being called in to sub some some mat and aerial yoga classes it has been pretty easy to get the sessions done.

When I am teaching I don’t get a chance for shavasana and when I go to the gym it depends on if where I can practice. Even with out Shavasana I do feel relaxed after the stretching and it is noticeable the next day at work, I have more patience with the phones

 


~The Off Switch/ Day 2/20/11/2017

Normal day, waking up late after mountain day, just slight stress to get to uni on time again. More of a stress situation comes for some reason when I’m talking to people knowing, that I have to be somewhere else or doing something else, but at that moment I can’t just say ‘let me take my breathing time’ to that person. I believe that is related with my anxiety.

Later at home, I got overwhelmed by the amount of my tasks and just thought for a bit and sat down, closed my eyes and started breathing deeply, I noticed how my body felt in tension and I tried releasing it by freeing my mind of the worries. It did work in a way

~ I know this has nothing to do with it, but just look at the beauty!

That’s the beauty of north of Spain. The wildlife. The silence


Self-compassion

As the title of the online course I am taking suggests, Being Well in a Digital Age – The Science and Practice of Yoga is about wellness, in particular self-wellness. Below is the opening banner from Self-compassion.org, the site of Dr Kristin Neff whose work focuses on the scientific study of self-compassion.

self compassion
As defined by Neff, there are three elements of self-compassion:

  1. self-kindness
  2. common humanity
  3. mindfulness

You can learn more about what self-compassion is on Neff’s site here and here. I am interested in further exploring the Guided Meditations and Exercises available on the site, partially for myself and partially to learn more about this and consider ways to possibly embed some of this in the twice-weekly yoga sessions I lead.

 


Yoga course – About Stress

Still processing all information about stress and how to deal with it, the main subjects on week 4. It is happening in a particular stressful day, so its being already helpful.

My stress symptoms (they can be very different from one person to another) are: headache, head tension, palpitations, lack of focus… Its interesting to notice, because its the first step to be able to intervene. The next days I will journal about my interventions on stress moments.


Eight components of a Balancing Life.

 

Inspirational / Spiritual Nourishment / Physical Health
Finding your sense of Self

Joy

Meaning

Enthusiasm

God

 

Nutrition

Movement, Exercise

Touch, sounds, light, silence

Mental Health Learning / Education
Awareness, inner vision

Mindfulness

Attitude, Frame of mind

Self-talk

Wonder

Life as a learning experience

Understanding

Truth, reflection

Teaching others

 

Community Recreation
Contribution to others
Contribution to earth

Multicultural

Nonpolluting

Spiritual value of work and play

Creativity

Relaxation

Rejuvenation and refreshment

 

Loving Relationships Career
Family

Couples, intimacy

Forgiveness, acceptance

Compassion

Trust

Making a difference

Financial Security

Lifestyle desired

Attracting value-driven people to your team

 


The Off Switch

The Off Switch

This statement stroke me “one of the most healing mechanisms on the planet is our own ability to hit the brakes or flip the switch off the stress responses. By simply using our awareness and breath, we can invoke immediate change in our chemistry”. That’s so powerful and available at the same time. That’s why I decided to focus on “the off switch” assignment to journal during week 4.

My list of daily occurrences of stress is:

  1. Get the kids on time to school. Get them to be aware of time and not to be late
  2. Make the time to get the Yoga course on track
  3. Get my younger son to make home learning independent and just supervise him.
  4. Control hours of digital play (ipad, playstation, etc) of my son
  5. Cook dinner at the same time as I am dealing with homework and routine of my son.
  6. Balance work and routine exercising
  7. Balance all the professional and house-family routines.
  8. Think too much about the future. Difficult to be here and now.

I think this list of “stressors” is enough to focus my attention during week 4. My body sensations that usually arises when these situations get out of my “control” are: 1) I feel my breath is short and fast, 2) I feel tired, 3) I feel angry and anxious, 4) I start tell things I should not (like threats to my son).

So, my personal statement of intention is:

“I will take full responsibility for my calm and balance by using my awareness of stressors and breath to return to balance and clarity when facing daily stress situations”.

My own off switch protocol is:

  1. Notice my body’s sensation of stress.
  2. Take 3 to 5 long deep breaths.
  3. Take a glass of water if possible
  4. Or go outside or consider my surroundings to switch my brain to clarity and away from losing my self-control.

My week 4th in the course was less stressful than previous week. I used my protocol twice to keep self- control in two daily situations that were kind of anxious to me. I used a lot of long deep breaths during the whole week. I am also happy as I completed all the lectures and on matt assignments. I practiced the mini yoga lessons after 30 minutes’ walk where I tried to focused on my breath and mindfulness state. I am making progress little by little. I prefer to practice yoga than meditation. I feel I connected more with myself for more time when I am engaged in asanas. Pure meditation is still a challenge for me.


~ The Off Switch/ Day one/19/11/2017

This last Sunday, me and some friends decided to visit ‘Picos de Europa’, the most beautiful mountains in the ‘Cantabricas’ region. Although it’s quite far from León, where I currently live.

We started our journey in early morning, BUT, instead of 7 am, we finally left León, after visiting gas station, at 9 am, so there was the first delay. When waiting for our friend to pick us up, I think the slight stress was getting to me. But mainly, because one friend mentioned ‘what if something happened to him? Such as an accident?’ and that transformed my thoughts into the bad scenario way. Although there was a really low possibility and that’s what I was trying to tell myself, some moments it affected me. Before that, I was thinking about the day in the mountains, about not managing everything, that we will be short of time, but I tried quickly getting rid of the thoughts and the feelings in the way that, there’s nothing I can do about it now, he is already late..

I set as my ‘Off Switch’ protocol these steps:

  1. Stop the activity I am doing as the moment I get stressed I lose my attention
  2.  Realise the sensations that I described happening in my body, notice them, be with them for a moment, be mindful of them.
  3. Start breathing deeply and slowly (as said in the video, 5 breaths sound good)
  4. If circumstances allow me preferably take 5 minutes to realise my breath and meditate

So, did I need to apply it? That morning, I only applied reasonable thinking, but none of the steps of my Off Switch Protocol, since I was with my friends and also I wasn’t with so much stress as the stress of everyday life.

Later, I was stressed again, when the boys were walking really very slow on our hiking route, and maybe more than stressed I was irritated, unfortunately. Stressed about the fact we wouldn’t get anywhere.. What I did as a coping strategy was to start being mindful of the nature around, of the environment surrounding me and the wonderful beauty.

So I was just walking faster at most times, although I was still walking slow for me, but couldn’t adapt to their pace.

Last stressful situation and the most serious one was that when due to all these delays, we got stuck in the mountains in the dark…..and we couldn’t find our way. That’s when some of us might have been panicking, because in the night, the mountains get into below zero temperatures. I was already under the effect of my stabilising medication which I started taking in the evenings, so at some moments, the stress, the panic was getting to me. But I was trying to think of consequences and of the fact we would survive until sunrise and then find our way. When stress was getting to me, I tried to breath slowly and be mindful of the surroundings. I didn’t apply more of that, since it was different kind of stress from the one in every day life and also I was surrounded by people.

As the last step is meditation, I can try to meditate when with other people and walking, although it might not work in all cases.

My journal is late, because we arrived back at 2 am 🙂