At the end of a Jivamukti yoga class some years ago, the teacher asked the students to lie down in savasana, which is basically a supine position on your mat. The teacher turned off the lights and began to talk about mula bandha, which is the Sanskrit term for the act of flexing your pelvic floor. It is more than an act; it is associated with one's foundation, identity, and roots. Lying on the floor in a dark room triggered my post-traumatic stress and I started to panic silently. The teacher just happened to begin explaining that part of mula bandha is sitting with the pain we might be experiencing instead of trying to run from it. I was actively trying to keep flashbacks and other sensations away, but when the teacher said this I decided to surrender to those scary feelings. Yes, it was painful, but it was also temporary. Eventually, those sensations passed away and I realized that it's okay to hurt.
Mindfulness and intentionality help me to focus more on the present and what I am capable of controlling instead of trying to control others or my circumstances. Instead of rejecting my negative emotions or sensations, I try to sit with them and wait for them to pass. Instead of panicking about having a panic attack, I say positive affirmations to myself and wait for it to pass. Everything is temporary - not just the good things, but the bad things, too. So much of my life I focused on everything that's going wrong. Now, I just acknowledge what's going wrong and remind myself that "this too shall pass." Peace follows shortly thereafter and even if that peace is temporary, it will return in time.
Natasha Akery: Teacher, Author, Wife and Mother
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