I recently took Jill’s Breath and Bliss Immersion. It was amazing and I learned so much for clients, for myself and notably tools to calm the savage beast of my anxiety disorder. I had no idea that the next week an individual would call with the complaint of “I’m not sleeping, I just can’t relax, thoughts keep spinning in my mind and I’m so stressed out!” Ah ha! I knew yoga could help, and especially with the renewed understanding I gained from training.
The dude is quite a character, 70+ years’ old, thin, wiry, wired, constant deadlines as a high powered Bay Area artist, whose art is featured internationally and in museums. He moved to our small town, I believe, to relieve some of the energetic tension one gets bombarded with in a big city like San Francisco.
He was obviously in sympathetic dominance override. In consultation I asked about what he eats, drinks, and how he breathes. The other keys I routinely inquire about is how a client exercises, rests, and thinks.
I already know he can’t sleep or rest. His exercise routine is a typical Type A: the harder the better, weights, running, everything high intensity. His diet is relatively clean and organic. He drinks mostly herb teas, not a lot of coffee or stimulants.
I did a breathing diagnostic tuning into the pathway of his native breath and watching with awareness as he proceeds. Then I requested he grow his breath and expand into the three abodes: pelvis, ribcage, and upper chest. And I watch. Where is the restriction the fear the blind spot? A long time weight lifter back in the 70s & 80s his breath was not smooth and rhythmic, but forced and extremely vigorous as if preparation for a heavy bench press. It appeared as a big explosion into the belly then nothing into any thoracic or ribcage portion of his form.
Most importantly how he thinks. Wow. This man is responsible for all the woes of the earth, politics, and his family. He’s an activist and wants to save the bees and the planet. He is intense, passionate, and pissed off! Raging and angry at the current state of the environment and our government. He carries all of this energy with him in his mind constantly.
With this information about his anxiety-related sleep problems in mind, I felt it wise to focus my recommendation prescriptively for how he breathes, exercises, and thinks.
In Yoga Tune Up®, we have “the five P’s.” These are ways to turn on your off switch. And the more these are met, the more profound the relaxation response will be. Join me next week as I discuss and apply the five P’s, providing guidance for down-regulation, relaxation, and recovery.