Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Finding Peace & Serenity Through Yoga Practice During Stressful Times~

Claude Lorraine

My literary muses have taken a lengthy holiday this year, which has left me stymied and unable to write. I’ve had no flashes of inspiration, creative insights or whispered revelations. Instead I’ve felt a bit lost by constant upheaval at work and concerns about my mother’s health.  Fortunately, I continue to practice yoga regularly and this practice helps me to find peace, serenity and spirituality in the midst of chaos.

Between January 1, 2016 and July 1, 2016 I’ve held three different jobs and reported to three different managers at my restructured, acquired, merged company. While each change moved me in the right direction so that I’ve now achieved the authority and a role for which I am eminently suited, the constant redirection has been stressful and discombobulating.  It was the best of times; it was the worst of times….to quote from my favorite Dickens’ book, A Tale of Two Cities.

This year my 85 year old mother, who is a force of nature and the strongest women I’ve known, has experienced several health issues that remind me too much of the frailty of life. I know that I am blessed, at age 57, to have both of my parents living, of sound mind, and able to live independently. In the spring after experiencing excruciating pain she was diagnosed with osteoporosis related pelvic fractures and two sacral fractures that required surgery followed by in-patient rehabilitation and both physical and occupational therapy to build strength to ambulate independently. Just as she achieved success in her therapy, she was diagnosed for the second time with breast cancer that has affected surrounding lymph nodes.  This means she will have to undergo a third major surgery this year followed by radiation.  Life just isn’t fair. She followed the rules, ate healthy foods, exercised regularly, stayed active and still the Fates intervened. 

My mental distraction subsequently resulted in my locking the keys to my car in the trunk on my birthday while I was on a business trip in New Jersey last week to meet my new management team. Because I drive a soft top and German engineering is all about safety, breaking into the vehicle still did not allow me to gain access to the trunk via the release button.  Nope, the car had to be towed to a BMW dealership and opened through a super secret squirrel manner that also disabled the automatic system that retracts the soft top. No doubt there will be more dollars wasted as a result of this folly.

So it was with great relief that I returned to my yoga practice this evening at Jala in Winchester, Virginia. Despite my high level of stress, I found a calmness, peace, serenity and renewed sense of positivity by the end of my practice.  Yoga helps reset my psyche and find my inner strength and acceptance of life. Through my yoga practice I am able to meditate, focus on my breath, find the peace within me, and heal my mind and body. Yoga does not change the fact that my job is stressful, that my mother is ill, or that my escapade with the car created unnecessary angst; however, I’ve learned that throughout my journey through life I can take an hour for myself to promote my physical and mental health, build strength and flexibility, and promote self love and self compassion, which is critical for living a well-balanced life. Many thanks to the yogis and yoginis who have shared their spiritual path with me and made it possible for me to heal.

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