Do you ever feel overwhelmed by your workload? I have been talking with a client recently about creating space when the walls seem to be closing in.
Many people are new to working from home, especially full time. Even without the distractions of home schooling and young children in the house, it can be challenging to set boundaries and create space for productivity and creativity. The rigidity of office working needs to give way to the experience of exploring what works well for you.
I am by nature a very organised person. I like to compartmentalise parts of my day into chunks and goals, and I like to be totally focused on what I’m doing. I’m in the moment, in a routine. There are boundaries for when I work, rest and play. So for me, the adaptation required is a little softening towards my family as they come in and out of the room, or ask me a question or want to chat or share a hug. I have to accept that there will be interruptions and distractions, so that I am better able to give my full attention to these important human interactions.
Do you find you’re more easily distracted these days?
Our autonomic systems are working really hard to maintain homeostasis. External influences affect our nervous systems and can cause fear, grief, anxiety and feelings of isolation, according to Tias Little, author of Yoga of the Subtle Body, A Guide to the Physical and Energetic Anatomy of Yoga. It is easy to underestimate the strain we’re under, against a backdrop of easing lockdown and police brutality. The sheer horror and disregard for human life shown by the police in Minneapolis will have left its imprint on our psychological bodies. The effect will be felt in our breath and physiology.
How can I help?
I can help you to create space. Take yourself to a vast open space, in your mind or your imagination. Maybe you’re in the Alps or the hills of the Lake District. There is space all around you. Your breath intuitively expands into your ribs and the base of your lungs. You can stretch out as much as you want. There are no boundaries. The temperature is warm and the sun is shining. You feel open, calm, expansive and free. Pay attention to the quality and nature of your breath as you do this.
Our breath is the basis of everything we do. It is a window onto our nervous system and we can change the state of our nervous system by consciously breathing. We can become aware of what a balanced state feels like in our breath, so that we get early warning signs when it goes awry and becomes tight, fast or shallow. Breathing deeply creates space in our lungs, improves immunity and sleep, and reduces anxiety.
When we are relaxed and at ease, we naturally breathe deeply, our bodies soften and our minds are calm. By focusing on the breath, our bodies intuitively switch to the parasympathetic nervous system, our relaxation response. Conversely, when we are stressed and the world is closing in on us, the breath becomes short and fast, our bodies stiffen and our minds scattered. The breath is a simple and powerful tool that is always available and connecting to it allows us to navigate our lives with ease.
Try this short focus on the breath by Tara Stiles, founder of Strala Yoga.
“Close your eyes and simply bring your attention to your breath. Is it short, fast, long, or deep? Something else? Just watch it as it comes in and rolls out. Notice the space between your breaths. If you notice your attention wandering away from your breath, see if you can guide it right back. Become an easy observer of what is happening, just as you are when you lie on the grass on a warm sunny day and watch the clouds drift by in the sky”.
The breath is our ultimate nourishment. The simple act of observation creates space that helps us gain perspective, slow down scattered or racing thoughts, and taps into our creativity, intuition and purpose.
Just imagine how much space you could open up in your mind and body if you made a regular practice of paying attention to the breath.
Nicky guides Strala Yoga and offers stress and sleep solutions, based on Traditional Chinese Medicine. To book, go to www.loveyogabird.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org.