Monday, December 10, 2012

Panic in the Yoga Room

(I am making up for lost time on Blogger.  I have missed writing a couple of weeks and it is so nice to know that the lessons are still with me and notes on my iPhone to help remember though.  I am trying to hit 70 blogs or more to match with the previous years.  If I continue to stay conscious, I think I am going to do it...)

Today was BIG for me and it is only 10am.

* I tried a new yoga class at a different Y. I didn't know anything about the teacher.

*I wore form fitting clothing out of necessity after having my shirt fall in my face during certain poses.

*I didn't put my mat at the back of the class.

*I practiced looking at myself in the mirror even with my squishy parts and remembered that my body is allowing me to move through these poses as I mentioned in the "Yoga in the Mirror" post.

At the end of the class during my FAVORITE part, shavasana,  I realized in a panic that the instructor had turned all the lights off and it was pitch black in the room.  There was a massive rain storm coming through during the class.  I had to struggle to hear the instructor through the class even though I was closest to him because the rain was so loud.  My thoughts began to be distressed. I wanted to bolt.  I don't like the dark.  I could feel my anxiety reaction, the one that occurs in my arms physically manifesting my fear.

And then I remembered what my therapist and I had discussed about anxiety last week.

Anxiety = not being in the present moment. 

This was so illuminating for me.  I think I have had such low grade anxiety for years because of all the time I spent worrying about what I could, couldn't do, obsessing over so much.
As I layed there in the most relaxing time of yoga, panicked, I focused on my thoughts.  I kept my eyes open and spotted the red exit sign and some small red lights of the stereo.  I did this until I relaxed a bit and I kept thinking things to keep me in the present...  I don't even really remember what it was but it worked.

I didn't relax to the extent that I normally do but I also didn't bolt.  (See I'm judging myself)  In the midst of my panic, I did think this is practice for my upcoming plane flights and elevator rides in NYC!  Those upcoming events  that could bring out my claustrophobia are what prompted me to bring it up with my therapist in the first place.

I never had put together that anxiety could flow through just like the other emotions that I have practiced allowing through.  This claustrophobic anxiety feels so physical and different from avoiding sadness or anger because the very specific triggers seem different.  I did not put it in the same category.  I do think that sometimes I will need the assistance of medication, for flights or somewhere else that my claustrophobia is too much and that is O-Kay.  It is nurturing myself through a situation beyond my control.  I don't have to white knuckle it and be miserable AND I don't want to keep myself from flying to new adventures.


Namaste with Cat Barging In the self portrait....


  1. Hahaha...the cat totally photo bombed you!

    Thanks for the reminder that anxiety = not being present.

    1. This evidently IS my lesson for December! Ha Ha