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How Can Yoga Be Stressful?

IMG_0234Most people think of yoga as being a relaxing, calming, gentle workout for body, mind and spirit, unless it’s a Power Yoga workout.

But yoga stressful? No way!

I’ve always relaxed in yoga classes until I started yoga immersion and teacher training and began to stress about yoga.

Here’s what happened that really stressed me out in last month’s training at Yogakula.

About an hour before lunch, Siri, one of our teachers, gave us an unexpected in class assignment. We counted off into groups and were told to choose an asana, yoga pose, and one of the alignment principles and then create a brief sequence that would be timed (3 minutes) and critiqued by the other groups members. She gave us 5 minutes to prepare.

I reviewed the different asana categories, things like standing poses and arm balances, and the principles but I couldn’t make up my mind. I’d pick one, then another, and kept changing my mind. I was breathing too fast, my focus and energy were scattered and had no idea what I was going to do.

Instead of preparing to teach a sequence, I almost worked myself into a panic attack. It didn’t help that I didn’t know why this was happening and had no time to look at what was coming up for me.

Siri asked if we were ready and I admitted I was having difficulty with the assignment and couldn’t decide on what to do. So she gave me the alignment principle to use.

In our group shared teaching practice, I was the last teacher. I had no idea what I was going to say, do or teach. I knew I’d have to wing it. (I’m usually fine leading activities this way once I’ve achieved a level of understanding and confidence, but I’m not there yet with yoga).

Thanks to a prayer to my Yoga Angels that morning, I got up, took a breath and told my group mates to grab a block, stand at the top of their mat and made-up a sequence on the spot.

Somehow I survived those 3, excruciatingly long minutes!

While I refueled during lunch, I reflected on what had happened and began to understand why I had reacted in such a panic, which is so unlike my usual state.

You see… the timed assignment, with little time to prepare and the peer critique triggered memories from childhood when I had to take a timed standardized test I couldn’t study for. Add in the fact that I was tired after a long, intense morning and hungry. It was almost 3:00 PM and I’d eaten an early breakfast. No wonder I was stressed and triggered!

I share this with you because when most of us get stressed, all we want is for the difficult situation to be over and done with so we can forget about it and move on to the next thing. However, what I’ve learned by working on myself and with clients is that if we don’t take the time to get the lesson or nugget of truth contained in the stressful situation, we’ll repeat it again and again until we do. The only thing is that the next time the Universe brings us a similar lesson, it’s usually harder to pass.

So, if you ever get stressed or panicked and want a plan to help you process your stress, send me an email to NOW and get the help you need.


Love, blessings, sparkles and JOY,


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