When I started practicing yoga, it was for one reason. I just wanted to feel better. It was a tough time in my life and my body, my heart, and my mind felt like it was on the verge of breaking into a million little pieces. Yoga felt like my last resort, something to try because I knew I had to try something before I lost my grip.

The good news was that yoga is exactly what I needed, I just didn’t know that at the time. In fact, if I hadn’t watched a documentary on how yoga had transformed the lives of many, including this one, very memorable old man, who had been an overweight, out of shape, hard partying, 40 year old, transformed into a radiant beacon of health and muscle and peace, I might never have turned to yoga in the first place. But, life has a way of putting things in our path to point us in the right direction, if we’re paying attention. By the way, this guy was 80-something at the time of this interview, and he looked amazing, practically glowed, and was ripped, at 80-something! This shit works.

Also, I wish I could remember the name of that documentary. If you know of it, please tell me.

If you’re reading this, you’ve probably gone through, or are going through now, some shit that feels like wading through quicksand. Whether it’s money troubles, grief, a broken heart, health issues, broken self-confidence, or addiction, I’ve been there. It sucks and I don’t want you to be there. You don’t have to stay in that place. So, today, I thought I’d give you three ideas you can implement immediately, in case you’re not up for heading out to a yoga class (my favorite form of therapy).

  1.  Find a way to move your body.  You have a lot of options here, so just do what sounds like a good idea today.  Maybe just go for a walk?  Maybe go someplace heavy on the nature, like a park or the woods?  Or maybe follow along to a workout or yoga video on YouTube?  Maybe find a pool and go for a swim.  The important thing is to get your body moving and improve your circulation (of blood oxygen, lymph, and hormones).   We need movement in order to feel at peace and work doesn’t count.  I know, when you feel bad, the last thing you feel like doing is moving your body, but if you can do it for even a few minutes, it will help more than you can realize in that dark place. 
  2. Find a way to breathe.  Most of us, especially during stressful times, tend to take shallow breaths without even realizing it.  This is like a shorthand note telling your brain to freak out and feel anxious.  You can switch this off and signal your brain to chill the hell out if you deepen your breath, even for just a few breaths.  Sit tall, breathe in to fill up your lungs and expand your belly.  Let it out more slowly than you took it in.  Yes, it really is that simple.
  3. Turn on your parasympathetic nervous system.  Things that turn on your parasympathetic nervous system are the things that help you to deeply relax.  By deep relaxation, I mean, that feeling of losing yourself in a moment of unconscious drifting, like floating peacefully.  I’m not talking about going to sleep, and I’m not talking about floating on a raft in a pool.  I’m talking about going deeper and turning off the chatter in your head.  You know, that monkey mind chatter that’s always going in the background, right?  We need a break from that.  Things that turn on your parasympathetic nervous system are things like meditation, guided meditation, a great massage, and reiki.  The more often you can flip this flip switch, the easier it becomes to chill out and handle things smoothly when it all goes sideways. It’s like training your body to react with calm.  I highly recommend carving out a little time each day for a guided meditation (easiest) or other meditation (can be challenging when you’re feeling like poo).  You can find about a gazillion for free on YouTube or buy them from Amazon. 


These all sound too simple to turn the trick, I know. But the fact is, each works. While we are very complex beings living in a highly complicated world, it really is the simple details that make all the difference. Unplug. Put on your tennis shoes. Go for a walk and breathe deeply.

If you can’t get up and out today, pull out your phone or computer and turn on a guided meditation. Lie down. Let yourself put down the weight of your troubles for a little while. You don’t need to carry them. They’ll still be there when you get back, but you may just find that they’re easier to deal with after a break. And don’t you deserve a break? (You do.)

Never underestimate the power of simple things.