You can bury your head, or get out there

Our recent Snowmaggedon has got me thinking about people’s tempers and patience.  What I saw and what I heard were two different things.  Scenario: Pre-storm. Lots of grumblings about what Mother Nature was going to dump on us or how it was inconvenient to plans and fear of the unknown set in (fueled by the media hype).  Scenario: The day of and the day after.  Neighbors helping neighbors, people out and about in the neighborhood on foot, digging out the elderly, the injured and sick.  Those with plows coming to others rescues.  Those with 4WD driving workers to their jobs.  Communication and connection.  Scenario: Post-storm 2 days.  The grumbling begins again as the aches and pains of shoveling emerge, as the kids have an extra day off and a 2-hour delay on top of that.  Flashback two day: Connection, communication, community = Love.

Emotions are good to have but when suppressed or hidden can have catastrophic effects on our body and our mind.  My weekly inspiration from Ms. Mindbody highlights the need to express oneself and feel.  Enjoy.  To receive her weekly newsletter, subscribe to

Emotions Carry Messages. Are You Receiving Them?
Thursday, January 28 2016
Dear Diane,Kate irritatedIf we’re connected on Instagram (@MsMindbody) or Facebook (if we’re not, I’d love to be!), you saw this photo this week. It’s me, making my “Grrrr” face.
I was seriously irritated by something that I just couldn’t shake, despite doing all the things I know typically help me feel calm—I meditated, I talked to my husband, I wrote an angry letter (that I didn’t send, just to get it out of my head), I squeezed the stress ball my daughter made out of a balloon and some Playdough. But still, the aggravation was sticking to me like glitter.
I wanted to post a picture of myself all agitated because people have a perception that if they could just “get Zen,” they wouldn’t ever get upset about anything ever again.
And while it’s true that giving yourself regular opportunities to de-compress and to hear what you really think will in general make you less likely to have over-size reactions to things, you’re still human. You still have buttons. They will still get pressed. And that is actually a beautiful thing. Because emotions are messengers from the subconscious. They let you know when there’s something going on that needs your attention.
Most often, though, that something isn’t necessarily what you think it is.
I remember when I was doing my yoga teacher training, we also studied meditation with a high-level Shambhala meditation teacher. At that time in my life, I had just gone through an epic breakup, where my boyfriend, whom I thought I was going to marry, broke up with me because he’d fallen in love with his co-worker. Which, hey, love is funny like that. But I had just moved from New York City to New Jersey to live with him. Three weeks earlier. I was miffed, to say the least.
During those meditation sessions, I would sit on the cushion and feel my body temperature rise as my anger welled up. I felt so “un-Zen.” I felt like I must be doing something wrong. So I asked my teacher, “What do I do with all this anger?”
He told me, “There’s nothing to do. Just feel it and be curious. Because there is always something underneath anger, such as hurt or fear. And that’s what you need to be able to be present to for the anger to pass.”
Yeah. That. I was hurt that he’d chosen someone else, and afraid I’d be alone for the rest of my life. But it was easier to be pissed off than to admit that.
Ever since I’ve really let myself feel what I’m feeling. Emotions are like the stomach flu–you can’t talk yourself out of a need to vomit any more than you can talk yourself out of being angry. (This is kind of a gross metaphor—sorry about that!) But once you allow it to run its course, sure, you feel totally in the grips of something beyond your control for a bit, but it also subsides quickly. Pretty soon after, you’re back to your life feeling a lot lighter and like you survived something important.
Are you in the throes of some big, perhaps even scary emotion? Know this: There is something underneath all that swirling that is simple and true and that’s ready to be seen. On the most basic level, all you have to do is allow yourself to see it. But perhaps you have to get really stirred up and a little bit beaten down to get to the place where you will let it in. Whatever discomfort the emotion may be bringing, let it be in service of getting you to see what lies beneath. That’s when true healing happens.
And if you are in the throes of some major feelings and you’d like a little guidance as you walk through it, I can help. I save an hour a week for a sample coaching session for folks who are new to working with me. All you have to do to claim your spot is reply to this email and say, “Let’s talk.”
Kate signature

P.S. The message I finally saw underneath my extreme irritation this week was that I was scared to step out and do something on my own. The person I was dealing with definitely patronizing and rude, and that certainly pushed my buttons. But I can see now that the reason I couldn’t let it go was because I was angry that she was going to “make me” go do something my ego didn’t want to do. And I thank her for helping me have that realization. I don’t want to be friends with her or anything, but I can see she did me a service.

The Breath
Lions Breath (Simhasana)

Sit comfortably either in Sukhasana (Easy Seat) or on your heels. Take a deep inhalation through the nose. Then simultaneously open your mouth wide and stretch your tongue out, curling its tip down toward the chin, open your eyes wide, contract the muscles on the front of your throat, and exhale the breath slowly out through your mouth with a distinct “ha” sound. The breath should pass over the back of the throat.
Some texts instruct us to set our gaze (drishti) at the spot between the eyebrows. This is called “mid-brow gazing” (bhru-madhya-drishti; bhru = the brow; madhya = middle).Other texts direct the eyes to the tip of the nose (nasa-agra-drishti; nasa = nose; agra = foremost point or part, i.e., tip).
You can roar two or three times. Then change the cross of the legs and repeat for the same number of times.
Benefits: Useful for people with bad breath, relieves stress and can be used when you need to ease a tense situation, relieves tension in the chest and face, move stagnation in sinuses.
(Yoga Journal)

The Poses
Reclined Bound Angle (Supta Baddhakonasana)

Benefits: opens the hips and groin facilitating blood and energy flow to the urinary tract and reproductive organs. Opens the chest and abdomen benefiting breathing problems. 

Props: bolster, 4 blocks (or firm cushions, pillows or rolled-up blankets), 4 blankets and one extra blanket for warmth, strap and eye pillow

Place a block lengthwise under one end of a bolster to prop it up on an incline, add another block under bolster for stability. We used the wall in this week’s class placing the bolster at a higher elevation. Place a double-fold blanket on floor next to low end of bolster and a long rolled blanket on top next to bolster (for sacral support). Sit with your back to the short, low end of the bolster. Place two blocks where your knees will rest (can top with a soft blanket or use other props as necessary for propping knees)  Bring your legs into Bound Angle Pose with the soles of your feet together. Wrap a blanket around your feet to create a feeling of containment.  Lie back on the bolster. Place supports under your arms so that they are not dangling and there is no feeling of stretch in the chest. Stay in the pose for 10 to 15 minutes

Straddle Forward Fold (Childs Pose Variation)

Props: bolster, 2-4 blankets, may use a chair, if difficult to reach bolster.
Benefits: calming, gently stretches lower back, nice transition from the days activities.  A good pose to do if you need a few minutes break from your daily work, easy to do and easily accessible.  Good for headaches.  Breathing is easier since muscles of the respiratory system are relaxed.

Place blanket single-fold on bolster draping down. Legs can stretch through chair or straddle or cross-legged.  Arms placed folded on chair in front of you. Rest forehead on arms. Tilt chin slightly toward your chest.  Close eyes. For comfort or lower back issues, sit on blanket, add rolled up blankets under knees if legs in straddle, or blocks/blankets under knees if cross legged. May add a blanket at sacrum for grounding.