Yoga is Stressing Me Out

Not really, but I do find myself clenching my jaw in class a lot. I think I’m putting too much pressure on myself to do well. I also think that I just have a stressful life. In the past, that stress would manifest itself physically in lower back pain. But I do enough yoga now that my body is usually pretty loose. But my brain is still stressed, hence the clenching of my jaw.

There are times when I worry about little things, but more than anything, I think I am just asking too much of my practice. Yoga can’t change my job and the expectations it brings. The truth is, my job is demanding enough that the thought of taking an hour away from being available via phone or email so I can go to yoga adds to the stress to the point where I am just praying for the class to end so I can check my iPhone and see if anyone is looking for me.

Today I took a more restorative class at Harlem Yoga Studio and I was all the happier for it. Last week I worked my way through some of the Ashtanga series during my morning practice – before my kids were awake, before anyone could possibly expect me to answer a work-related question. And while it wasn’t as physically demanding as some of the classes I like to take, it did give me the opportunity for some true moving meditation. Practicing the same postures every time is lovely. I am confident that I will memorize the sequence soon and then be able to truly let go of my thoughts. I am practicing the first three “lines” as it were – Sun Salutation A, Sun Salutation B and the first Standing Series.

I can feel the tension in my jaw now. But I am aware of it and am trying to let go. I wish I had a suggestion for you but it’s something I am just coming to terms with myself. If anyone has some thoughts on the matter, I would love to hear them. And I look forward to revisiting my Ashtanga practice in the morning. Just me, the mat, my kitchen and a quiet house.



2 thoughts on “Yoga is Stressing Me Out

  1. I can relate to the jaw tension you describe. The thing that works best for me is to practice vishama vritti pranayama. It’s essentially just fully and slowly inhaling and exhaling, but lengthening the exhalations. I usually inhaling while counting om1, om2, om3, om4 (hold briefly); and exhaling om1, om2, om3, om4, om5…

    Liked by 1 person

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