Cars: parked and driving; people: walking, running, talking, shouting; animals: barking, cawing, scurrying, hopping. A vibrant melange of life. Or an overwhelming mess. It depends on how we’re feeling: stressed or relaxed.
For those days we’re more high strung than chilled out, yoga offers a quick and simple technique for calming our mind, and bringing us down from our health-damaging buzz.
On the mat: We soften our gaze, letting our eyes be unfocused. Sounds easy. It’s tough. Our eyes are made to help us out by staying focused, so we can clearly see what’s up ahead. But there are times when seeing what’s out there isn’t helping us at all. It’s only causing racing thoughts, stress and anxiety–so that when something actually worth getting worked up over occurs, we can’t react appropriately. We overreact.
So we learn on the mat to soften our gaze in certain poses, to help bring our attention away from our thoughts, away from our mind, and into and beyond our heart. Right into our deepest, calmest core. We lose it, as our eyes focus again, and we come back. We just keep coming back.
Off the mat: I invite you to try this. Let your gaze rest far in front of you, a bit higher than normal. Let your eyelids droop and your eyes be unfocused. If you have some sky to look at, that’s best. But you can do it anywhere: at your desk, on your lunchtime walk, on a bathroom break on your way down the hall, in line while running errands. Feel the peace and calm. Feel that things aren’t so overwhelming after all.