Worry can be a bit of a theme at this time of year, as it is associated with the earth element, late summer and the meridians of the spleen and stomach. This ‘emotion’ or mental state is often referred to as rumination, and it’s not a fun hobby to engage with. Once you head down the slippery worry slope it gets harder and harder to get back on track.
Sometimes it’s in our turn of phrase, ‘Oh I’ll worry about that later’ or ‘Let’s not worry about that just now.’ Does this sound like something you might say or maybe it’s someone you know? While they don’t literally mean they will sit down and worry about something at a later time they are giving away clues to their internal state of mind.
As I’ve said before, I am a worrier-in-recovery. The earth element is a perfect association for the notion of worry because the thoughts keep revolving around and around, much like our planet turns each day, week, month and year. The endless motion of the planet earth mirrors perfectly the worries as they accumulate, build and morph in our minds.
Being stuck in our heads isn’t always a fun place to be and when we adopt worry as a hobby that’s where we spend most of our time. The psychological stress we place on ourselves through imagined futures and relived pasts is a breeding ground for more serious mental health issues and difficulties regulating pain. I know that when the worry monster would take over my thoughts, a migraine was never that far away.
This is where our yoga comes into its own, because we can use the earth element as a way to balance all this time in our heads by doing the opposite – grounding ourselves. There are a few methods to getting out of your head, let me know which one you’re going to try.
- Walking Barefoot
Ok so maybe this is a bit more challenging in September in Scotland, but bear with me. Even a short amount of time walking or standing on some grass could prevent insomnia, regulate heart health, improve our eyes and reduce inflammation. This is all to do with reflexology points on the feet and their corresponding organs within the body. Action – head outside and try walking on some grass for 5 minutes, build up to 30 minutes over time. Bonus points if you live near a beach and can spend some time walking on the sand!
2. Work on your Drishti or gaze point
Drishti is the point of focus in a yoga posture, where our gaze should be placed. The theory is that where our attention goes our intention flows. Even in yin poses choose where you take your gaze to, looking forwards offers the benefits of openness whereas gazing down and inward takes your attention in a more introspective direction.
If you want to get out of your head then take up meditation. This has been the most beneficial lesson I have learned from all my yoga trainings. When I don’t meditate, I feel worse, my mood is lower and my tolerance levels plummet. Meditation doesn’t have to be complicated, there are some wonderful (free) apps, audios and videos to help guide you. Ultimately, though, it’s a good idea to try to find a meditation practice you can do without using technology – well that’s a goal for the future, not something to worry about just now 😊