What Does Overwhelm Feel Like?

I’m glad the month of January is over. The New Year started off quite intense with loved ones in transition and health issues with those I love. As a teacher and trainer of all things embodied and stress-relieving it is not always easy for me to realize when I am overwhelmed! I am the one always counseling and teaching others how to release and often I can bypass when I need it the most until I stop and pay attention to my body and mind.

The thing I noticed first was tension in my body. Not surprising as this is where we will find the overwhelm of life land first. In our body through stuck points, discomfort and if ongoing, pain. The next thing I noticed was what was happening in my mind. I was scattered and forgetting things I don’t normally forget. Perhaps the biggest sign was feeling blocked. I did not even sit to write this newsletter until a few days ago as I was blocked on what to write! Once I recognized this truth, I was able to relax into it. When we are overwhelmed, the first thing we have to do to create a shift is to recognize and admit that we are overwhelmed! From there we can go to our body to investigate where and how we can feel this and then we can move toward release.

The practice I turn toward the most when anxious and overwhelmed is restorative yoga. Restorative yoga is a gentle, passive practice that allows your body to rest and release and restores your body and mind back into balance. While there are many postures to use, one of my favorites is Chair Pose. I offer this in my book as a pose of choice when we need to feel some ease in our body, mind and life.

For this pose you will need a mat to lie down on or a towel, a chair and two blankets or two pillows.

1. Lie down on a blanket or mat with a chair placed at one end.
Place a pillow or folded blanket (about 2 inches) under your low back and your legs over the chair, so that you are in an L-shape, with knees bent and calves resting on the chair. Place a pillow for support under
your head and rest here for 10 to 15 minutes.

2. You may play soothing music during this time or rest in silence,
concentrating and searching for sensations of ease, neutrality,
and release in your body.

3. When you are ready to release, simply draw your knees into
your chest and roll to one side. Stay a few minutes and return
to sitting when ready.

4. Notice how your body feels after this deep rest. See if sensations
that were unpleasant or tense have shifted in any way. Notice if the overwhelm in your mind has shifted in any way.

For more embodied practices and developing a deeper connection to your body read more in my book Befriending Your Body!

And big news! Stay tuned an audio book version of Befriending Your Body will be released soon!