Being Bipolar isn't EASY

and the Art of Slowing it Down

The path to wisdom

namaste

Can you have balance in warrior three (3) if the chemicals in your head are out of whack? Can you find a moment of silence, peace if you will, out of your tree pose if your mind is fettered?? Can you choose to act kindly and with compassion when you really want to lament the torture that you have been asked to endure? The answer, in my experience, is a resounding YES!

There are days that I may be more easily distracted but to clear the channels between my thoughts, I find my drishti. I focus my gaze on one spot and/or lower my eyelids once I assume a particular posture to dampen the visual noise of the teacher walking around or my son’s toys on the floor.

I have learned to do the same when the unhealthy voices in my head cloud/blur reality. In recent years, I have learned to put up imaginary blinders when outside running my errands. Often I have had to use my hands to shield my eyes, to tune in/focus, and tune out the cacophony around me. Rather than running home and hiding underneath my blanket, I find accomplishing the chores I set out to do, in the midst of troubled moments, helps me feel better about myself. It helps me feel functional when I am truly dysfunctional.

Many a years I have practiced yoga, budokon and other forms of seated and or walking meditations hypno-manic and/or moderately depressed and I have found that it helps me to go with the flow. Being present helps me to keep my shit together! Constantly opening myself to what the Universe is offering me both in the grand scheme, i.e. life lessons, and even the littlest, tiniest, everyday things like being kind to the grocery clerk when he drops my eggs allows me to walk steadfastly on the path towards spiritual growth and development.

Often I roll out my mat surrendering myself to the Universe, with the centering thought let’s see where this will lead… I practice knowing that the physical postures will rub off on my innermost being and help to make all of my endeavors easier, effortless and more natural.

The stability that I have found through a hearty yogic practice has helped me get in touch with who I really am. More recently I am incorporating the eight (8) limbs of yoga by limiting my meat, caffeine & alcohol intake and bringing my attention to moments when I might want to lie or lust after something. I feel it clearing, purifying, my mind, body and soul. I am lighter. Soon I’ll levitate. ;) Actually they are just tools, merely observations; demonstrations that cause less harm and bring me closer to the truth, my truth.

It has taken years to get closer to answering “what is my calling” but I have found that the asana’s align us to something greater; our true self… God, if you will… that help the answer become clearer! It’s a process, an exercise (pun intended) that is constantly unfolding.

In the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, Patanjali claims true yoga is a union with the Source of all things. And that is why many yogi’s consciously, or unconsciously, often begin and end class bowing to ones intention, teacher and fellow students with their hands in a prayer position reciting the Sanskrit word Namaste. Namaste loosely translates to ‘the light/divinity within me bows to the light/divinity within you’.

Many a Eastern Indian walk around every day tossing around this greeting unaware of it’s true meaning?! Further, I am finding that a great deal of people don’t know that in it’s simplest form yoga translates to union… for many it is a scared act but it doesn’t have to be. In my experience it has also been a protective measure that I have taken to harness my mental health. To suspend time, to release control, to let go of my daemons… to offer up my oh so common and not so common inadequacies of being mentally ill.

For me being stable is really about having balanced lifestyle: a little bit of medicine, a little bit of sunlight, healthy eats and exercise. A yogic mindset is my partner in crime that helps me battle everyday depression, stresses and anxieties. It reminds me to return to the breath; to find calmness over calamity. I find if I do not fuel my paranoia but rather fuel my core muscles and incidentally spiritual being – I am stronger… fitter to cope with life’s challenges!

The jury is out if Yoga can be a panacea but Chopra, Harvard University and other teams are working to find out if it can be… In the mean time, don’t just listen to me but read these two articles below. They may encourage you to roll out a mat of your own or to sit quietly to make your mind a better place!

http://healthland.time.com/2013/01/28/yoga-and-the-mind-can-yoga-reduce-symptoms-of-major-psychiatric-disorders/

http://content.time.com/time/health/article/0,8599,1891271,00.html

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