All day long, I carry a backpack, filled with a laptop, a thick notebook, my headphones, my keys, my water bottle, some snacks, and usually a sweatshirt for when it gets cold. All day long, I carry this bag from my apartment, to class, to lunch, to more classes, to my favorite study spots, and then back home again at the end of the day. By the end of the day, my back and shoulders are tied up in multiple knots and my neck just wants to take a break. But when I do ragdoll, letting my shoulders and arms lay limp as they dangle in front of my legs, my back loosens, my neck rests, and my body feels balanced once again.
All day long I sit hunched over my computer, or my agenda, or my phone, or my textbook, or my 60-page Sociology reading. I become so absorbed in moving quickly through my work that I don’t notice my spine becoming less and less straight. By the end of the day, my back doesn’t even remember what good posture is. It resists any attempt to straighten. But when I do a knee-down twist, my back becomes realigned, my spine remembers how to function, and my body feels balanced once again.
All day long, I am bogged down by challenges that sometimes make me feel unworthy. I take a difficult test, I struggle with Econ homework, I have trouble knowing where to start on a project. I need to figure out how to balance schoolwork, two jobs, extracurriculars, and adult activities like laundry, dishes, cleaning the bathroom, and grocery shopping. Sometimes I come home defeated, lay on my bed, and think, I can’t possibly keep going. But when I do warrior pose, I feel the strength of my legs, I feel myself reaching for all the possibility, I feel myself capable enough to persevere, and my mind feels balanced once again.
All day long, I feel absorbed in my own activities. With everything going on in my life, there is so much to worry and be stressed about. Sometimes I find myself walking to class with my head down, not looking at the world around me or the people who pass me by. Instead of making conversation with my roommates at home, or my friends sitting at a table near me, I put on my headphones and work on addressing my own stresses. But when I do down dog, I get a change of perspective–I look at the world from a new angle. I recognize that my homework, and my grades, and my personal issues are not as significant as I fabricate them to be. I feel grounded in my hands and my feet, and I remember the importance of being present with the world around me, and my mind feels balanced once again.
All day long, I worry: sometimes about more significant things like whether I’m capable of being at college, or what it will be like living abroad next semester, far away from home; and sometimes about dumb things like whether my outfit looks good, or whether my teacher noticed that I forgot to turn in the homework, or whether I should get lunch now or in an hour when there are less people in the dining hall. I think about all the “what if’s”–the scenarios my anxiety places in my head to try to convince me that I will inevitably fail in everything I do. But when I meditate, closing my eyes and taking in deep, slow breaths that reach my belly, I come back to myself, and I let go of all the worries that bog me down. My head becomes clear, my chest feels more open, and my spirit feels balanced again.