All of a sudden my heart was pounding out of my chest, I was lightheaded, the earth began to spin around me, my hands were shaking, I could feel every cell of my body was activated, my breath had become shallow and fast….what I was experiencing was beyond any sort of "normal" level of emotional overwhelm…I was having a panic attack for the first time in I don’t know how long. I wasn’t alone and I didn’t want to be seen like this; weak, vulnerable, tears streaming down my face, 100% not in control.
I didn't want to feel the panic, I didn't want to feel the emotions that caused the panic. Am I going to be okay? I'm NOT okay! How do I stop this? Then my inner voice loudly kicked in and said, "It's okay to feel this." I closed my eyes, put my hand over my heart, and began taking long slow deep breaths. I started to feel calm and back in my body. My sense of self trust restoring.
More often than not, when our bodies have physical reactions to emotions it's because we're being asked to expand and grow…to listen to something deeper within ourselves. It can be so intense and unbearable that we'll do anything not to feel! It's SO common these days to just take a pill or use something outside of yourself to numb out at the first onset of uncomfortable feelings, but what do we solve by (physically or mentally) fleeing the scene?
I've learned in my own practice and experience that healing is always faster if we just feel the thing, no matter how severe it may be in the moment. In this particular situation of panic for me, as my body and mind started to relax, it wasn't that all of a sudden I knew everything was going to turn out exactly how I wanted it to turn out, but more so, I knew that I was going to be okay no matter what the outcome was. That I could trust myself, that I'd be able to handle whatever was in front of me, and most importantly I remembered that I know how to show up for myself, and when I show up for myself, the universe shows up for me (whether that's in other people, a better situation, a solution, healing, or simply feeling good).
Life is tricky. We will never stop facing challenges in our lives, relationships, businesses, health, etc. Having a daily practice of some sort in order to build inner strength and trust is the only way we can successfully move through the tough times.
When you commit to doing something every single day (not some days or only when it's convenient), whether that's a meditation, a healthier way of eating, a physical activity, a way you express yourself creatively, even just 1 minute of long deep breathing…whatever it is for you, you are saying that your well-being is important; you are showing up for yourself, which in turn increases your capacity to show up for anyone else.
None of this makes life's confrontations stop. I cannot definitively say that I will never again in my life have a panic attack. But I know for sure that because of my daily Kundalini meditation practice, I am well equipped to deal with ANYTHING and EVERYTHING (without knowing the answers or outcomes), that I trust myself with confidence, and I know how to move through "unfavorable" emotions constructively vs destructively.
If you're not sure where to begin, I recommend Fists of Anger and the Addiction Meditation (both have been part of my daily practice for over 40 days). Each are only 3 minutes and you can do them together. That's only 6 minutes a day. Commit to 40 days (when the grey matter of your brain begins to structurally change) and see what happens for you.
For both meditations, either sit on the floor in a cross legged position (easy pose) or if that's too uncomfortable for you simply sit in a chair with both feet on the floor with a straightened spine.
"Fists of Anger detoxes the pent-up energy of frustration and self-hatred that’s inside most people on the planet. That anger actually prevents all the blessings from coming to you, so you need to release it for the prosperity to have more flow. This breath also releases such a current of radiance that the nerves start to be able to conduct more wattage. Your capacity widens, your energy clears, and your grit develops." - Guru Jagat, Invincible Living
Stretch your thumbs over to the fleshy pads of your palm right below your pinky fingers (if it doesn't reach all the way that's okay just do your best), close the rest of your fingers over the thumb making a fist.
Keep your eyes closed and gently focused up between the brows.
Breath: You'll do a strong and powerful Breath of Fire (even inhale and exhale; making sure that on the inhale your diaghram extends, & on the exhale your diaghram contracts) through an open O-shaped mouth (your cheeks will most likely billow in and out).
Movement: As if you're doing a backstroke, you'll alternate each arm overhead making sure your fists are actually going above your head and not to the sides.
The breath and movement will naturally coordinate and sync up.
Continue the breath and movement for 3 minutes while thinking about anything that's frustrating you (get angry!).
To end: Inhale, hold the breath, interlace your fingers, and stretch your arms up with your palms facing the ceiling. Picture yourself surrounded with white light. Exhale but keep your arms stretched up. Repeat two more times inhaling, holding the breath as you stretch and imagine yourself surrounded by the white light. Exhale and relax.
*If you are pregnant or menstruating do a long deep breath instead.
Addiction Meditation: This meditation helps us create lasting change, heal addictions, and consciously adopt new patterns and habits without all the pressure or "white-knuckling." By balancing the pineal gland, it fixes subconscious, self-destructive behavior.
Curl your fingers into the pads of your hands so your fingertips are resting on the tops of the pads at the base of each finger. Leave your thumbs extended out and place them on your temples.
Breathe normally (long deep breaths) in out of your nose. Mentally repeat the mantra "Sa Ta Na Ma" and on each sound press your back molars together. Not forcefully, just enough that you feel movement under your thumbs at your temples. Keep your eyes closed and focused on your brow point. Do this for 3 minutes. At the end take a deep breath in and hold it (even set an intention of the habit you'd like to adopt or break), exhale and relax.
Note: If you feel yourself getting distracted or trailing into other thoughts, no big deal. Just go back to Sa Ta Na Ma and trust that any time you spend doing the meditation "correctly" is going to be enough; just keep showing up.
With Love & Gratitude,
"The mind is beyond time and space. It is part of the Universal Mind. It is given to you as an instrument to serve you. What happened? It became your master; you became the servant. The mind becomes a monster when it becomes your master. The mind is an angel when it is your servant. And it is all in your mind." --Yogi Bhajan