Moving house, moving mind

I’ve heard it said that selling and buying a house is one of the most stressful things you can do. I’m selling two and buying one.

There’s calls to estate agents, followed by follow-up calls. You’re not sure if they haven’t responded because they didn’t get the message or if they just haven’t called you back yet.

There’s emails to and from solicitors and the estate agent for my flat in London. And don’t get me started on trying to sort a mortgage when one of you is self-employed. My accountant has the patience of a saint.

I’ve had a love affair with a house in Kimpton village. It was brief. We met online on the Friday, I fell head over heels but he wasn’t sure. I lay awake a night thinking of nothing else. By Monday when I phoned wanting to take it a step further, I learnt that it was too late. Decisions had already been made.

But it’s funny how you move on so quickly. The mind is fickle. You obsess, but immediately we move onto the next infatuation (aka a semi in Sandridge).

The result is feeling very ungrounded. Everything feels urgent. My self practices are shoe-horned into my days, they’re much shorter, and I’ve noticed my mind flitting all over the place. Very short concentration spans. Very short sentences.

Today has been no different: a mental list of all the calls, chasing, appointments and things to do. After lunch, I made time to sit for 15 minutes and watch my breath. It was noticeable how much tension was in my hips, my thighs, my jaw and shoulders. I watched my exhalations. I softened. And now I feel like I’ve reset my body.

Try it some time.

PS. There’s a very nice one-bed flat for sale in Chiswell Green, St Albans, if you’re interested. Have a look at it on Rightmove – start your own love affair today…

For the love of art

I have spent the last few weeks under an unprecedented amount of stress. I appreciate that that’s not an opening statement you expect to find on a yoga blog but it’s the truth. The reason being that I’m working on the marketing for a new London art fair taking place next month.

Having difficult conversations and cursing to the heavens has unfortunately become the norm and I wake up at 2am composing emails in my head. My brain is full of artwork deadlines, red-flagged emails and often the computer says no.

Deva Premal’s soothing chants are permanently on repeat on iTunes and I’m having to run my fingers over my forehead to release my furrowed brow. After sitting hunched over my laptop day after day I can feel my right shoulder inching up towards my right ear after hours of mouse-clenching.

Does any of this sound familiar?

I look at myself and it makes me think about why I started doing yoga: to cope with a stressful job in London.

My sister reminded me that it was only a few months ago when she was in a similar situation and I was spouting yogic pearls of wisdom about letting go, not being so attached to the results and offering tips on dealing with perfectionist tendencies.

It’s so much easier to give advice than listen to it yourself.

The other day in a yoga class I mentioned that, as well as teaching, I did freelance marketing work. “Oh I can’t imagine you doing that” said a regular student.

But teaching yoga is just one part of me. Ok, it’s a big part of me, but just because I calmly tell people to “inhale deeply” and “feel yourself sinking deeper into the mat” doesn’t mean that I have all the answers.

Us ‘teachers’ may be just as likely to have our feathers ruffled. We’re certainly not all perfect.
Perhaps it’s just that we have awareness to know that getting on our mats or repeating our mantra can help try and deal with stress and banish these negative thoughts and emotions. And you don’t have to teach yoga to figure that one out.
Fortunately this art fair will be over in a few weeks and I can return to spending my days wafting about on a cloud of omms and namastaying people in the Post Office.
It’s certainly hammering home the point that I am very much still a student.
How do you deal with stress? Any tips?