breathing techniques | meditation | yoga wisdom

Relax the racing mind

April 29, 2016

For many people with cancer, trying to eject the big C from the front of their minds is a tough thing to do. After weeks or months of treatments to get to remission, or receiving a chronic cancer diagnosis with a wait-and-see approach until treatment is needed (what one of my friends terms “medical limbo”), it is certainly a challenge to get past the anxiety of cancer every waking moment.

High Anxiety

I recently read a feature titled “High Anxiety” on, which neatly describes how changing our mindset reduces those anxious feelings:

when we pause to observe the actual process of our life moment to moment, as opposed to spinning around inside our thoughts like a hamster trapped in a wheel, we create a tiny gap in our awareness that allows us to notice and name what’s happening instead of completely identifying with it.

4 Techniques to Relax the Racing Mind

How can we move past seemingly never-ending identification with cancer to observe everything else in life? Most of the feature focuses on meditation techniques. The author, Barbara Graham, also mentions yoga and breath work in her piece. Along with these three time-honored and scientifically validated practices, I would add a fourth: journaling.

This Sunday, I will teach a special workshop at Claremont Yoga for those affected by cancer. The students and I will share and write about our experiences, practice restorative yoga poses, sample some beginning pranayama (breath work in Sanskrit), and meditate. I hope that for much of the two hours, we will be able to notice our minds at work, be able to “chilax” (chill + relax), and truly live in the moment together.

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