“In the midst of movement and chaos, keep stillness inside you.” -Deepak Chopra
Waking up to my alarm, I reach over and hit snooze, not once but three times, enjoying every last second I get to snuggle in the warmth of my bed. As I lay in my cocoon of stillness in the wee hours of the morning, I am am able to sense the essence of my being. In those moments, I’m able to separate myself from the tasks, meetings, bookkeeping and inevitable curveballs the day will bring. In those moments, I am reminded of who I really am, aside from the title and responsibility, investment and profit, managing and teaching.
As I sit here reflecting, I remember all the years this was not my experience. The mornings I’d wake up and my first conscious feeling was panic as though I had already been swallowed by the day – the hollow in my chest, the fear that drowned my hope. In all these years, I knew there had to be another way, but what was it? When I began searching for another way, my world opened up. My search led me back to yoga, which ultimately led me to meditation. The bottom line is that meditation changed my experience of the world, which is why I’ve chosen this path; a path which many proclaim as completely illogical.
As modern science offers insight into the benefits of meditation and yoga, it still requires a leap of faith. Neuroscientists can now watch how meditation changes the gray matter in the brain, yet what is really happening, can it be explained? The American Psychological Association published a mindfulness study that shows that individuals that practice mediation perform significantly better on all measures of attention, cognitive flexibility, and metacognitive awareness. Yet, we ask what is it about meditation? Research shows that practicing mindfulness strengthens the brains regions of sensory processing and empathetic response, positively altering our reaction to stress and negative emotions, contributing to reductions in stress, weight, depression and anxiety – while improving happiness and social relationships at work and at home, says the Journal of Happiness Studies. Regardless of how much we research these practices, our logical brain shouts, “But how? Prove it!”
All I know is the stressors in my life, at this moment, are much greater, than they were when I woke up with fear and panic; however my experience is much different. The other day I was on the phone with my accountant, and she said, “Lauren, you’re so happy all the time. It’s probably because you do yoga all day.”(Which is hilarious because she sees my books.) My response was, “Ha! Thank you.” The truth is I’m the business of yoga, which is contrary to the profession of teaching yoga. Honestly, I have no idea why I’m such a jolly human, other than I have learned that regardless of the stressors of my life, I trust that I am going to be ok. I have learned to separate myself from my stress, and I feel in control of my life from the inside out. In the midst of movement and chaos, I’m able to keep the stillness inside myself, which allows me to stay separate from the constant fluctuation of life. The stress in my life is my motivation, and I choose what I stress, not the other way around.
I founded Bottom Line Yoga because of the blessings I received through mindful practices – yoga, meditation, naps, and simply being quiet. The BLY and mindful space is dedicated to all the people that wake up in fear and panic feeling consumed by a day yet to live, the people who say, “I’m too busy.”, the people trying to prove they are good enough by showing up an hour early and staying an hour late, the people that are happy and want to stay that way. It’s a space where you get to just be you, where you can exist for an hour, or twenty minutes, and be reminded of your bottom line, you are already enough.