The most harrowing week of my life / Pranayama 101 + permission to quit trying to 'quiet your mind'

This is has been one of the most harrowing weeks of my life.  

I experienced acute anxiety where I learned the meaning of feeling like your stomach is in knots.

On Sunday morning, after a peaceful night camping in the bush, we turned on our mobile phones and discovered that there had been a huge earthquake in Nepal. My youngest brother is currently in Nepal, on day 7/20 hiking in the remote Himalayas. The same trek I had also done about 4 years ago.

But I felt steady. We felt certain that he would be fine, away from the capital where the devastation was in Kathmandu.  We patiently waited for a phone call to confirm our hopes.

Sunday went by. Then Monday went by and the severity of the situation came into clearer focus with each passing hour.


I was sick with worry and I knew there was no point trying to ‘stop thinking about it’ because when s**t gets that real, that fast, you don’t stop thinking about it.


All I could do to maintain a level of perspective and not be consumed with ‘worst case scenario’ thoughts was to breathe. Nadi Shoodana  is my personal default pranayama and this experiene made me realize (again) how lucky I am to have these tools in my toolkit, especially when life turns up the heat.

Tuesday went by. And finally at 10pm Tuesday night I got word that my brother was safe.

Dropping into Nadi Shoodana, and this breath technique is so soothing it made me feel a whole lot better, even through, the situation hadn’t and my mind and adrenals was still deep in it.

The moral of the story is; whether your stress is life-rocking or on the daily we can officially give up the struggle and quit trying to ‘quiet the mind” Instead. shift the focus to simple breathing which will result in more clarity and calm anyway.

Nadi shodhana pranayama is a hatha yoga practice that works to harmonize the nervous system and p≠urifies the nadis through alternate-nostril breathing which is all very nice to say, but I felt it’s effect in a BIG way when I was in super stress mode. 

So next time you feel quietly anxious, or like you are about to pull your hair out try sitting, breathing and cordially give up the idea of trying to ‘stop thinking’.

To donate to Nepal appeal, head over to First Steps Himalaya and give with deep gratitude.

Now, tell me, what is your fave pranayama is and how have you used it to remedy rocky emotions or thoughts? Comment, Love and Share below!