How Yoga Cured My Anxiety, Laziness, and Intense Cynicism
(Here’s my latest for Elephant Journal: I’ll add the link when they publish it so you can be like, whoa this is awesome, I should click this link)
Three small ways Yoga helped me set attainable new year’s resolutions.
Before we get started, there are three things you should probably know:
- My name is Rob (it’s nice to meet you);
- Elephant Journal recently asked me to be a recurring contributor (I said yes); and
- Today is January 11th (which, if you’re scoring at home, is a little late for a blog post about New Year’s resolutions).
Why do I care that you know three tidbits of information that on their face are completely uninteresting and mind-numbingly boring?
Because these three little statements represent a whole lot more. They represent a way for me to bring you inside this insane little head of mine. Only then can you start to understand how a few simple new year’s resolutions will help make 2013 epic, and how my new sense of yogic calm will provide me with tools to stick with them.
Resolutions used to be those stupid deals I made with myself at the beginning of the year but forgot by – oh, I don’t know – January 10th. But this year, when I say I’m bringing a yogic calm to my resolutions, what I mean is that I plan to do things that are meaningful to me, but also attainable. It means stepping out of my comfort zone but not so far that my goals become derailed by those inevitable little slip ups.
To start the year on the right foot, I’m throwing my old resolutions out the window.
Good bye, “lose 100 pounds.”
See ya later, “eat healthy.”
Suck it, “read the newspaper every day.”
Rot in hell “quit watching reruns of The Biggest Loser while binging on a scoop bowl pint gallon of Haagen Dazs” (Note – I didn’t even have to look up the spelling of that. Terrifying!).
This year, My resolutions all help make me a little more pleasant to be around. You’re welcome world!
Here are three of the goals that I’ve set and how I hope to meet them.
RESOLUTION 1: INTRODUCE MYSELF MORE.
I sometimes describe myself as an outgoing introvert. When I feel comfortable in an environment, I don’t shut up. I’ll annoy you until you hate me. Kind of like I’m doing right now. Then, I’ll try so hard to win you over that eventually you’ll come around and start rooting for me. I’m Like the kid from the movie Rudy — except without determination, athletic ability, or an overly jowl-y smile. My mixed level of confidence was apparent from a very young age:
But the truth is that despite that outgoing bravado, on the inside I am anxious and meek when confronted with a new group of people. I hope and pray that someone else will step up and take that first step of introduction.
Practicing yoga helped me realize this trait. When I first went to classes, I’d huddle in the back of the room, timidly balled up in the corner. There, I’d hope that the teachers would introduce themselves to me and relieve my nervousness. With my big ol’ belly, a cotton shirt, and a puddle of sweat at my feet, I felt like an outsider to the Lululemon catalogue occupying the other mats in the room.
But that’s a pretty bad way of living Who wants to talk to a timid sweatball? Exactly!
So I resolved to get better at introductions. You can’t introduce yourself to someone if you’re shy or timid. It might mean faking it, or playing out the conversation 1400 times in my head before it happens, but chances are, other people hate introductions too. By stepping up and taking initiative, I can not only make my life better, but I can also relive the anxiety and lameness of others.
RESOLUTION 2: SAY YES TO MORE THINGS.
A few ways I have been described:
- a hater
- Mr. negative
- Mr. negativity
- Senor Negativo
- super lame
- an a$$hole
- a glass half empty kind of guy
- a glass totally empty kind of guy
- a glassless guy
- A fun-hater
- a mega-fun-hater
If you haven’t figured it out by now, sometimes I have a bad attitude:
Well that’s all about to change! It’s time to get over those fun-hating, lazy, anxious ways. The anticipation of doing things is often worse than the actual doing of those things.
One way to get over my anxiety is to just start saying yes to more challenges and opportunities. By being more agreeable, I hope that taking possibilities into my own hands and trying to not let great opportunities slip through the cracks.
This actually reminds me of a yoga teacher who once shared an amazing inspirational quote. It was perfectly on point about this topic and completely changed my life and outlook on the world. If I remembered it, I would totally share it with you right now.
Oh! Got it:
“Every time an opportunity presents itself, take it; Otherwise, greatness will pass you by.”
- Some Famous Yoga Philospher
Okay, fine. I just made that up. But aren’t those great words to live by? I say yes.
RESOLUTION 3: COMMIT TO THINGS AND THEN FINISH THEM.
[note to self - insert paragraph explaining how I want to get better at finishing things that I commit to].
It’s the end of the world as we know it (and I feel relatively ambivalent)
Look, we can argue for days on end about whether Maya Angelou is real or not and whether her prediction about the end of the world is correct, but I’m not taking any chances. So like I always do when the apocalypse is upon us, I’m going to use the upcoming end of days as a chance to air some grievances and get some important things off my chest.
So in order of importance, these are the things I need to say before the world ends (FYI - May contain SPOILERS):
1) I wish I had participated in Movember at least once. As a hairy beast, I probably could have grown an epic mustache. Instead, we can just look at this fake mustache I wore to a bachelor party and imagine what could have been. Oh, the possibilities.
On second thought, maybe I shouldn’t ever do that again.
2) Homeland season 2 disappointed the hell out of me. There were moments when I thought it was amazing, but in the end, I found the relationship between Carrie and Brody to be completely unbelievable. They just don’t love each other. They don’t. You can’t give me a plausible story line where she actually falls in love with a guy that was going to blow up anything in the US.
Also, I usually believe everything on TV to be real. Like Anne and I will be watching an episode of the smurfs, and I’ll be like, “Hey Anne, we should go to Smurf Village for vacation,” and then she’ll explain to me that it’s not a real place. And after a few minutes, I’ll be like, “oooohhhhh. I totally should have smurfing known that. I guess that’s why they’re blue and all have the same last name. It doesn’t add up. You’re so smart and dreamy, Anne.” Yet with Homeland, just about everything seemed implausible to me. For instance:
3) It would have been nice if the end of the world could have come after the holidays. I was really looking forward to some epic presents this year. Anne, if you’re reading this and we make it through the weekend, though you might want to have a looksy at this picture I found on the internet:
Obviously I haven’t gotten Anne a present yet. Mostly because I don’t want to be wasteful if the Mayans were right. But I also would have already accidentally told her about her gift, so I am forcing myself to wait until the last minute.
4) New York Road Runners just emailed me and said that because they canceled the marathon, I can get automatic entry into next year’s marathon. Debating whether I should disregard that option so I don’t let myself down or take the option and ensure that the world ends. The weight of the world is on my shoulders. I wonder if they are going to black ball me because I canceled my entry before they canceled the marathon. I should pounce before someone realizes that mistake. If their past actions are predictive, then someone will notice in about 2027.
5) Most of the time, I think I’m pretty awesome, but then I see something like this and realize that I am very pedestrian. If someone followed me around and took lots of photographs, they would see almost entirely:
and then an occasional binge of this:
6) Speaking of binging … People who have watched all of Breaking Bad - Is it worth marathoning the rest of it this weekend? I’m midway through Season 3 and I need to know if I’d be disappointed to get to heaven and find out that they tell you spoilers there.
7) My defensive driving course paid off big time! I believe that’s all I should say about the matter. Actually, I have no idea how much I should or shouldn’t say about the matter. Screw you, law school!
8) To Anne, my family, and my loyal readers: I don’t tell you enough that I love you, but I do. Actually, that’s not entirely true. I tell Anne that all the time. Like All the time. I love you, Anne. There. I said it again. In fact, up until that sentence, this post was the longest I ever went without telling Anne that I love her. I’ve even commemorated her in epic video fashion. I hope she reads this, but it’s 50-50. She’s a late adopter of the internet.
But to everyone else, I sincer-iously love you all very much. Thanks for keeping me creative. If you love me back, note that I measure your love through clicks, likes, and various other statistical measures. So please press that little like button (or go to www.facebook.com/PollakComplains). I don’t know why it makes me feel so good when someone likes something, but it makes my heart aflutter each and every time it happens. Here’s a diagram of how to make my heart aflutter:
If I can repay you in any way through stick figure art, I would be honored to do so. I understand the gap between how I perceive the awesomeness of my blog:
And how you do:
Happy holidays, world!
Help me be less Annoying
As I was waiting in line at the store today, I realized that I am incapable of standing in a line and not looking annoyed. Is there any way to stand without looking incredibly annoyed? No matter what I did, it came out like this:
I tried so many different ways of trying to look like there was no place I would rather be than in that line. Here’s what I tried.
- Arms folded across my chest.
- One hand in pocket, one casually resting on the register table.
- Inching closer to the person in front of me and coughing quietly.
- Shifting my weight back and forth from one foot to the other while sighing loudly.
- Muttering, “I mean, seriously? How long have we been here? Hellooooo?”
None of these casual stances gave off the vibe I desired. Maybe I just have one of those faces that always looks annoyed. Please let me know if you have any solutions for ways to stand casually without looking annoyed. I struggle with this generally, but it’s especially hard whenever I am waiting in a line because it sure seems like people intentionally take fucking forever just to piss me off. Am I right? Who’s with me?
See below for some pictures of my face so you can judge for yourselves.
This is my happy face (I probably had just eaten a shitload of ice cream)
Here’s me politely asking Anne to give me back my ipad immediately.
Here’s me explicitly trying to smile instead of doing an annoyed face.