Unfolding on the Mat
Expanded Content and Thoughtful Guidance
Today I’m asking how well you operate in chaos. Even when you read the word ‘chaos,’ how does your body respond? Does it sound like a thrill ride or horror movie? Or, are you more like me, and think, “well, it depends.”
In my experience, short bouts of chaos, disorder, or confusion can be fun and even hilarious. (Ever been to a tee-ball game? How about middle school play rehearsal?)
But there are bigger, more long-lasting life-disruptors that feel like chaos and can really take a whack at your well-being, such as
Things are changing fast, there’s no playbook, and there’s no end in sight. It’s chaos. You just want things to settle back to “normal.”
What if I told you chaos has a place in our lives? Straight out of the Big Bang Theory (the theory, not the TV show), we learn that just after the Bang there was a brief time of chaos, (Science Daily) then the universe started to find order. (And aren’t we glad!?)
Our bodies are the same! It turns out, underneath the brilliant organization of cells, tissues, organs, and organ systems that make up our body, there is a little protein named NF-kB who loves chaos. According to a 2019 Science Daily article, “chaotic swings in the concentration of the protein...can increase the activation of a number of genes that are otherwise not activated. In other words, when in a chaotic state, the NF-kB protein is most effective at activating genes and optimally "tuning" the immune system.”
So this underlying chaos is tuning our immune system?
Taken on a larger scheme, perhaps the chaotic times in our lives tune our resilience, or mental/emotional immune system.
The practice is to maintain Yoga, or remain yoked to what is eternal, so we don’t get jerked around by the temporal chaos that life can sometimes be or feel like. The messes of life don’t go away, but they have less of an effect on us when we keep proper perspective and give the chaos a container. We keep our surroundings tidy, we keep our body toned, stretched, watered, fed, and slept. The chaos will be there, but it won’t be such a disrupting force in our day. Chaos isn't going anywhere, so we best learn how to deal with it!
In this week’s podcast, I talk about the effects of chaos and how it can be hard to focus and to be in your body. I also take you through some directed attention and breath, considering what is your current mental state. The intention is inner peace.
May you accept chaos as an underlying part of life, and always practice yoga to remain yoked to inner peace.
Jessica lives, has a family, and teaches yoga in Austin, Texas.