As I was signing my children up for a yoga workshop, I noticed that the studio was offering a Yoga for Anxiety workshop. The workshop description acknowledged how the fall can often be a hectic time of year for parents, given the changeover from the lazy days of summer to the back-to-school grind. It referenced symptoms like overwhelming stress, irritability, sleep problems, and shortness of breath—all things I can relate to, back-to-school grind or not. From the outside, you might consider me a pretty relaxed person, and I do think I am quite good at handling pressure. However, while I may not have diagnosable anxiety, I do have enough anxious moments to know that I can benefit from having some tools in my back pocket to access when the need arises. In the spirit of putting myself and my self-care first, I signed up for the workshop right then and there and figured out how I would work my schedule around it later.

In a recent class, this word resonated with me—notice. Such a simple word, but it means so much.

Notice means to be present. Notice what I hear, notice what I smell, notice what I feel. In yoga or meditation, these outside influences used to distract and annoy me, but in this workshop it clicked that all these distractions represent the present. For me, anxiety is often about getting ahead of myself, so it is helpful to stop, plug into what’s going on around me, and come back to the now even if that means zeroing in on all of those formerly annoying distractions that surround me.

Notice means to be fully in the moment. I need to work on not letting my thoughts get carried away with what might happen or all of the things I have to do and instead linger in the current moment. Energy is expensive. I need to remind myself to save the energy I spend on worrying or stressing about future moments that haven’t happened yet (and very well may not happen) for a time when I will really need it.

Notice my body. Where am I holding tension? Where am I feeling relaxed? Where do I need to make a minor adjustment to fully experience and benefit (from a pose)?

Notice my breath. Notice that even when my body is under tension, there is always room for breath. Notice the effect that the breath has when my body is under tension, whether that tension is created from being in a twist position or under stress.

Notice means honoring myself. Notice my strength as well as my strengths and celebrate all that I am capable of!

October 28 was the last class in this workshop of four classes. There are many things I will take with me—the grounding poses, the Ujjayi breath, how the body is often a metaphor for things happening in your life. The simplest thing I will carry with me (and something I will certainly need to practice) is to notice. To make space to be in the moment and to notice all that is me and all that is around me.