Shit happens, yoga helps!
Updated: Oct 14, 2021
A few weeks ago, I accidentally burnt my who face (eyebrows & eyelashes gone!) and hand.
It was a little bit of a silly mistake combined with some bad timing/luck and luckily it was
only superficial burns and has healed quickly BUT at the time it was incredibly painful!!
Luckily, I keep my first aid up to date and as soon as it happened, I jumped straight in the
shower and had cold water running over it for 25 minutes but every time I came out of the
water the pain of the burning sensation was so intense that I couldn’t last more than a few
minutes out of water. And then the cold of the water started my body shaking all over and I
wondered was I going into shock or was I just cold (who knows?! haha).
I was home with my kids (who, despite complaining about most of the things they have to
do in everyday life, are complete legends in times of crisis!!), I couldn’t get onto my hubby
at work, so I called the ambulance as I was starting to feel pretty stressed about the whole
situation! It takes 45 minutes for an ambulance to get to our house which feels like a long
time when your face is red hot, you’ve already spent 25 minutes in cold water and 10
minutes talking to them on the phone!
My breath is usually my ultimate go-to in stressful situations. Coming to focus on my breath,
breathing through my nose and really slowing it down and extending on the exhale calms
my body & nervous system enough to deal with whatever the situation is, in a relatively
calm and rational way. Slowing the breath is the best way to tell our body that we are safe
so we can continue to function from a place of rational responding rather than irrational
However… in this situation I couldn’t really breathe with the water running over my face…
and my gosh was my mind going crazy!! There were all sorts of crazy thoughts about having
burned my face off, how silly I was to have done this, having to go to hospital on my own
and being in the hospital environment in these crazy COVID times (last place I’d want to
be!), etc, etc… we all know how the mind works here when it’s ‘allowed’ to run wild on its
own!!! And then there was the intense pain every time I came out of the water! A few
times I started to cry and then the heat of my face warming up from crying made it hurt
even more, it was one of those vicious cycles of pain/fear, not being able to breathe
properly in the water, my mind running wild, starting to cry, more pain/fear and so on. Until
I caught myself and realised that the whole trying to come to the breathe thing really wasn’t
working for me and I needed another “calm-down” tool!
Thankfully yoga has lots of tools!!! Every morning when I practice my short morning
practice, I repeat my intention “I am calm and at peace” (called a Sankalpa in Sanskrit)
(And just to note here: I do not fit in my short morning practice as often as I’d like and I
most definitely do not feel calm and at peace all the time in my life!! That’s why I keep doing
the yoga thing! When I do manage my regular practices I am definitely a kinder and happier
person, I feel better in my body and I respond significantly better to the stresses of my
Anyway… back to the intention thing… “I am calm and at peace”... I repeated this intention
as my mantra repeatedly in my head and I started to calm down. When the ambulance did
arrive, I was soaking wet with water dripping down my face, towels wrapped around me to
attempt to keep my body warm, bent over in the shower to keep the water running over my
face and feeling very uncomfortable, but I was calm and able to speak to them calmly about
what had happened and even laughed about it a few times (which hurt a bit… back to the
I feel so lucky to have not caused myself any permanent damage and for my regular
practices of yoga that have given me the tools to deal with the shitty situations that pop up
It takes a lot of effort for me to make time for yoga in my life but when I do life generally
runs a lot smoother AND when crisis hits I don’t fall apart as I now have plenty of tools to
manage the automatic stress responses of the body.