YOGA IN UNCERTAIN TIMES
During these days of lockdown it sometimes feels difficult to keep positive, hopeful or even motivated. As we make our way towards winter and darker days this challenge gains momentum. The need for a daily ritual is more important than ever, one that brings you inside to connect with yourself and helps you switch off from the external chaos, if even for a moment. The practice of showing up for yourself every day means you function form a place of self love as opposed to a place of lack where you put yourself way down the list of priorities. There is only so much each of us can give and that old saying is true, you cannot pour from an empty cup. Gift yourself the time each morning to move and stretch your body, check in before you check out and witness the course of your day altered for the better.
I want to share my own routine that has been a saving grace for me, especially through the rollercoaster ride that is 2020.
I try to wake up at the same time every morning. If it doesn't happen I know my body needs some extra rest so I don't beat myself up about it. If I miss a day of morning practice I start again the next day.
I move as soon as I awaken. As little as 10-20 minutes of yoga each morning changes how I feel. Anxious energy gets settled or moved out of my body meaning I can 'sit' with myself. Whenever I feel especially anxious I can't sit still, its times like this I know I really need yoga and I really need to connect with myself. Disconnection is all too tempting when the discomfort of anxiety arises in my body and mind and I seek distraction, numbing, zombie phone scrolling or comfort eating. Whenever I come to my mat I am saying to myself, I choose not to leave you. Movement gives the mind a different focus. It takes me away from over-thinking and analyzing and catastrophizing. When my breath seamlessly leads my movement and my mind is right there, engrossed in what I am doing, I get a brain break from worry, I feel Bliss.
Once I have moved I can sit much easier in seated meditation. When the jittery swirl of tense energy has left my body, stillness feels natural not forced. I see all of it as connected, movement > breath > meditation
body > mind > soul
I committed to a 40 day meditation practice with my teacher recently. I have never committed to one meditation for such a long time before. The benefits of committing with another person or a group are accountability. When the mind is playing tricks and attempting to complain that it's too difficult I know I am not alone in this, no-one finds it easy all of the time but having the knowledge that someone else is going through the same struggles keeps me going and the reward of completion is immense. Achieving this seemingly simple goal is a huge internal victory of discipline, willpower and self love.
I am planning to continue this morning meditation ritual as it takes 21 days to make a habit and 90 days to make it a permanent lifestyle change.
This small bit of time I carve out for myself each morning is sacred. I am able to give inwardly before I give out and this stabilizes my energy throughout the day. I am always learning, it doesn't make me the perfect being but I live with awareness of how I respond to life. I witness my changing moods and my busy mind each morning I come to my mat. I observe my changing emotions and my worries and choose to just let them be for a while. I shift my focus in order to connect with that sacred place inside that lives far beyond the transient storms of the outside world. My morning ritual brings me to the heart of what matters most. I am forever grateful and forever uncovering new parts of myself within the framework of this beautiful practice.
'Truth is my name'