Thank you David Bowie for that intro.
Life is full of stories about change. I love a good story, particularly one that illustrates the strength/love/resilience of the human spirit.
And the one's lately I'm really into, are the small personal victories. The tales of people making small steps toward their best selves. Now, I'm not going to go all Anthony Robbins on you but it really makes to jump for joy to hear these from my friends, family and students.
Because the big change, the large platform, the overnight success, and the list goes on, well that makes headlines, right? And I think this is because we underestimate and shrug off small change. We dismiss it because on some level I think we believe as a culture, that BIG CHANGE is the only change. That we need to look like we are "making it happen", we are edgy change agents!
I have learned, through personal experience, that small change is sustainable and often endures. If I use a Yoga example, you might see someone really pushing to nail a pose, say a handstand, and they push and push each class to get "there". Or a friend decides to "give up sugar" (been there!!!) and clean out every cupboard, every crevice where its hidden, and after day 3 ..... they are a cranky mess (um, yes maybe me!!).
Through studying ourselves and really knowing what works for us, we can implement change that will stick. The old "Svadhyaya", getting to know ourselves, all of ourselves, really & truthfully. That's really a very worthwhile step to take, before implementing any new habits or rituals in our lives.
So, lately I've jumped for joy (internally) after these small but awesome things happened:
- A student told me after class that they are feeling their body opening up in Yoga, they can feel it week after week of class. Yes! Yes! Yes! When this happens to us we are literally living into Yoga Sutra 1.12, we are living into the practice with a sense of not being attached to a certain outcome.
- After a Yin class recently, a student said that they finally are feeling a sense of calm when they do Yoga. She mentioned that in her day to day life at work that the breathing I talk about really works!
- For me, rolling out the mat or just doing 3 to 4 Yoga postures before bed really helps me to get a good nights rest. Its not fancy, its usually in my PJ's and its only 3 to 4. I talk about these in class often, but incase you want to know I do:
This can take about 3 minutes or up to 15! It depends. But I do it most nights and it makes a difference, I can feel it in my body.
So the story here is, do you have a small victory? A small insight? Have you made any little changes that are holding up, that feel like they are becoming embedded in your life? I'd love to hear.
Until then, keep tinkering!
When things are in a state of flux, when things are awry, upside down, inside out.
What do you feel?
What/whom/where do you turn?
Do you have any anchors you carry with you? Any little rituals that you are drawn to? Ways of being?
Patanjali who wrote the Yoga Sutra writes about two qualities we need to cultivate to ensure we are indeed practising Yoga; steadiness and ease.
I feel like anchors, or rituals can be tools used to take us close to a sense of what Patanjali wrote about in the Yoga Sutras, steadiness and ease. Not just reserved for a cute boat pose on the mat, or a Virabhadrasna 2.
What about considering that Patanjali also meant that steadiness and ease were qualities for your entire life. School pick ups, traffic jams, difficult conversations, exams, gardening, cooking! All of it.
Steadiness and ease. To put effort in, to ensure you have a sense of ease, to cultivate these two qualities any time, all the time.
When we have a sense of these two qualities, we might remember:
- Oh yes, I need to lie down, physically soften and gently breathe
- Lighting a candle reminds me to be steady like a flame
- Moving my physical body helps me to feel these qualities
- Putting a little altar beside my bed prompts me to smile
- Milk & honey, yes, nice before bed time.
Just some little thoughts.
Love to know what you think?
When we work with small sacred spaces, we look at the ingredients for that space.
Our ingredients, are our pointers, our touchstones and arrows that point to our true north. They create a space (small, medium or large) that for us points towards and reminds us of our true home.
When we bring these items together, its good to feel into what it is we might like to give out or receive into our live, outward \\ & // inward!
Mine items currently are:
A string of mala beads
A book, currently alternating between Saly & The Radiance Sutras
A candle or incense (Nag Champa is my all time favourite, that sandalwood: oh my!)
Ganesha (cause he's awesome!)
An Art of Attention Card from Elena Brower
Clear quartz crystal for clarity
I love to sit with these little touchstones. They remind me to live from "that" place, our true home, or as I affectionately call it "True North". When I sit I may think about the attitudes, or the qualities that I wish to bring into my life, but the altar reminds me of the present which I can then realistically combine with wishes for the future.
I believe Thich Nat Hahn wrote that little assembly of words above.