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?
Just one breath.
This is the practice that helped me when my mother passed away, quickly. I'm not ready to write about it in detail, but it was certainly a helpful practice which took from from contraction to well....a bit more spaciousness in my belly and my breath.
This is the practice that I carry with me, when "stuff" is happening in my world, which is your world.
This is the very simple practice that creates space. When we have a sense of spaciousness in our breath, we can have space in our responses to the world. Stephen Covey, who wrote the gem of a book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, talked about this space in between stimulus and response. I've kind of been a bit fascinated with this every since, yes, there is space.
Desikachar also wrote about there usually being enough space between what is happening and our response to it to take at least one full breath. I think he's spot on!
Anyway, a few years ago, I wrote this out on a little card and handed it to the students in my Yoga class. The little piece of card read "Just one breath". What surprises me and makes me so glad, is that many of my students still have that card. One carries it in her wallet and one has it on her fridge.
Its a really simple practice and it can change your response, your interactions with others and gives you time, just enough time to drop in to your centre, to soften, to really get into a space of E A S E.
And from that place, well, good things can happen.
This has been quite a week. Lots of juggling, reminding, postponing, and generally organising our family as the kids had the first full week back at school after a loooooooong break!
Back to some study and practice, which if I'm honest sort of fell into the background over the loooooooooong break (insert smile here!).
I enrolled into a course over the break, a labour of love put together by a great teacher of mine, Kelly Connor-Sunrose. She's just the most divine teacher, she's earnest, funny and pours her heart into her offerings.
The course is called Just Breathe, and you can find it here http://www.sunroseyoga.com.
Just Breathe is a self guided Pranayama Course offered by Sunrose Yoga, and its THE BEST.
Out of the many pranayama practices she offers in the course, so far I've pretty much stuck with and dived deep into one of the practices, Ajapa Mantra. If you know me, maybe its because its got the word Mantra in it!
Here are my findings through my own experience this week:
Its wonderfully calming for my nervous system, I can feel my heart rate slow down. Tick!
Soothing, so soothing for my body. Tick!
Its simple and I've found myself doing it at the funniest times. Portable so big Tick!
So attractive. This practice has me thinking about it during the day. Like a treat, waiting for me at the end or the beginning of the day.
So big ticks from me. And let me say, I've done many courses, read many books but of course in the end, it is only ones own experience that gives you the experience that you need to feel it in your bones, to really find and soak in the nectar that these practices give you....
If you've been thinking about learning more on Pranayama, I'd recommend this course to you IN A HEART BEAT! (it will calm or lift your heart beat!!)
Its super affordable, Kelly has the most delightful voice and its so simple to learn. The tools are great, you can learn from reading, listening, there's a PDF to print out and a cute workbook illustrated by Kelly herself.
If you've got any questions, email me. I'd love to hear from you.