Yoga asana is a great practice to start to empty yourself.
We can begin to empty our minds of the swirl of thoughts as we sync with our breath, we can release and let go in our bodies from stress and tension as we move into postures and from them into the next, during all of this we might perhaps glimpse some spaciousness.
Sometimes this comes in the form of the pause between each breath (one of my favs!), we can also tune into the sense of vastness as we close our eyes and rest in savasana.
One of my favourite poses to "empty" is Balasana, Childs pose. No the irony isn't lost on me here, as this is the physical posture that children can sleep in sometimes. I love the way that my whole body begins to soften, first with my forehead resting on the ground which makes me feel into that notion of surrender, letting go. Its so opening for the space between my shoulder blades, as I breathe and let the expansion happen with each breath softening and relaxing more letting the blades drift toward the floor. Shins resting on the floor and body totally heavy, quite the tonic for a busy day (don't you think!).
Then the flow opens, ideas come, and that feeling of potential begins to show itself.
So I invite you to ask yourself, where can you find space, or a place to let yourself relax and trust? Then the next step is to ask yourself, now your feeling relaxed and open, what am I filling up my cup with this month/season/year? What am I choosing to do? Where am I going? Who am I showing up with? How am I showing up? Does this feel part of the true flow of my life? Like its almost "of course". It makes total sense to you. And that's the best part of being an adult, its only you that it needs to make sense to, or even if it doesn't "make sense" in our thoughts, maybe it "feels true".
Feel true, Be you.
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!
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.