This world can be exhausting if we done take time to slow down, take stock, and revitalise ourselves. Because aint nobody going to do it for us. The Yogi's saw this, and noted it down, all those many moons ago!
Our senses draw us out of ourselves. Think about it for a moment; listening, looking, smelling, tasting and feeling. Each day we are pulled by our senses, think of a smell as you walk past a bakery, or what you see as you scroll through your Instagram account, or what you feel as you make your way through your day, what you listen to? (and whom you listen to!), what you eat during the day, just as an example.
No wonder, we are wiped out, exhausted, done, full (yet empty) and tired.
All day this goes on, and if we aren't in the habit or practice of turning out we will probably burn out. This looks different for all of us, but could be: over fatigued, stressed, over it, sleep deprived, cranky, irritated and just plain done.
The antidote to this is the juice of my practice at the moment: Pratyahara! This is one of the Eight Limbs of Yoga and is a balm for this tired but wired feeling we may have.
Pratyahara can be summed up here quite nicely from Osho "go within or go without". Its about drawing the curtain on our senses and drawing inward.
It might looks like this:
Perhaps the first 5 minutes when you get to Yoga, you roll your mat out and lie down and close your eyes. Do you feel that little exhale, the letting go as you relax into the mat, the turning in? Hmmmm, yes.
Coming home to yourself.
Taking a rest from the pull of the world.
Turning down the volume so you can listen to the still quiet voice within.
So good, so necessary.
Lately I've been noticing how this practice for me is reflected in the New Moon. I like that we can't actually see the New Moon. I feel like this is no small coincidence, as its often the time to reveal new intentions, dreams, habits, rituals etc. Making these intentions we begin to bring things unseen into being, matching perhaps their development to the cycle of the moon from darkness to the light of the full moon, from a dream to a plan, from a wish to a form.
I think thats why I feel so drawn to the new moon, even though I can't see it, I can feel it. It feels more calm, more soothing than the full moon, maybe its the thought of the possibility, the dreamy state of just thinking and feeling into intentions.
More on that in another post I think, otherwise this should post should have had a different title!
If we don't go within, how can we ever create the life we dream of, if we don't draw in how can we listen to our souls voice, our intuition, our conscience. All these tools we've been given for creating a skilful life lie within, so in the words of Osho "go within or go without", I recommend going within!
Here's a few things to try on the way to Pratyahara:
- Music // Find a long piece of music, say 10 to 15 mins where you can completely drop into the sounds.
- Incense or candle // Light a stick of incense or a candle, sit, close your eyes, smile & breathe.
- Japa Mantra // With a mala, silently repeat a word or a sound that resonates with you. Work your way around the 108 beads, or seeds on your mala to calm your mind and feel it draw your attention in.
- Asana // Do a slow, relaxed physical practice and really drop into how it feels in your bones, your muscles and your soul.
When we draw in and practice Pratyahara, "We become aware of where our energy is moving or congested, and have an opportunity to feel and sort out through what is bottled up in our emotional or psychological blocks". Great words on this practice from a favourite book of mine called The Yogi's Roadmap by Bhavani Silvia Maki.
Until next time!
Equanimity. Steadiness and ease. Skilfulness in action. Sounds so good right?
These are some words from the Yoga Sutras and the Bhagavad Gita that are orbiting around in my world right now. They sound like pretty important foundational words to me.
The world is a place where we need a good foundation to our way of being. For if we are to create our life, one thought, one word and one deed at a time, its vital that we come from a place of steadiness, of measured thought, of calm and yes of course, LOVE.
Yoga is ease in action. Bhagavad Gita 2:50.
Right alignment is accompanied by steadiness and ease. Sutra 2.46 from Ravi Ravindras translation of the Yoga Sutras.
So valuable, as if we are coming from a place that is entered, that is steady, we may just take a small step toward creating what it is we wish to have and or see in our life. If we come from a place of worry, fear, worse case scenario, what do you think we will create? Drama, conflict, misunderstadning.
How to come from ease I hear you ask? Well, here are some practical steps:
# Body check in - how is your body feeling (e.g. tight, stiff, relaxed, easy).
# Breath check in - whats going on in the breath? Is it shallow, choppy, soft, relaxed.
# Future check in - what is that you wish to create?
Staying in alignment with what it is you wish to create, keeps you on the right track for you. Checking in, is coming back home. Drawing in to connect what it is we are feeling, how we are breathing, and considering hmmmmm what is it here I wish to create?
Because as my teacher posted recently:
"In this Yoga, no effort goes to waste, and no momentum is lost: even a little of this dharma rescues one from great fear". (2.40)
Much love to you!
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?