Those rushed moments of our lives....where we reach forward constantly for the Next thing, the next breath, the next thought, the next words, the next movements..rob us of witnessing the listening to the sacred intelligence that exists within us.
This has been the theme this week and last in class ~ the transitional moments, between poses, breaths, bones, words, thoughts. How do we rush and speed up? Where do we resist? Because it feels that there's a lot of us currently in some form of transition. We all are really, in every moment, becoming and transforming into a different version of ourselves, both biologically and spiritually. Being carried across to the next opening or expansion.
And again the Ancient texts give us the guidance we need to create the state of mind we need to access that place of quiet and peace. The breath. ( amongst others)
A steady slow, long exhale, leading us to cultivate a state of meditation and bringing coherence. And with practice, this state becomes your actual state of being, guiding you through all the transitions of life, as they come your way.
Take one now. A long slow steady deep breath in, and a long slower steady easeful breath out. There feel, that.
I've been feeling the transition myself, coming off the end of another 40 Day Sadhana with my mentor, the challenge was not judging what I saw as a failure, but to surrender enough to now be in this moment of Flow State, where as Elena Brower says above, I can see that those challenges, those hardships and heartaches were actually bringing me to this expansive state that I am in now.
They were preparing me, opening me up, getting me quiet enough to listen that body intelligence that's right there, within us.
To allow things to move through me.
The processes that have facilitated this transition and transformation are laid out clearly in the Sutras. Sutra 1.32-1.40. And involve the following, of which I have been practicing and even including some of my classes:
1. Cultivating a steady and equanimous state of mind by cultivating attitudes of compassion and love and enjoyment towards people are exhibiting these qualities, towards those ( including myself )that are experiencing suffering, towards those that experiencing success and towards those people that might also be the bearer of grief or sorrow to others or you.
2. By working with lengthening the exhale and even retaining the breath at the end of the exhale.
3. By Focussing on inner and subtle sensations, how things move through you.
4. Spending more time in Yoga Nidra.
If you're feeling the rushness of a transition in your life, if you feel yourself hurtling towards something or even feeling yourself pulling back and resisting a transition, try out one the things above. Start where you are and breathe. Long, Slow, Deep breaths out and linger at the bottom of the breath. And just notice. Observe what happens. How life might flow a little differently through you now.
Go steady and be at peace.
In the midst of Sunny Sundays in the desert (who doesn't love those?) I'm contemplating life after another 40 Day Sadhana.
Part of my work as a teacher, also includes my constant self-work, shadow work and healing. And Sadhanas are as one of my teachers puts it, my "life support".
A Sadhana is a committed daily practice to support your life, to nourish your life and to sustain life. Small, simply, daily rituals that become like prayers. They include Pranayama, movement/asana, Meditation, Mantra and Mudra and of course journalling ( amongst others things) and I find them INCREDIBLY informative, transformative and expansive. I find that to be guided along with a teacher, the most transformative method. Keeping me accountable and stretching in all the ways I need to be stretched and nurturing me in all the ways I need to be nurtured.
Most importantly, and often the most confronting and difficult parts of these Sadhanas, is that I find they highlight to me, all the ways in which I contract. I tend to see all the ways in which "I" am tight, tense, in pain, no creative enough, not smart enough, ( you get the message) i tends to highlight to me all these things.
Ways in which I block, sabotage, chicken out, don't do the work ~ all those old patterns, what in Yogic tradition we would call our Samskaras. Samskaras are the "deep latent patterns that cause us to have an experience of being separate from the whole...They drive ALL our unconscious behaviours in life".. Sutras 1.18-1.19 from Tantra of the Yoga Sutras by Alan Finger.
How then, do you go about working through these Samskaras? You get still, you meditate, you chant Mantras, you breath. You DO the work. Maybe its therapy also. But at the heart, its constant dedicated action, awareness and surrender, sound familiar. It should do, we've discussed it in a few blogs back and also in last weeks topic.
But what if I could change how I saw this? instead of all my contraction and seeing that as innately negative, could I see it all as just part of the path to expansion, and a place to allow more freedom and growth in?
As you start to intergrade perhaps your Yoga a little more fully into your life, you will perhaps start to create your own Sadhana. Your own daily prayer for life support.
You start to see now that it all comes back to the practice. Just how willing are you to do the work? If you know what will support and nourish you, what will nurture you through it all, will you choose to do it?
Take some time this Sunday eve or even Monday eve, to as my teacher likes to tell me: ( full credit here to my divine light @to_Yoke | Phoebe Jones, for these 3 words, ( to which I have added my own twist) :
REFLECT || On your month that's been and where you can forgive yourself. Where have seen expansion and where have you seen contraction. Can you note it as just those words, no negative or positive emotions attached.
TRUST || When I trust my expansiveness, my full and completeness, what will my day look like? How Can I allow contraction to make room for the expansion?
DIRECT || In days where I find myself deep in my Samskaras ( my patterns, my old habits dying hard) where and how can I direct my energy through these days? what practices could I incorporate to sustain me?
What will your Sadhana look like these next few weeks of July?
I'd love to know. DM or email me if you'd like some support or accountability. Or even perhaps 3 Private Sessions to set up your own Sadhana practice.
You know that dullness, doubt, indecision, laziness, instability & general heaviness you're feeling ~ during those times you know you should be out walking the dogs, feeding yourself healthier food, moving your body more? Well guess what, the Ancient sages and seers felt it too, as has probably every human that's ever lived.
The Yoga Sutras (translation by Alan Finger, "Tantra of the Sutras) tell us there are 9 kinds of these conditions that get in our way from reaching and experiencing Samadhi ( that integral feeling of connection to the universal consciousness).
That's right, you've heard it before, your'e in YOUR OWN WAY.
And we tend to feel these a lot during winter. And we also tend to feel these whenever we start or commit to something new, like a Yoga practice, Meditation, daily Walk, whatever it might be. Old habits die hard, and you will find yourself feeling like the very thing that was supposed to help you ( your Meditation/Mindfullness practice) actually makes it worse.
I'm here to say. Its okay. It's a totally normal and natural reaction. ( See above the 9 Conditions - they experienced it way back when)
All you need is the tools to be able to ride the waves of this growth ~ you need the action, awareness & surrender to be able to experience the now.
Sutra 1.32-1.40 give us some simple and powerful tools to do this:
1) Cultivating compassion, joy, love and equanimity (even to those create suffering)
2) Using the breath. Specifically lengthening out the exhale and spending time at the pause at the end of the exhale in retention
3) Focusing on subtle, inner perceptions
4) Cultivating awareness in the mid-brain.
If you've been to classes you'll know we do a lot of the above. And that's in short, why we do what we do. I don't just make up poses I think will be good, I follow tradition but also teach from my heart and offer you freedom to explore and feel it in your own body.
Not sure where to start? Start now. With what you have.
And also, come to class with me. I'd love to see you on the mat. Prefer one on one time? yeah me too sometimes, I offer Private sessions from my Home studio or I can come to you. We can even do outdoors.
Contact me via Facebook or website for more info!
Till next week,
I'm a Yogi, tea-lover, wanderluster, truth seeker.