Practicing Yoga returns me time and time again to a state of better balance, harmony and peace. Yet these benefits remain with me long after I’ve put my mat away. I know that my calm, my clarity of thought, of concentration and contentment which do not desert me at times of stress are anchored in Yoga. Hearing my Teen Yoga group compare how they have managed stress during the run up to their A-levels illustrates that since starting Yoga, they too have recognised their ‘reservoir of calm’.
Your internal reservoir of tranquillity...
A source of calm to draw upon as needed – what an amazing resource! Do you still recognize the calm, contented, comfortable in your own skin inner you?
Even fleeting glimpses of feeling ‘more you’ whilst relaxed on holiday, or how you feel whilst absorbed in creating: painting, playing music, gardening… lets you know that peace does lie within. Yoga practice nurtures this. It teaches us that we do have a place of calm within, however far away that may feel. Even just the knowledge of that can help during difficult times, when peace, contentment and the ability to relax feel distant.
‘Be still and know that I am God’ (Psalm 46:10.) … Through Yoga practice we get to know our inner self, our essence, our spirit (whatever beliefs you may have.) Top up your reserves of inner calm and learn to draw upon them through regular Yoga practice. Whether you are feeling lethargic, hyperactive or somewhere between the two, allow yourself five to ten minutes of Yoga practice.
Be still – lie in relaxation pose, sit in Egyptian chair pose or stand in Mountain pose and notice what you feel you need. Relax your jaw, soften your eyes and brow, relax your hands and actively release tension from your limbs, abdomen and buttocks. With no agenda to make changes, enjoy the rise and fall of your breath.
Then follow your instinct:
Top up your reservoir of calm at one of my weekly classes or ask me about 1:1 Yoga practice tailored to your needs.
To me, Yoga means balance. It translates as ‘to yoke’ ‘to harness’. I think it is our attention that must be yoked or harnessed. The original mindfulness. Yoga is the stilling of the mind – being in the present moment is the golden key!
In class, you will hear me instructing you to allow your breath to settle into a natural rhythm, just as if you are at home relaxing with a book, listening to music or watching TV. Whatever movements we do, follow this natural rhythm of breath. It is this awareness of our breath, letting our movements follow the breath that keeps us focused, present. It is our breath that balances body, mind and spirit.
Try noticing your breathing habits at different times of the day, during different activities. Is your posture allowing fresh oxygen into your lungs and stale air out? Are you tense, your breath shallow? Or relaxed, your body spacious, allowing your chest and abdomen to expand and condense with full rhythmic breaths?
Try this practice which helps co-ordinate movement with breath:
Whilst sitting, (feet flat on the floor), standing or lying aim to relax with good spinal posture. Without changing it, notice your breath enter and leave your body. Become interested in its ebb and flow. Feel how and where your body rises and falls with the ebb and flow of each breath.
Now gently uncurl and curl your fingers in time with your breath… After several breaths gradually add more stretch to your fingers, thumbs and hands …Now as you uncurl the fingers also rotate your arms outwards from the shoulder joints so your palms face forwards if standing or sitting - or the ceiling if lying … and return the arms as the fingers release and curl once more.
Concentrate on allowing your natural rhythm of breath to lead the movements. You might try this for three or four minutes or for a little longer. How did it leave you feeling? Let me know…
Come and join a class to learn more!