3 Delicious Practices to Explore.
There’s no getting away from it. We are STILL in lockdown in the UK. We’ve had months of living differently, staying indoors, social distancing, washing hands, taking Essential Journeys only. Almost a year of this Pandemic - and likely many more months of accepting the changes to both work and home life. This Winter Season has felt a little challenging at times. The dark shorter days contribute to a sense of hibernation - but we may now also look forwards to Spring with a lighter heart.
The impact of coronavirus, has for some, been devastating. For others, it’s been less negative because you’ve had time to reflect and re-evaluate your lifestyle; you may have found more meaningful connections to your spouse, children and/or best friends or even rekindled relationships and formed some new ones. You are even practising MORE OFTEN through my Zoom Daily Classes! The internet has provided opportunities to reach out and not be governed by geographical borders. I've enjoyed sharing with international yoga professionals and teachers in Facebook Groups, Forums and online trainings.
So while I write, my intention is not to ignore the suffering (because Life itself is a series of ups and downs) but simply to remind you of the benefits of attending to your own INTERNAL landscape while appreciating the external circumstances within which you find yourself. Every BODY IS different and You Are Unique. Your present situation AND your past merge together as you meet yourSELF on the mat.
So how do you find equanimity in your day to day life? Can YOU change or improve your Mood and Mindset? There’s no need to create an Inner fake news narrative or escape to a fantasy world. Yoga is about The Route to The Self and for that journey to take place, Practice is KEY.
Begin here and now with Presence and Mindfulness. Cultivate Self-Awareness.
1. BODY SCAN. Standing Sitting or Lying down. Connect to your body. What do you notice? Feel and sense yourself here. Take a few moments to arrive. Scan from your feet up. Any parts feeling tense? Any discomfort? Breathe in and out with focus and feel your legs, knees, hips, pelvis. How does it feel to sit ; stand ; or lay down today. And your back - What do you observe in your back today and are you able to sense your natural spinal curves. How are your shoulderblades? Are you aware of movement in your torso as you breathe? The Imbalances and Misalignments that occur in most of us are more noticeable when you pay attention to your body. Improving your ability to feel, sense and relate to your breath cycles from the inside-out is the benefit of the body scan. As you settle your body, your breathing begins to find an even rhythm, your mind becomes even too. Allow 10 to 15minutes here.
2. BREATH AND MOTION IN MOVING MARJARIASANA = CAT-COW POSE
Classically in AllFours (but can be enjoyed in a seated position) rest weight evenly through well-aligned arms with elbow-pits facing in toward each other, lightly engage your centre and stack knees below hips. Be Aware of Stability and Steadiness in your Neutral Spine. As you begin to Breathe IN, send energy forwards from the heart-centre allowing your tailbone to tilt upwards towards the sky and feel your belly expand towards the earth. (Cow Tilt) and with a soft gaze to nosetip perhaps involve also the extension of your neck, opening your throat area. PAUSE, then feel the Breathe OUT guide you to Round inwards to the Navel Centre, scooping your abdominals, tucking tailbone, as chin nods to chest and you feel the flexing of your Upper Back and Elongation in your Lumbar. (Cat Tilt). EXPLORE whether or not your Pelvis or Head is leading the undulations. Begin to imagine and sense a seamless energy flowing through you and a wavelike motion throughout. Let the repeated breath-body-flow help you find freedom in your spine, shoulders and hips and observe a shift in energy from sluggish to spacious in a matter of minutes. REST in Child’s pose. Or Sit in stillness to acknowledge the effects.
3. WALKING MEDITATION (per Jon Kabat-Zinn's guidance) “Sometimes its virtually impossible to stay seated and mindful with levels of agitation or pain or anger but you can walk with it and in Walking Meditation you attend to the walking itself.”
Centre yourself in this present moment and appreciate your surroundings. In a Walking Meditation, you are not really walking to get any place or Do A Chore – Inviter YOU to BE fully engaged With This very Step or This Single Breath Cycle or This feeling of whole body movement.How are you walking today? Can you walk alongside your mood? How do your Feet Meet the Earth? You can focus on your footfall as a whole, or isolated parts of the motion such as lifting and placing of the feet. Are you feeling graceful? Dignified? Is your body tense and how about your shoulders and arms? Do you tend to walk very Fast? What happens if you slow down a little? Maybe Amble or Stroll? Try not to be concerned with the time, rather than with the connection of yourself to your walking. This could even be a 10minute mindfulness walk around your garden. Remember to keep good posture while encouraging an awareness of walking with breathing and please Do NOT look down at your feet –eyes gaze softly to the horizon - enjoy the view!