That thing that I do most(!) mornings on my yoga mat probably doesn't bear scrutiny from anyone who attends a yoga class or really knows their stuff...its not "proper", its not pretty, its not lengthy, its just what I do (a mixture of what I've learned, what feels good, movements I've half invented); but the key is in the words "I do it". I know of plenty of yoga aficionados who still only do yoga when they go to a class. Sometimes I roll movements together so much I feel like I'm a butterfly about to take off then, at other times, I use long pauses and gravity to do the work with me, holding positions until my body tells me to stop, a method that can deliver exquisite release to some of the deepest entanglements. The sense of fine tuning what my body is most asking for, to my own rhythm, has been palpable and the real gift of home practice; being unique to me and that most-intimate inner dialogue (the one that starts with the invitation "show me what you want and I will do that" without uttering a word) and not something that could follow the rhythm of a teacher or class. A conversation such as this, based utterly upon trust, is one that never (ever) stops again but, rather, carries on spreading its magic across all aspects of your daily life. Approaching yoga in this ad-hoc way, the mat remains somewhere that I'm accomplished, doing something that its impossible for me to do wrong or badly (which is a good starting point to get to know this truth about all of life). In listening to my body, what it wants, what it calls out for (today...which may not be the same as yesterday), I do something that is a central tenet of what yoga is all about and that takes me into that same hallowed space where the alchemy of yoga really happens. Like a meditation or a pause for breath, a moment of grace in a life that can be physically challenging, a demonstration of pure self-love and of listening to what my body is telling me, I get there...all on my own.
I have this theory...about the patterns we formed in the first 3 to 4 years of our life and how they inform the stuck-points of our adult self. For instance, the pattern of seeking solace in a state of "illness" was one I know my body drew on whenever life became too much for me as an adult; I would crave that slide back into the welcome arms of the sick-day sofa like the nurturance of the mother I longed for the attention of (even though that nurtance now came through me). I see now how that pattern fed into chronic illness as surely as did my perception of the "outside world" of other people as some sort of alien landscape to which I would never quite belong and where I was never truly wanted...Recognising those earliest imprints upon myself as a little human taking in my first impressions of what this world was all about, its fear-factors, its safe-havens, helped me to recognise some of the most entrenched patterns of my adult behaviour and my trends towards withdrawal from life, perhaps even going as far as initiating health-issues that meant I could hide away from an all-too scary world when things got too much. Shedding light on these trends can be one of the most enlightening stages of any recovery journey, initiating the very healing we most long for.
Creating a ritual of self-care really works; it grounds that loving intention into a series of favourite acts that really work for you and which can be recalled, almost without having to think about them, when you most need them. When you wake feeling awful, when your body feels less-than, you might hardly know where to start with the desire to make that feeling better except for the ritual you have practiced and engraved into your life at times when you feel much better, feel most celebratory and playful. By reenacting these sacred ceremonies dedicated to YOU - and doing so often - you anchor them into the "ordinary" fabric of your experience and can quickly draw on them, adapt and make use of them when they are most powerful of all; which is at times when you feel you have lost that loving thread, lost your sense of appreciation for all that you are, have fallen off your physical perch. At the altar of yourself, you get to gently reenact a series of self-loving acts that brings you back online with yourself and remind you - like a softly spoken "I love you" in your ear - that you are cherished and deeply cared for, that what you are feeling matters, that there is no thing beyond this intimate pause in space-time claimed for yourself that is more worthy of your attention than you at this or any other moment; because, in your life, it all starts and ends there, in the infinite capsule of your consciousness watching the experiences of life unfold. Once experienced - and repeated over and over in the ritualised form - this feeling can never be lost and holds the power to transform any experience that could ever present itself to you, be that external or even pain in your body. What a gift to yourself on the path to self-empowerment and joy.
If you are a 'sufferer' from SAD (seasonal affective disorder) this is your loud and clear invitation to consider ways (and here's a whole treasure-trove of them, gathered through my own personal experience) that you get to create a very different experience; consciously, through choice. Suddenly, a seemingly endless procession of gloomy days doesn't seem all that gloomy anymore but, rather, has become the very playground of creating your own best experience - and not just in this rather trivial-seeming way but in all things, putting you back in the driving seat as the creator of your own best possible life.
Yesterday I woke in pain so intense I was completely locked-up all through the trapezius muscle and my limbs hurt all over. This was a fibromyalgia flare-up of old; I recognised all the signs of the pain that gets into everything. Yet by mid afternoon I was bobbing around the house on a mission to … Continue reading The difference that is yoga
The sun is having one of her moments again...a G4 geomagnetic storm yesterday and predicted again, possibly to G5 level, today following a number of very strong flares and earth-directed CMEs. At these times, I've notice in myself, and in conversation with others, that some of these challenges might crop up in your daily experience....but … Continue reading Scrambled into clarity
Saturday mornings are a time when I luxuriate in the slower pace, in the self-turned attention and the pull-back from routine and this morning was no exception. The birds woke me at five and it felt like I had run out of sleep so I lay there in quiet meditation, then listened to an uplifting … Continue reading When life becomes a tangle, don’t lose your hair!