An early swim this morning with a friend in a rather cool, no-frills public pool had me reflecting.. it’s not only sitting on a meditation cushion that enables my mind to focus on the ‘good’. After all, I’d just set an alarm early on a public holiday, knowing that the outcome of exercising outdoors would be beneficial for my mind! Thinking about the working day ahead (and writing this blog) I asked my friend..
‘So what fascinates you about yoga as therapy? What would you like to read on my site?’
Unsurprisingly our conversation (after a hot shower!) moved to managing our fears, letting go of habitual patterns of behaviour and unhelpful thinking, and the underlying question we often ask ourselves (or hide from..) – am I good enough? I know if I had a penny for the number of times these topics surfaced in dialogue with students: after restorative yoga; following an extended meditation; and/or with those experiencing ill health or sleep issues; I would not be here writing this blog!
SO what to do…
There are many ways in our society that these fear/issues are seemingly addressed – food, alcohol, illicit drugs, risk taking behaviours,’busy-ness’. However, my passion and focus is on enhancing health and wellbeing through the wholistic practices of traditional yoga and meditation. I know these are not for everyone, so here are a few suggestions, alongside some more ‘yogic’ ideas:
- become more aware of the simple things you do that create a lasting feeling of happiness within, those that are helpful to you and don’t harm anyone else. Do MORE of these! It may be mastering a new recipe, giving yourself permission to finish a good book, turning off your alarm and waking a little more refreshed. I guarantee that these activities will involve mindfulness (full presence in the moment) and a conscious decision to put yourself first.
- step off the ‘treadmill’ and step back a little from your current situation, even if only long enough to take a fully conscious and deeper breath. Consider, ‘Will this scenario, argument, whatever, be relevant in one year, five years?’ Close your eyes and with another fully conscious and deeper breath, visualise yourself letting it go.
- adopt a mantra or affirmation that reminds you of self-care, self-protection, kindness to self. For example, Slow down, Let it go, I am OK just as I am. Stick with the same words, write them down and post them in obvious places you will see during the day. Repeat them to yourself, especially when things become confronting, until you find yourself internalising these words so that they are there all the time.
- create a ritual each morning, it may be 5 minutes or longer, to connect deeply within yourself. Establish a dedicated space or place and ensure there are symbols, objects that are meaningful to you. It does not need to be a yoga room with photos of Swamis to be effective! It may be beside your bed, a corner in the house, a part of the garden, with a special photo, gift, momento, piece of nature. Lighting a candle is helpful as a symbolic action of acknowledging your inner light, lighting your light, believing in yourself.
- Learn a restorative yoga pose, find a meditation object/practice that focuses your mind, adopt a simple asana routine that frees your body of tensions and pain. On completion, notice the effect of these practices on the quality of your thoughts and attitude to yourSelf.
‘The best friend we can make is with ourSelf’.
I’d love to hear how you go or for you to share this post with a friend.