When practicing yoga, it is not about becoming more flexible but rather becoming softer in each pose and as we go through our daily lives. When we become softer, we release our need to understand everything around us and go more with the flow of life.
For instance, there is many things we may not be able to understand. We may question: “what is the universe?”, “why is the universe?” Or “where is the universe?”. Even the wisest people cannot answer these questions. Although, we can choose to soften and allow ourselves to open our hearts to the universe and welcome it, even though our understanding is incomplete.
With this scenario, or any scenario, we can accept that we may be uncertain or have an incomplete understanding of something, but can choose to soften, accept and open our hearts to it anyways.
When you finish reading these words, take in this moment through your senses: sensations, sounds and thoughts. Soften to your life as you experience it in this moment, even if you have incomplete understanding.
“Because we were taught to focus elsewhere. We were taught unnaturally. We were taught a very bad philosophy, a way of looking at the world that contradicts who we are”.
This quote is from the book that I recently began reading called “A Return to Love” by Marianne Williamson. I started the book two days ago and I am already intrigued!!
Marianne Williamson starts out the book by talking about how we all began with a natural tendency to love. The quote above is how she describes what can happen to us as we grow and give in to the external factors around us. The things that draw us from our focus on love such as competition, struggle, sickness, finite resources, guilt, bad, death, scarcity and loss. We begin to feel like things like grades, being good enough, money, and doing things the right way, are more important than love. She writes “Love is what we were born with. Fear is what we have learned here.” How true is this?
I decided to share from this book because it provides a miraculous shift in perspective. It provides us with a new way to view ourselves, as well as the world around us. This perspective allows us to see that love is within us. It is who we are and what is real does not really go away. It is our childlike self, our deepest level of being.
Below I have provided an “inner- child” meditation:
Take a deep breath in through your nose and out through your mouth.
Continue this cycle of breathing throughout your meditation.
As you continue this cycle of breath, begin to envision yourself as an innocent child.
Allow your minds eye to bring forth your childhood image.
Try not to interfere with this image.
Hold the image of your innocent child playing, laughing and enjoying life.
Do your best to reconnect to this time.
As you deepen this vision of your child self, begin to breathe in and out the following affirmations.
Breathe in: I am innocent.
Breathe out: I am love.
Breathe in: I am not wrong.
Breathe out: I am guiltless.
Breathe in: I am whole.
Breathe out: I am love.
Continue these mantras for as long as you wish. This childhood meditation will help you to reconnect to your true state, before any external factors, a deeper state of love.
In yoga and in our daily lives, I am learning to be strong yet graceful, steady yet soft, and powerful yet gentle. I realize that the ability to find balance between these opposites can be extremely challenging but also can reveal a healthy soul. Balancing these two elements creates harmony in asana and life.
Today, remind yourself that you do not have to be one or the other. A healthy lifestyle for your mind, body, and soul is being able to balance various qualities and accept yourself as a whole.
Throughout the past year, I have realized the importance of healing as a whole. I realize that when we experience events in our lives, it is crucial to give ourselves the necessary healing to to be able to move on with our lives in a loving way. If we do not take the time to check in with ourselves or allow ourselves to accept what we may be experiencing this can have an effect on our future. I believe that the saying is true “when we you heal yourself, you heal the world”.
The better we do for ourselves, the better we do for the world.
The more love we give to ourselves, the more love we give to the world.
The more we forgive ourselves, the more we forgive the world.
The more gratitude we have for ourselves, the more gratitude we have for the world.
The healing energy that we give ourselves, is the energy we give out to the world.
I could go on and on, but most importantly, I realize that what we give to ourselves, we give out to the world.
So when you think of how you want to make a difference in this world, or the energy you want to attract.. ask yourself.. “what am I giving myself?”
Every morning I begin my commute with a passage from the book “A Year of Living Your Yoga” by Judith Lasater (I love this book so much that it is my second year reading it🤭). For each day there is a inspirational saying or passage for your day that is related to yoga.
One of the passages for this week was “the breathe is the gateway to consciousness”. This reminded me of an experience I had with a patient this past week. I have been treating a patient with relaxation therapy. This has consisted of progressive muscle relaxation, meditation, breathing techniques, mindfulness and the body scan technique. After our first session, she said “it finally feels like all this is real and actually happening”. To give you a background on this patient- she is a dancer who just recently has experienced a stroke. She is now unable to feel the right side of her body, unable to walk independently and has lost a lot of strength in her hands to the point where she is unable to write. All of these are extremely drastic changes in ones life and I can completely understand how it has been such a shock for her and has not felt like reality.
Once she took a step back and focused on the present moment by using her breath, she was able to gain insight and feel as if this was all reality. In her situation, as well as any situation in life, I have realized the importance of using the breath to assist us. Our breath is always available to us, we just don’t always intend to place our focus on it.
Today or any day when you feel like your thoughts are scattered or your feeling the need to control… take a deep breath in and then elongate your exhale as the breath of letting go. Repeat this 3 to 5 times.
This will help you to release the stale, negative energy you may be holding in so you can make space for new, fresh, and positive energy to come into your body.
The passage below is from the book “Come on, Inner Peace” by Sachin Garg. This book was given to me by a man who was working in a little store located in the markets of Jew Town in Kerala, India. I am grateful that I was given this book because it opened my eyes to a heart warming story filled with various strong messages about inner peace. I loved this passage from the book and so I figured that I would share it!
From the chapter “The wind beneath my wings” on pg. 226-
“We are nothing but the mistakes we make. And everybody makes mistakes. That’s what makes us human. It’s important to forgive yourself for those mistakes and accept yourself with them instead of ruing yourself over it forever. We have a tendency to relapse into the mistakes we’ve once made, because we feel we have been there once, we could do it again. But that is where your inner strength, friends, family, passions, books, and love will play a role. Distract yourself to positivity and let life surprise you with its rewards.”
Some days I practice yoga whenever I get home from work as a way to create head space and increase easement after a long day. Last night after work I was feeling quite exhausted but I decided that yoga is never a bad idea so I did a quick relaxing flow. I allowed my body to take me through a restorative flow that included a forward fold, pigeon, and then a couple stretches on my mat. While I was in my forward fold and pigeon pose, I realize that I completely allowed myself to let go. I gave up all resistance, allowing myself to gradually sink into the pose a little more with each breath. This does not always happen in these poses so effortlessly but last night it felt like such a relief.
I realize that we are always going to have that tension or uncomfortable feeling in the back of our hamstrings or in the side of our hips when we practice these poses, although if we allow ourselves to notice that the tension is going to be there, give in to the tension, and find a way to find comfort in the pose, we are allowing our suffering to get out. As you practice these poses, it is important to cultivate a non-judging mind while you do them. This can relate to uncomfortable feelings in our lives that may arise and may always be there in certain circumstances, but we can approach these feelings or situations the same way as our pigeon pose or our forward fold. It is so common that we feel we need to resist, but today try to breathe into your physically tight sports and into your mental agitation.
Remember that practice allows resistance to surface so it can fly away.