7 days in reflection
Patanjali 1:3 – then the self abides in its own nature – in other words through the practice of yoga our true self is revealed and never more so when we are following daily yogic practices.
As I stepped onto my mat yesterday morning, the sky was blue and the air felt clean, and I saw so much reflected back at me from the last 7 days – some of it felt good and some of it felt uncomfortable.
I have been getting onto may mat every day, you would think that being a yoga teacher this is normal for me. But not always. A busy day can mean I start early and get home late, it is easy to simply say to myself that I have done some yoga already. The truth is, teaching yoga is not my practice, yes I do bend and flex during these times but it is not done for my own specific practice. So I have brought back in the discipline of my daily practice. What I have seen here is that it is time for me to acknowledge that I am carrying an injury, my shoulders for as long as I can remember have been my weak point, they have always been tight and sometimes they have felt sore. In the last 12 months though as I have been paddling with a degree of intensity this discomfort has grown and now I see that action has to be taken to allow them not just to recover, but to become stronger, more flexible than before. Healing has to take place. Over the course of this week I will show you the practices I have brought in to work with my neck, shoulders, spine and hips – nothing happens in isolation and so I am working the body therapeutically and in accordance to my constitution and already I am seeing some changes.
I have been getting up early and going up to the roof for a morning sit – in full confession, I find this quite hard. It is not always pleasurable, frequently I feel tired but I am noticing how much better I feel afterwards. What is always presented in super stark reality during these times is how busy the mind is, how controlling and how manipulative it is. But over the course of the 20 minutes I am able to become more accepting, more forgiving and more understanding towards that – for me, as long as I can have a fraction of awareness of what is going on within me I am happy. It is through this awareness that I grow.
The more aware I become of what I eat, the less I wish to eat the sugary snacks, the cravings still come but I am able to see them for what they are now. I have made a conscious effort to make healthy and energy sustaining lunches, I have a high energy and I burn food fast, this is essential and is certainly helping my energy levels. I also made a decision to give up alcohol and this one has been the most interesting – I don’t really drink much but I do like to relax with a drink at the weekend. The idea we have is that in order to relax we need to have a drink and I fully accept that in the lead up to the weekend I started to question this, why was I putting myself through it? I don’t drink much so surely the little that I do is ok! Subconsciously I think my mind saw this as some kind of punishment and I suspect it made me a little cranky at times. However, yesterday as I thought about it, I thought about all the people who do not drink, not out of choice but because they can’t, either for disease or some other reason. I thought about them and I suddenly had a whole new level of empathy for something I had never really thought about.
The struggle around social media continued, the inability to agree on a day in the week to delete the apps from my phone. Typically like all things I realised the less you plan this stuff the better, on Friday night I went to bed and decided that on the Saturday I would not look at my facebook or instagram feed. In the morning I deleted the apps from the my phone – whilst I did not do a full digital detox, I still had access to email and whatsapp, but I did notice how I much more time I had. We are all so addicted to being kept up to date, we do not want to miss out on a thing, we need to see everything in real time, all the time. It was lovely to be away from that. Instead I went for a run, I did not take the phone; I sat on my roof and went through the full range of practices that I am following plus added in some more; I went for a swim with my children and had a meal with my husband. From now on my intention is to always have one day/week as a minimum without social media and next time I may add in the newspapers also as I do not believe that reading the news contributes to my overall happiness!
I could go on – for now though my initial reflection on these first 7 days has been that as I dive more and more into the world of yoga & yoga therapy, empathy becomes even more important. To be able to sit with someone, to see them, to accept them and to be with them and their suffering is so vital. And so even more important is it than I can sit with my own difficulties, my own challenges and my own fears. I may be a yoga teacher but that does not preclude me from the uncertainties of life, it does not mean that I have always got it under control. I am human after all. However, as a human I wish to live a fully awakened life, and I know that for that to be so, to stop myself from falling asleep, I need to stay in a place of awareness in the most loving of ways and the only way I know how to do that is to be kind to myself, I am doing my best and that is enough.
To be continued……..