Reread the first line. You are invited to acknowledge yourself with a greeting; show gratitude; practice presence by allowing yourself a centering pause, unaffected by any other schedule.
It is easy to say that we live in uncertain times. Our inner worlds of emotion, feeling, and mind is constantly changing.
Sometimes, you feel more insecure than others. Other times, it can be a positive thing, like when you start a new job, school, relationship, or go on vacation. Although it might be difficult for many to start something new, we can view it with excitement, enthusiasm, and potential. Our sense of self-worth and security is boosted when we attract or acquire the circumstances we want, need and deserve.
Attainment, achievement, and acquisition are the hallmarks of modern life. We can instantly and always have what we want with just one click.
Even within “spiritual” circles, we are encouraged to focus on achieving positivity and making our dreams a reality. It is okay to strive for professional excellence, mutually satisfying relationships, and financial solvency. All of us should have the chance to treasure the beautiful things in life. They will last. It’s a terrible feeling to be in the middle of something wonderful and then be unable to enjoy it due to its (inescapable) end.
You might be familiar with the phrase, “Time flies when it’s having fun.” Be aware of how great things feel. Mindfulness is a skillful practice. It can help you to notice how good things feel.
All things pass
All good things will end. This is a universal truth. There might be times when we lose our loved ones or are in a difficult job or relationship. It is possible that we do not receive the promotion or scholarship that we had hoped for. We might be left wondering if this will ever end. !”
It is possible to lose the ego boost we feel when everything is perfect. The mind is attracted to pleasant and affirming things and is opposed to unpleasant and unwelcome. We learn ways to avoid our Selves, the wounded, broken, and vulnerable parts of ourselves, during times of uncertainty and stress. We are skilled escapists and procrastinators.
It could be as simple as seeking validation via social media and communication technology. Or retreating into TV reruns with a feeling of defeat. Or confronting the backlog in admin and housework to try to control our environment. It doesn’t matter what it is; it distracts us from being still.
How can we approach yoga in these difficult times?
Don’t be a perfectionist.
Accept the fact that your life is not perfect. You are probably giving yourself the most grief about how your life should look or what you “should do.”
This is true for your yoga practice. This is hard for perfectionist friends. Having a plan for your life and yoga practice is helpful, but don’t expect them always to work together.
Even if it is difficult, start by being present. When the (hypothetical) register is called, it will be possible to say that you are “Present.” You can either go to class or lay on your mat. Do as my favorite musician-philosophers Nirvana say, and Come As You Are.
Your phone should be turned off.
Many of us won’t do that anymore. You can put it in flight mode or silent in a different room. It shouldn’t be next to your mat if you are taking a class at a studio or gym. We have been taught to believe that we must respond to all notifications and texts 24 hours a day. You can be reassured that it is not.
We can also learn to stop the cycle of instant satisfaction that we feel when our devices light up or ping, and we will be less dependent upon them for validation and security.
Lower your expectations
This is an important one. You don’t have to follow a plan or structure if required. I suggest you take a class or watch an online video. You must let go of the notion that your practice must have a particular outcome. Instead, allow for surprise, grace and spontaneity.
You will hopefully feel better. It is important to feel better. You should pay more attention to your body’s sensations, the shape and quality of your breath, the story-telling mind, and the dynamic and energetic nature of emotions.
Be kind to yourself.
You might start your practice by lying down and doing a slow (or quick!) supine position. Body scan. I love to place a hand on my stomach and relax there. Because I’m self-conscious about my stomach, I deliberately relax it. It makes me less anxious and helps me forget all my worries.
To relax here is an act of self-acceptance. What can you do to be kind to yourself? Let go of any judgments. Do some self-care.
Our unconscious Central Nervous system, which governs how we respond to danger, stress and uncertainty, is responsible for our fight and flight reflexes. These are known as the Green Light (fight/ confront) and Red Light (flight/ hide) Reflexes in Hanna Somatics. A straight posture characterizes green Light tendencies, with shoulders back, chest up, chest and chin raised, and hips forward (like a soldier). This reduces the back body’s length. Red Light tendencies are the opposite. They have a stooped posture, with their head down and shoulders hunched. The front body is compressed.
Are you noticing any of these tendencies? Can you imagine laying on the ground and attempting to find a way of moving into a more extreme expression of this shape before relaxing completely? This is part of the Shape Making Asana practice.
Your movement and asana practice will have a unique outward expression.
Your body is worth it.
Allow your body to guide you in how and if you move.
Your breath should be guided all the way through. As you work from this space of heart-led movement, let your head become quiet and trust that the Body-Mind-Spirit being that is You knows exactly what it needs to get back to its core. From there, you can chart your course.