If you, like my family, are experiencing a sneezy spring, the broader practice of yoga can help. Yoga and its sister-science, Ayurveda, offer many practices beyond the moving and breathing we do on a yoga mat. In fact, the postures we do on our yoga mats are only one of many components that make up a complete practice. There are practices that are recommended to be done before we unroll our mats. Neti (which is translates as nasal cleansing) is one these purificatory practices and is particularly helpful this time of year.
We have been shouldering a weight of worry and stress for more than a year now and it has taken a toll on each of us. As the world begins to re-open, we are faced with even more change. In addition to understanding why we are feeling anxious, we can also commit to practices for self-care to help us downshift from the long-term anxiety and stress of the pandemic.
Did you know that “Be not afraid.” is in the Bible 365 times? There are enough “Be not afraids” that we could read a different one every day of the year. That is how important this message is to anyone seeking a full, spiritually deepened life experience. Interestingly, while yoga philosophy doesn’t phrase it quite the same way, “Be not afraid” is a central message to yoga seekers on and off the mat.
Your chosen spiritual practice(s) are like a GPS for life. Whatever your practice, you have chosen a tool that helps you get where you’re going. But you do have to allow it to lead the way. When you stick to the “route” suggested by your practice, you will get where you’re going with fewer wrong turns and detours.
Unhappiness can be a season of growth and change, but we must engage with it. While unhappiness is uncomfortable, unexamined unhappiness is frightening. Sadness that is investigated, considered, and processed is something we can learn from. When we give our sadness the space to become a known thing, we can simply be with it, and, eventually, we can work with it.
The pandemic has left some feeling awash in time and wandering a bit aimlessly as a result, not getting as much accomplished as expected. Others are scrambling to keep up with seemingly relentless demands on each waking minute - and some minutes when they really ought to be sleeping. (Working and parenting from home? I’m talking to you.) In short, whether you feel time-abundant or time-poor, time is a precious resource that, invested mindfully, can help us live meaningful, happy lives.
You and I can take a hopeful stance whenever life offers us challenges. We can take a breath and actively (acceptingly, mindfully, and hopefully) WAIT. Trusting as we wait that, one day, we will feel a little quiver of inspiration to once again begin to stretch and grow.
Within the darkness of my grief I have begun to sense some light. I feel certain that this journey will be fruitful; that meaning and purpose will return to my life in entirely new ways. My certainty is anchored in my practice. Yoga draws me back (again and again) to my center where I connect with the light within. It is the glow of this light that softly illuminates this dark, uncharted path so that I can walk on into my life.
Housekeeping is good for you! In yoga philosophy the first of five practices that support our intention to live a spiritual life (niyamas) is purity (sauca). Even 2500 years ago when these practices were codified, our ancient yoga teachers knew something profound – when you take care of the world around you, keeping it clean and orderly, you are also taking care of your inner landscape.