Welcome to April and to another new season! It seems like time flies by and we can definitely all join together in gratitude to Yoga for giving us that hour or so a day where we can slow down and be present with ourselves. It’s also a time of Transition at the Studio as we move swiftly toward the due date of owner Ashley’s baby and all of the joy which that has and will continue to bring our community. Babies remind us of possibility, of what it means to truly be filled with potential as we embrace their fresh and abundant energy which is sure to fill our lives with their arrival. They can also remind us that life continues to grow and change, sometimes (or often) in spite of our best efforts to remain in our comfort zone. Life can easily find us locked into our ‘patterns’ and those places within ourselves and our lives which bring comfort and a sense of reliability. Yoga’s inherent ability to hold us gently in that place where transitions arise within and outside of ourselves is such a blessing and one which I know so many of us are grateful for.
But, transitions don’t always occur on the wings of a beautiful bouncing baby! Transition can sweep us up in it’s billows leaving us feeling caught off guard and unprepared to face the challenges that arise within it.
I want to share with you 5 essential practices which I have relied on this past year as I navigated the less than gentle winds of change which have blown through my own life:
1) Presence: Just simple, intentional presence. Being in this second, this minute, this breath, this laughter, this tear, this very moment. We know that mindfulness has incredible benefits for our nervous system, our stress response, our monkey minds. Mindfulness is for all of those things certainly but ultimately for me it meant that I was allowing life to happen. Allowing me to happen. Allowing life’s events to unfold as part of something which was ultimately more intricate and beautiful than I could ever comprehend with my limited perspective.
2) Hand on Heart: This one is best paired with breath and a gentle noticing of the emotions that are arising inside. Often and especially in our culture which can at times seem intent on ridding us of emotions entirely, we find ourselves in the pattern of running and hiding from our very human and healthy emotions. Emotion is simply energy in motion and it needs to move! Consciously being with these emotions as they flow within me has been a crucial part of my practice of self-care. In this space, I am reminded that I am not a human doing but rather a human being.
3) Unrelenting Vulnerability: It can be most discomforting to show our less than perfect selves to those around us, especially if we’ve found ourselves in the habit of reassuring ourselves and others how ‘fine’ we are! I challenged myself to reach out and share with others how I was feeling, my thoughts and fears, at least once a day whether I wanted to or not (and trust me, I usually did not want to). This helped me feel seen, accepted and supported. As shame and vulnerability researcher & author Brene Brown says: “We don’t have to do all of it alone. We were never meant to.”
4) Service: Becoming more involved in my community, more focused on others and what they were going through in their lives, helped give me perspective and gratitude for my own challenges. It can be easy to get wrapped up in ourselves and our own discomfort when transition knocks on our door and I have definitely found that caring for other’s lives, trials and tribulations, has shown me how not alone I am and most importantly, how very human I am as well. It’s such a relief to be reminded of how totally un-unique I am! And how very alike my struggles are to yours.
5) Yoga: My practice was unequivocally the most kind, the most grounding, and by far the most nurturing thing that I could have done for myself and those around me. When I am in my breath, I’m not out in the world playing director. When I’m in my body, I’m not trying to be anywhere else. When I’m on my mat, I am showing up for me and telling myself that I am worth it. This is the essence of yoga for me and I know for so many of you.
The winds of change don’t always have to present as hurricanes and with this beautiful spring so far and the arrival of the tiniest member of our Yoga in Bowness family, I don’t see any clouds on the horizon. But if those gusts arise and you find yourself in the midst of life’s transitions, know that you are not alone, that you are supported, and that the doors of the Studio are always open for you, our friend.
We are always looking for ways to support you in your life’s moments and we have a couple of offerings coming up which we think will be excellent opportunities for presence and self-care. Watch for workshops, and special offerings to compliment your changing & unique needs.