Recently I haven’t been making it onto my yoga mat.
Yesterday morning however, I made the space and time, and got myself on my mat. My energy levels are very low at the moment, I’m getting over a cold, and a few other factors are playing their part too. I did a gentle 40 minute practice of simple stretches, a relaxation, and a meditation. Just really familarising myself with my body again after my little break.
It was like someone had pushed my reset button. It felt so good to be stretching and moving. I was suddenly aware of how much tension had crept into my body over the last few weeks. Gradually during the practice, through my breath and my movements, I can begin to release it. My shoulders drop, my hands soften, my jaw relaxes and everything that has been bothering me fades away and it all begins to feel better. I become aware of the breath moving in and out of my body, as my belly softens. The inhale and exhale gradually becoming slower and deeper. With every conscious breath I feel more like myself.
When I step off my mat at the end, I always feel so much lighter and ready for life and what ever it may throw at me. Knowing what a positive impact yoga has on my day and how I feel, I don’t understand why sometimes I avoid my practice, almost like it is a chore. Why, when we know what’s going to help and make things feel better, do we sometimes block that thing out?
Dipping in and out of my yoga, and doing the bare minimum, keeps me ticking over, but to really feel the benefit I am aware that I must repeat my practice regularly. Only by committing to a daily Sadhana (dedicated practice) of some sort will I be able to work more deeply. I want to create space for time on my mat every day – with the acknowledgment that just showing up is an essential part of the work.
There is no point in setting myself a goal that I am unlikely to stick to, so I have given some thought as to what is do-able for me right now. Currently, what my body wants to naturally do is about 40 minutes, which I am going to challenge myself to commit to daily. That gives me time to move and stretch my body every day, do a little relaxation, and a meditation – which I want to set an intention for.
The commitment isn’t to the yoga itself, but it is an investment in me. It’s time dedicated for me to tune into myself and the world around me. By making space for a daily Sadhana, it says I care about my wellbeing, and it’s a chance for me to prioritise myself. Like most people, I find life keeps me busy and it’s difficult to balance family, work and home, but particularly being a mother, we rarely have the opportunity to put ourselves first, so any time ‘especially for me’ is pretty sacred.
We all need time to reconnect to our spiritual selves, for that you do not have to be religious or worship a particular God (although you may do). There are many ways to find that spiritual connection, whether you feel it through a walk in nature, creating a mandala (like above), or through a yoga class.
Only when we take this important time out, do things fall into perspective, and we can be less driven by our emotions. The more I understand my creativity, the more I see that it is inextricably linked to my spirituality, and by devoting time to my spiritual side, I am ultimately feeding my creativity too.
How do you connect to your spiritual side? Do you have things that you know will make you feel better, but you don’t always do?
If yoga is something that helps you, do you have a regular practice? And how do you maintain that? Would love to hear what works for you.