Do you find you pushing yourself within your yoga practice? Or criticising yourself when you are not “up in time” to strengthen, stretch and breath before jumping in the shower and heading to work? Many of us have been cultured to and conditioned to believe that pushing ourselves beyond our limits is a GOOD thing: that this performance-based practice is what will enable us to “succeed”. Yet yoga is not about becoming that perfect figure of 8 physically. Hatha yoga – “Ha” = sun and “Tha” = moon. Yoga is an art and a tool-kit for reunifying body, mind and spirit, to live healthily and in harmony, by reawakening your body’s intelligence so you can stay in balance physically and emotionally, by balancing the male, solar “action” energy with the female, lunar “receiving and letting go”.
So for all you amazing, powerful yogis, retreaters and life-travellers out there… we invite you to ask yourself honestly: “how often am I pushing myself to keep going beyond what really feels good”? How often am I trying to prove that “I can” when my body has been saying no? Do I have the discipline to “rest and receive” when my body truly needs this? As this is the secret, lovely readers, to health, happiness and longevity (and isn’t that really what success is all about?).
Yoga is a magnifying glass for clarifying areas of imbalance, of pain or tightness and discomfort – as well as a medicine for self-knowledge and healing. It highlights blockages and, with breath work and a mindful, meditative yoga practice, you can learn to release the tightness. You can allow your body to soothe the pain and heal the discomfort holistically by releasing the blockages when your body – mind – and often soul… are ready. And to do so, requires gentleness. To gently “allow” the release, with the breath, to happen when your body and soul are truly ready.
The paradox is that “letting go” cannot be done with the mind. The more you focus your thoughts and attention on what you want to let go of, the more fixed in your system it becomes. So this is why the breath is the key, to release. By focussing the mind on the breath, a space is created, the thoughts slow down and, with practice, can even cease. By breathing into the parts of the body that feel tight, tired or tense with intention, you are creating space around the muscles, the tightness, the tension.
You can empower this release with gentleness, by creating a “Sankalpa” or healing intention. Thoughts become things… the cells within your body and their components and are dynamic, so you can visualise the healing or releasing to empower your intention. Every cell in your body is a conscious organism doing everything possible to enhance your wellbeing. Metabolic healing, which reharmonises your body, is based on enzyme activity and these enzymes are directly influenced by your intentions or thoughts.
en” If we perceive our situation to be positive and ideal for healing then this changes the environment within our body. This directly influences cellular events and consequently our health. When someone is actively trying to improve their health, regardless of what the medical condition is, the goal is to change cell metabolism so that balance can be restored.” www.dreamhealer.com
If you are over-riding your inner-signals that tell you when you are physically tired, the adrenalin that circulates starts to knock out the para-sympathetic nervous system, which is what enables the body to truly and totally rest. So how can you rest into a daily practice that enables you to live a happy, healthy, harmonious life, so here are 5 steps for letting go…. with gentleness.
* Make sure your daily practice feels realistic, so that rather than feeling you are failing when you do not do it, you can choose times of day that complement your lifestyle. 5 – 10 minutes every morning is much more beneficial than 1.5 hours once a week.
* Observe your natural cycles and rhythms – women have moon cycles, our energy fluctuates at different times of our 28 day cycle, whilst men and women can all monitor your physical, emotional and energetic cycles as biorhythms (which you can read about here):
* Ask yourself each day by placing your hands on your body and feeling your whole self – how am I feeling? in Body? In Mind? In Spirit? How is my energy?
* Set your “Sankalpa” (Sanscrit for “intention”) for the benefits you wish to receive i.e.: balance, calm, feeling centred and grounded, energised, uplifted. The difference between a true Sankalpa and a mind-let goal is that a Sankalpa is NOT sent from the “misguiding” ego, senses or conditioning (what you think you OUGHT to be feeling). It comes from your inner-truth and, therefore is in alignment with your highest good and holistic wellbeing and that of the world around you. If you keep intending “energy” when your body is actually full of nervous energy because you haven’t stopped for a week, then actually what you need may be “peace and release”.
* Listen and feel into your body’s feedback when you set your Sankalpa… and sculpt your practice to suit YOUR rhythm just for today – ask yourself, how long and at what intensity will be of greatest benefit to me?
We have a very simple question that we like to ask ourselves at Ibiza Retreats: is it a pleasure or a pressure?
We answer this questions by feeling into ourselves…. does it feel good, right, compelling? or is our breath shortening, chest tightening?
We invite you to get to know your physical reactions and responses to be able to listen to your body, to be gentle with yourselves and to en JOY living in greater health and harmony.
With so much love…. x Larah & Susie x