Overwhelm, aggravation, annoyance, frustration, irritation, unsettling. . .What other words can you think of to describe our current circumstances? Luckily, there is a cure for all of these feelings. You already know what I am going to say: Yoga.
The world of virtual meetings has expanded and many of us are forgetting to build in time for ourselves between them. Remember when you used to have to commute to work? You had to plan driving time? You got to listen to your favorite music, podcast, radio station, etc. while you traveled to your place of work? Do you remember how that time in the car gave you time to think, to plan, to ponder?
During the practice of Yoga asana we build in moments of stopping. Between postures we pause to breathe. At the end we stop moving and rest our bodies so that we can absorb all the benefits of the practice. When was the last time you just stopped? Maybe you should build in some opportunities to do so from now on.
What Will You Change?
When the pandemic began there was so much uncertainty. We sheltered in place to stay safe. We did our best to sort through the information that was rapidly being provided and did our best to follow the directives that seemed to change daily. Now, we’ve all develop our own practices based upon our understanding of the pandemic and our individual levels of risk aversion.
Throughout this time the weather has been fairly pleasant. During the Springtime many of us were able to go outside and play. During the Summer we took advantage of the outdoors. As we transition into Autumn and Winter what will you do to remain healthy and safe? How will you make sure that you are doing your part to keep others safe? Yoga includes the practice of Ahimsa: non-harming. As the seasons change and we are more likely to be indoors, consider how you can behave in a way that keeps everyone safe and healthy.
Stand Back & Observe
It can be easy to get stuck in our own bubbles. Social media algorithms show us what we want to see. We encircle ourselves with people who agree with us. We go to places that align with our beliefs.
Viprittakarani translates to mean “reverted process.” I often refer to this practice as “shift in perspective.” When practicing Paddle Yoga one of my favorite moments is when everyone moves into downward facing dog and gazes upon the lake with it appearing up-side-down. No photo can capture what you see in that position. It is a moment to enjoy viprittakarani. Consider how you can incorporate opportunities to stand back, observe, and shift your perspective.
By this time of year most of us in the service industry are at our wits end. We have answered the same questions thousands of times. We have been cleaning up after others. Our patience has been tested in every way possible. It can be easy to fall into a state of angry bitterness.
Every practice I teach ends with three statements of aum shanti (ah ooh mm shahn-tee): salutations to peace. I say these words throughout the day, as well. I use them as a reminder that there is peace in me, in you, in everyone and everywhere. Even though the behavior of others may stir up anger or frustration within you, remember that there is peace all around you. Feel free to practice as I do and apply aum shanti to remind yourself.
Let It Go
I am a Summer person. I like warm evenings, hot days, cooling off in the lake, the smell of barbeques, and all the sounds of Summer. One of my good friends is a Winter guy. He gets so excited when the weather begins to shift at the end of Summer he starts waxing his snowboards in anticipation.
In every season there is wonder. Behave as we Yoginis do and attempt to experience each new season with a beginner’s mind. Observe how this season is different from the last. Enjoy the moments as the daylight shifts and the leaves change. Take a deep breath and enjoy the smells of the season. Reflect upon Autumns past and Winters gone. Enjoy this one as another opportunity to shed the past and detach from that which was. Let it all go.