Heraclitus, the Greek philosopher said that change is our one reality in nature, and of course, to say that we live in uncertain times feels like stating the obvious right now. Our world of mind, feeling and emotion are in flux too, and of course our external circumstances will never be the same. But this has always been so.
If we think about hatha yoga practice, cultivating presence in the moment, yoga poses teach us how to work with change, by staying mindful. When we enter a pose, we begin to notice the physical edge of sensation. We consider whether to push past using effort or pull away from it, but actually, we choose to rest right on that edge of the sensation. We hold the pose, we breathe and stay present and in response, the body relaxes naturally and at its own pace.
The same thing happens in our minds. The mind begins to scroll through limiting beliefs. Perhaps they sound something like “this hurts” or “I can’t do this”. But we let the thoughts go and we stay in pose without believing them. As we become aware of our minds and let them relax, as we stay aware of the moment, of our breath, and of sensations, purification just happens.
This is how transformation can happen; through presence in the moment, awareness and acceptance of what is happening, the body-mind flexes itself and opens up to more possibility with grace.
Here are a few guiding words to help us approach these times (and yoga) in what can feel like desperate times:
Everything passes It may help to remember that all good things will come to an end: there will be cloudy days and that these days might be just that. Loss like that can make us wonder “will this ever end?” but this too shall pass.
Show up! Now is time to put your procrastination projects to one side; roll out your mat. Come As You Are.
Turn off your phone Put it on flight mode, or silent, in another room. Certainly reducing the amount of time we spend on the news can help us all.
Lower your expectations Let us try to let go of the idea that there must be a certain outcome at the end of your practice; even if we wish to relax and ground ourselves, we might not always achieve this; leave room for spontaneity, surprise and grace.
Let go of perfectionism It will help if we all recognise that it is not possible to have our lives 100% sorted, 100% of the time. The same is also true for your yoga practice!
Be kind to what you need right now and trust your body You might want to start your practice by lying down and doing a body scan. Rest a hand on your belly. Notice what you need. How can you be kind to yourself? Follow your breath; all the way in, and all the way out. Trust that this Body-Mind-Spirit entity (that is you) knows what it needs to come back to its centre.
Sending you love and light in tough times:)