A lot of how we used to operate in the world is now quite different. Some things we miss dearly and some things are improvements. There are many people whose lives have changed very dramatically and who have had to endure, or will be facing, a huge amount of suffering. Whether you read the news or not, we all know this to be the case. There is no doubt that our world is in the midst of a huge shift, and if we are part of the population that is fortunate enough to still have the resources to cover our basic needs, and if we are paying attention, we might be able to shift along with it without the resistances that arises from thoughts that might start out with:
When one of these phrases start your sentence, pause and see if what you are about to think/say/do is of value to what is actually going on in front of you, in your head, or to the person you are about to say it to.
We absolutely can adapt to what the challenges are that life gives us. Adaptation is not just for the hero you may read about, like the 15 year old girl who rode her migrant-worker injured father on the back of her bicycle 700 kilometres to bring him back to the safety net of his village, or the front line workers who are working hours upon hours a day, or the people organizing food for people who have no access, the school teachers who are working many many more hours per day as they navigate this new way of education, and on and on....
There are so many ways we can BE in the world differently, and some of that recognition for you might be to look at what rituals or habits have changed in your day. The picture above was taken during a week-old new ritual of a 1/2 mile walk in the woods to a creek where I sit to do my morning practice. This is a definite improvement over where I usually do my practice. Being out in nature offers different energy, but so does being out in public. Plus one, minus one. But regardless of what the score card reads, I am grateful for this new opportunity to "see" my practice from a different view point. Has it changed my outlook? Hard to say so soon in the game, especially as so much other stuff has changed. This new ritual has given my walking partner a regular practice, which he didn't have before. I am participating in his shift by shifting myself to a shorter practice time and to unfamiliar chit chat before and after my practice which is not what I am used- usually I just step into the shower, which I enjoy immensely. However, I am happy to be a part of a shift, regardless of what the score card reads.
I am very curious to hear what has changed for you. Especially your asana practice (since that is what has brought many of us together) now that you are at home. What new things have you found out about your body, What new rituals have you found? What are the ways you are staying in contact with the suffering this pandemic has caused and how has it changed you? Please share your thoughts, either on the blog page, on Facebook, or in an email to me.
I look forward to connecting with you on these shifts!
One of the many benefits we get from a yoga practice is an increased sense of well being. Whether we wanted that to happen, or expected it, it will happen. Whether we are flexible or not, can do a headstand or not, feel spiritually inclined or disinterested in that aspect of yoga, you are more likely going have better sense of well-being after a class than you did before. Those of you who were practicing with me when Yoga Loka was over the laundromat may remember leaving class, walking through the Sunday morning laundry crowd and having someone look at you and say "I'll have what you just had". Feeling good is obvious to others, even if you don't realize it at first yourself.
There is a physiological reason for this and it lies just below the skin. The fascia, that lovely slippery, hopefully pliable, tissue that is everywhere that you can not see, is embedded with interoceptive nerve endings. These nerve endings are stimulated through touch (massage, a hug, etc) and also the movements that occur during a yoga class. When we move our limbs we are activating these nerve endings, especially as we twist, pull, stretch, bind, wrap our legs around each other- this is all moving the fascia (and the lymph- good for your immune system) and making these interoceptors light up. These nerves then stimulate a section of your brain that has been linked to a persons sense of safety, contentment and presence. This is also why hugs feel so good. The wiring is built in for this to happen. We just need to start the process.
At a time when there is limited contact with other beings we may be finding that we really are missing the hello/goodbye hugs, the handshakes and the casual contact that we used to have on a daily basis. And we might be suffering from this lack by not having the stimulation of interoception as much as the pandemic, the economic situation and unknown future. Moving your body more can take the edge off and leave you with a sense of contentment that the yogis call Santosha. And this Santosha from one hour of mindful movement can last you a while. Each person of course is different, maye you need a full 1 1/2 hours many times a week. Schedule in that movement each week so the work of the hugs can continue.